How To Keep Pace With Digital Transformation And Avoid Becoming Obsolete

Technology is constantly evolving. Is your company keeping up with trends?

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A version of this article first appeared on Forbes.

The byproduct of digital transformation is that, in addition to driving business change, it expands consumer access to information. Anything they want to know is right at their fingertips, and that limitless access creates heightened expectations for businesses. In a connected world, everything — not just information — should be better, faster and cheaper.

Those expectations are here to stay, and business trends toward greater speed, information and automation have sparked significant innovations. These changes have caused people to rethink everything from customer experience to operations and data intelligence. More importantly, innovation has changed the core of how organizations operate.

Unfortunately, many companies have struggled to keep up. Since 2000, about 52% of companies on the Fortune 500 list have become obsolete. According to a Harvard Business Review report, many of those companies lacked the ability to keep up with the digital evolution. With the rapid pace of digital transformation, it’s more important than ever for businesses to make thoughtful choices about their technology and innovation strategies.

This is a race you can’t afford to lose.

Every modern business is either a tech company or a technology-driven one. So, choosing how to innovate and get everyone on board with the innovation strategy is something every organization must consider. Whether you come out ahead or are left by the wayside depends on how fast you acclimate to the modern market.

For example, consider how Adobe made it through its digital transformation better than most. Founded in 1982, it began by offering software for desktop PCs. Over time, it became a massive cloud services company that surpassed $11 billion in revenue in 2019.

In almost every story of a company succeeding in its digital evolution, the moral is always the same: Adaptation is a critical skill. To put it bluntly, disruption could destroy a business that isn’t prepared for it. Preparing means rethinking how employees and teams use technology to work together and share data. Change is inevitable, and the transformation needed to meet that change starts with you.

How can you catch up and stay ahead of digital change?

With the right technology and an adaptable team, you can make it through any digital transformation successfully. However, it takes more than a simple technology patch or an isolated systems upgrade. It starts with attracting tech-savvy talent, retraining employees in automation and digitization, and supporting change management across the organization with these five steps:

1. Make every process as tech-driven as possible.

Technology solutions need to be woven into the fabric of your organization and its processes, so let go of the idea that you should outsource everything to a parallel organization. That means you’ll have to take stock of your processes and available resources to discern where your transformation can go. Then, you can make tech solutions the foundational element of your strategy and decision-making processes.

2. Build a data infrastructure to support your tech.

The foundation of your tech-driven processes will be the data infrastructure that you build it on. You’ll need to analyze, synthesize and turn all points of reference into actionable data within the framework of your tech. You can then identify key data outcomes that benefit the whole company and develop disciplined approaches to reaching them. Remember, collaboration only works when all teams share data transparently.

3. Focus on new metrics and KPIs.

You can’t grow your business or adapt to change successfully without measuring everything you do. That’s especially true when it comes to change management. To switch up your operating model, you have to alter your management strategies and how you determine progress. A well-built infrastructure will allow you to identify new metrics and use new digital tools and dashboards to support evolving performance reviews.

4. Make innovation an ongoing discussion.

Your team members can’t prepare for disruption if they don’t know what’s coming. Create workshops where everyone can discuss innovation and explore what the future holds. You should analyze your competitive environment and develop game-changing plans at least once a year, keeping an eye out for new technological trends that could impact operations in the next five to 10 years.

5. Embrace change, even when it defies better judgment.

I’ve been a part of countless innovation meetings where the only words stakeholders speak are “That won’t work” or “We tried that, and it didn’t work.” I’ve even heard the phrase, “No one wants to fill out a form on the internet” and couldn’t help but laugh. Companies that embrace digital capabilities at their core will thrive in the new economy. Those that don’t will be unable to keep up.

Keeping pace with digital transformation is possible, but it’s up to companies to adopt the right technologies to innovate their businesses. As Stephen Hawking once said, “Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.” Are you willing to change the way your company does business to address and avoid the threat of obsoletion?


See how Genuity can help you manage your tech.


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