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5 Digital Transformation Success Factors

In this post:

Digital transformation is intrinsically linked to technology, but the most vital digital transformation success factors are less about tech and more about planning, strategy, and support. Here we explore our five must-haves for a successful digital transformation and how you can achieve them in your organization.

Our top 5 digital transformation success factors are:

1. Be proactive
2. Avoid Band-Aid solutions
3. Focus on the need, not the tools
4. Prioritize user adoption
5. Don’t go it alone

1. Be proactive

“The key to cutting through the confusion is to see that digital transformation is not a single thing, but a multi-faceted journey with differing goals depending on your industry and digital maturity.” – Harvard Business Review

Digital transformation is much more than implementing technology. It’s a fundamental, holistic change to the way businesses run. Whether you have identified areas of improvement or wish to undertake digital transformation as part of organizational growth, you must consider your current and long-term goals. This is likely a no-brainer. But you also must take it a step further: you must look at the total impact and buy-in for digital transformation across your entire organization. This begins with a deep understanding of your existing infrastructure, architecture, processes, and teams. (In the case of mergers and acquisitions, this includes evaluating the landscape of all organizations to ensure unified integration.) Next, stakeholders and product owners must be in alignment regarding the viability of service implementation. This includes setting practical timelines and budgets with added consideration to how change requests may influence each. Also critical is establishing realistic expectations for existing teams, including if IT teams can support new infrastructure or if support solutions like MSP services may be required.

Successful digital transformation is never impulsive or performed in a departmental vacuum, but it can be challenging to know how to take the first step towards a clear and cohesive strategy. A practical starting point begins with creating an IT Plan and road map.

2. Avoid Band-Aid solutions

Being proactive is ideal, but sometimes things need to break to galvanize us into action. And seeking quick fixes, depending on the severity of the issue, can be tempting. But patching a leak will only delay the flood. What’s worse? Small ad hoc fixes can exacerbate the issue by adding even more layers of complexity to dig through, often leading to elevated costs and delays. Resist being led astray by reactive urgency. It is important to evaluate the root cause of issues to prevent recurrence and maintain long-term success.

Working with digital transformation solution experts can help you investigate pain points and identify areas of improvement. At Coretelligent, we help clients develop the strategy required to keep digital transformation projects on track and in line with business objectives. We also help clients with ongoing maintenance and support to ensure systems stay secure and running at peak performance.

3. Focus on the need, not the tools

It is human nature to be drawn to the new shiny thing. But just because a new solution, technology, or tool seems ubiquitous doesn’t mean it’s the right fit for you.

It’s important to consider your end goals and ability to implement before making costly investments in technology that may not deliver. Consider these questions: Does the technology really serve all your needs? Does it pair well with your existing technology stack? Does your existing platform possess the same yet untapped capabilities desired? Do you have a team with the expertise and bandwidth to implement and support new initiatives?

We recently worked with a professional services client that wanted to gain insights and visualizations into disparate data but didn’t have the expertise to implement the tool they purchased for the job. Coretelligent helped the client gain insights by using their preferred tool and leveraging capabilities within their existing platform.

4. Prioritize user adoption

Another key digital transformation success factor is user adoption. This is of equal importance for both backend users and customers alike for digital transformation to succeed.

Employees

Enthusiastic user adoption is a critical component of successful digital transformation, and it starts with your employees. It can be challenging for teams to transition to new working methods, especially if they have grown accustomed to specific technologies and are comfortable with the habits they have structured around them. Introducing digitalization and automation may also create anxiety regarding job retention or skill capability. To help ease this culture shock, it is vital to keep teams informed and educated through the digital transformation journey. This includes providing training and being open to feedback, which can aid in identifying bugs and opportunities for enhancements. Ultimately, how well your teams adapt and adopt will translate directly to the effectiveness and efficiency of your digital transformation initiative.

Customers

You must also consider the impact on your customers, particularly if digital transformation will modify product adoption. As an example, a utility client wanted to enhance user onboarding but did not have the digital infrastructure to support their initiatives. They identified a need for a more robust, self-service website and a paperless method for new user registration. However, many of their existing customers were elderly, still preferring to manage accounts by mail and paper check. While it was important for the utility to create a web interface that modernized their customer journey, they needed to be sensitive to existing customers who would not or could not adopt digital practices. Ensuring all customer journeys remained intact was critical to the digital transformation, even if it meant retaining some traditional methods. Keeping all parties informed about changes and educating them on how to use new features allowed both new and existing customers to feel supported and more likely to remain loyal to the brand.

5. Don’t go it alone

At the end of the day, the root of all digital transformation success comes down to one key factor: support. This includes ensuring you have firm commitment to your digital transformation initiative from within your organization—and from digital transformation experts.

Even the best internal IT teams may fail at digital transformation because it is simply not what they do. Adding on an entire shift in operating procedure can be overwhelming to existing teams. Digital transformation experts help organizations objectively assess needs and develop a plan that modernizes, streamlines, and enhances existing practices with architecture and technology complementary to existing infrastructure.


Working with a digital transformation services provider like Coretelligent goes beyond technical implementation. A major component includes advising clients throughout the digital transformation journey for continued support of their organization. By maintaining open communication with stakeholders and product owners, the collaboration allows clients to receive a total picture of their business’s innerworkings, guarantees buy-in, and provides more opportunities for improvement and finetuning along the way. Plus, digital transformation experts will provide training and support to ensure your teams are equipped to maximize the potential of your solution.

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