Businesses everywhere are embracing the latest digital technology to reshape operations and deliver better value to customers. And they’re spending big to get there – investment in digital transformation initiatives will hit $1.7 trillion globally by the end of the year, including 25 billion in the Middle East, Turkey and Africa, according to IDC.
However, IDC’s 2018 State of Digital Business Transformation report found that the execution often doesn’t match the hype. It predicts 70% of digital transformation initiatives will ultimately fail, whilst many more continue to disappoint stakeholders.
One reason for this failure is that businesses try to move too quickly to an ‘all-digital’ business model. While it’s understandable to want to reap the benefits of digital as soon as possible, it’s not as simple as flicking a switch. Digital transformation is a journey, not a destination. With that in mind, how can you keep your digital journey on track?
The first step is to decide how you’d best describe the state of your current business. Canon has identified three core stages of digital maturity:
Applying the above strategies will enable you to implement digital transformation with confidence, but they won’t guarantee success. An often-overlooked cause of digital transformation failure is insufficient collaboration. Buy-in from customers, employees, suppliers, partners and other external stakeholders is critical.
That’s because digital transformation requires people to be willing to learn and adopt new technologies, processes, skills, and ultimately, a new workplace culture. Automation can be a scary concept, but the best way to get employees to overcome resistance to this change is to show them the real human benefits – reducing errors, saving time and money, and freeing workers from repetitive, admin-heavy tasks, so they can focus on more business-critical work.
For example, automating expense claim and annual leave requests in HR can make time for more productive activities, such as workforce planning and upskilling employees to meet new digital skills requirements. Building digital awareness and skills will continue to be an important challenge in the GCC region, where a 2017 study by Strategy & Middle East and LinkedIn concluded that digital transformation could create 1.3 million new jobs by 2025.