All companies must face sooner or later the challenge of digital transformation. Although it is already a common topic among the vast majority of the companies, it is not always easyto understand the true depth of what implies to become digital.
The stages of Digital Transformation
There are many different approaches when it comes to defining the stages of digital transformation in a company. It is known that It requires the implementation of innovative technologies but, beyond that, every company must go through several stages in order to successfully become truly digital. There is a “race against digital darwinism” according to Brian Solis, from Altimeter. Those stages will indicate the state and progress of every organization:
- Business as usual
Busines where customer operation maintains the previous “status quo”. Companies don’t want to take risks and their working culture doesn’t promote creativity, innovation and inside entrepreneurship.
- Present and Active
These businesses are evolving because of “changing agents”; people that are eager to find new opportunities and lead experiments in their domains. New trends in digital inspire early adopters to experiment with future possibilities.
At this stage, companies understand that they need to improve and modernize their customer experience. Digital transformation efforts are focused on key areas for exploration and experimentation.
Companies start to develop strategies so that the digital transformation becomes real. “Change agents” were successful in creating a sense of urgency and the roadmap becomes focused and refined by specific short and long-term goals that require changes and produce key outcomes.
At this point, digital transformation becomes essential for the company. It is already implemented in its DNA and new operating models and teams are created to streamline operations and deliver integrated and consistent customer experiences.
- Innovative and Adaptive
Innovation and transformation become part of the company’s culture. Digital is no
longer a state; instead, it is part of how business is done. Formal teams and methods are implemented to track customer and technology trends.
The challenges along the way of digital transformation
As every company and every market has its own particular characteristics, yet all of them have to tackle some common challenges in the digital transformation process
Size and complexity
Depending on their size, companies will have more or less flexibility when implementing new technological processes. Thus, the largest companies require a profound change to successfully face this process, a change that must reach all sides of the company and should not leave any section isolated.
For Daniel Cano, Cloud Native Engineering and Transformation Manager at LafargeHolcim EMEA Digital Center, digital transformation is a complex process that should be managed in order to be successful: “In a company like ours with codified procedures and processes, transformation means stepping away from the comfort zone and this, if not managed properly, can block the innovation. Leading the digital transformation requires time to evaluate new technologies and means changes in working routines and roles; the structure should be fluid to be able to use the collective skill set of the organization.
Talent acquisition is fundamental to achieve success in the process of digital transformation. There is a need for active people, trained to learn, experiment, adapt and, above all, with the ability to work in a team and achieve group goals.
It is essential to understand that the digital transformation of companies goes beyond the implementation of new technologies, it is a change of business model, a new way of understanding the customer experience.
Meeting the challenges of digital transformation
There are different ways to succeed when meeting all these challenges. Some are easier and some are more difficult, but everything is about people:
First is to put the customer in the centre of every decision. A customer-centric culture is basic, as Daniel Cano points out: “An organization that prioritizes the customer experience is in a good position to succeed in this journey.”
“Changing agents” inside your company
Second, it is about talent. People inside the company are the key factor: “We have already experimented, and have people onboard that are opening new ways of doing things, we have already the “buy-in” inside the organization.” states Daniel Cano
Helping your customer is helping yourself
One of the reasons why a customer-centric working culture is successful is because by focusing on their customers, not only with the final product but also during the product development process, companies tend to be more efficient. For LafargeHolcim EMEA Digital Center, our success relies on being able to help our customers to define why they need to transform, what they need to transform and how to execute the transformation. Some technologies such as cloud-based solutions or subscription modes will give us the have the flexibility to innovate in the services we provide.
The digital transformation will help us develop our products and services in a more efficient way. Thinking and acting fast, learning how to influence without authority and being prepared for uncertainty will give us the agility that will help us to deliver our goals.
Follow us in our transformation journey! Learn more about us, the best is yet to come!