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11 Key Steps to a Successful Digital Transformation

By Blake Gilmore, Director of Product Management | Upland Document Workflow Cloud

The time to embrace Digital Transformation is now. But for those who are still in planning stages, you may be feeling a little behind the curve, which can be a daunting place to start. It doesn’t have to be. 65% of companies are positive about their ability to adapt to technological disruption over the next three years. So why not start now?

A comprehensive Digital Transformation initiative will be your go-to strategy to address change quickly across your entire organization. The most successful organizations drive change from the executive level, focusing on employee contributions and outcomes to effectively provide exceptional customer experience improvements. We aren’t talking specifically about customer service, but truly understanding the customer need you are solving – and making sure you are solving it better

When approached holistically, Digital Transformation can be achieved by focusing on three areas: Digitizing Your Operating Platform, Establishing a Culture of Change, and Empowering Employees. To make these goals a little more digestible, let’s quickly review point by point, so you can get started and reap the many benefits of a more streamlined approach to work.

Digitize Your Operating Platform

1. Identify Current Tools and Software  
As you lay the groundwork to adapt to new processes, it’s important to have an inventory of the resources and software systems you already have in place. Work with department heads or create a small team to ascertain which tools and digital processes you already have in place. Knowledge is power, after all.

2. Define Technology and Resource Gaps
Once your digital inventory is complete, you’ll have a high-level viewpoint to assess what’s working, where processes improvements can be made, and which areas of your business are untouched and are ideal for implementing more modernized, streamlined digital processes.

3. Assess Digitization Efforts, Past and Present
To know where you’re headed, you should know where you’ve been. This counts for tech, too! Have digital initiatives been undertaken in the past, and what were the outcomes of the projects? Are there departments or certain projects that currently have digital processes in place, and how have those efforts affected productivity, efficiency, and beyond?

4. Pinpoint New Processes to Upgrade
Locate current processes that are the most labor or time-intensive and that have high customer visibility and impact. For best results, conduct an industry analysis or learn more about where your competition has put digital processes into place. Little wins contribute greatly to your overall plan and acceptance.

5. Set Realistic, Measurable Goals
Don’t overdo it. Think, plan, research, and set out to accomplish goals in a timely manner. But make sure you’re not overshooting the capabilities of your team – or your budget. Failure at the outset can discourage progress in the long run. But step-by-step improvements with a measurable ROI will hold fast.

Establish a Culture of Change

6. Get Buy-In From the Top
Inspire excitement and eliminate employee resistance by ensuring that leadership is involved, enthusiastic, and vocal in supporting new digital initiatives as they come up. Even better? Encourage team leaders to host weekly or bi-weekly check-in sessions (virtually or live), so that updates, next steps, and results can be shared.

7. Start Small
It’s okay to start small. It’s the best way to enact sustainable change. Creating a huge shift overnight can create resistance and panic, and it leaves room for unforeseen errors that can make a large negative impact. Make changes incrementally by implementing them in waves to assess progress as you grow.

8. Celebrate Changes
Refreshing company culture starts by taking a leap of faith – even when the change is backed up by research. Get stakeholders on board by creating a culture that not only celebrates innovation but values new ideas and feedback. Which leads to the next point…

Empower Employees

9. Keep It Simple
To encourage adoption, you need to be sure that your staff is able to get on board quickly and without complication. Eliminate complexity when possible, and adopt processes that dovetail with the work you do without shaking it up too much – at least initially. Lunch and learn sessions, full training guides – provide whatever resources you need to in order to ensure staff success.

10. Encourage Team Collaboration
We’re all in this together, right? That means that facilitating communication on ways to improve the process needs to come from everyone. Create a forum for feedback and take critiques and new ideas into consideration to keep the transformation going.

11. Focus on Outcomes
Remember the goals you set back in step five? Review, revise, and repeat. Check in regularly with stakeholders to understand if those goals are being met and where bottlenecks are happening, and create an action plan to address challenges so progress doesn’t stall.

Conclusion

Spring 2020 has presented us all with unprecedented business challenges. Yet for organizations that already have digital data management and communications solutions in place, not only has business kept moving during a time of disruption; indeed, many organizations have thrived in this new environment. Their work has continued, their customers have benefitted from uninterrupted services, and their employees have been able to easily transition to a remote working reality using the resources and systems they already had in place. No scrambling, no quick learning curve for a new system, no downtime or customer turnover due to lacking products or services.  

Whatever the future holds, this time gives organizations an excellent opportunity to grow. Implementing smart, comprehensive Digital Transformation practices will provide you with distinct advantage over competitors that are slow to adapt.

We want to help you and organizations like you – across all industries – conquer new challenges by aligning processes to meet the technological needs demanded by the future workforce. 

Ready to get started? Contact us for a quick introductory conversation or to see a demo of our Document Workflow Cloud product solutions.

Blake Gilmore is Director of Product Management at Upland Document Workflow Cloud. He is an experienced digital native who has helped over 100 organizations to achieve their Digital Transformation goals through process consulting and software.  

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