Let's unpack Digital Transformation

In the previous article, we discussed the importance of a sustainability audit, what an audit involves, and the benefits and opportunities an Absolute Genius audit can offer.

Digital transformation is a vital part of sustainability. As technology evolves, digital transformation drives changes in governance that must be sustainably managed. This, in turn, drives further transformation and growth in an endlessly repeated cycle.

What is digital transformation?

When a company implements new digital tools or services that change the way it does business, that's a digital transformation. Most companies regularly digitally transform and don't even realise it. If you've got a new website, that's a digital transformation. If you're using a new piece of software, that's a digital transformation. If you've created a new app, installed a new CRM or bought new computers or tablets for your organisation, those are all examples of digital transformation.

Why is digital transformation so important?

When a company goes through a process of digital transformation, it automatically forces them to think more strategically. For example, if they want to build a new website, they'll ask themselves questions they don't consider very often: who are we? What is it about the brand that sets us apart from the rest of the marketplace? Are we even ready to take this next step?

Our audit will answer all those questions and more. With those answers, your business will have greater insight into how your digital transformation should proceed.

Let's think about a company that wants to open a new e-commerce store. When a business launches an e-commerce store, they're effectively launching a new online retail brand. If they've never started a brand before, they'll need experts to help them accomplish their goals: websites, designers, digital marketers etc. That all requires a very large budget. If the company makes the wrong decision, or if they're not yet ready for that level of digital transformation, they've wasted a lot of money. They've also potentially alienated their current team and disappointed their customers.

What needs to be considered?

  • guidance on whether an e-commerce site is in alignment with their processes and values

  • guidance on the process of transforming the business to accommodate the e-commerce solution

  • guidance on how to manage the transformation internally

  • guidance to find out the best external people to work with

  • clear, practical advice to keep them on track for the future

  • a way to measure their progress, including a realistic benchmark that will let them know if future growth is sustainable

Without that kind of guidance, digital transformation can be very risky.

Taking digital transformation to a new level

Let's face it; there are plenty of IT developers out there who will happily charge thousands of pounds and build the company an excellent e-commerce platform.

There are 'full service' agencies who will do everything from produce a proposal and deliver the website to dazzle the company with analytics and then maintain the site for a large retainer. Or, to minimise their risk and take more control of the project, the company could work with multiple freelancers and agencies, bringing them together to build the site in individual parts. Alternatively, they might try to build the e-commerce site 'in-house' and muddle through trial-and-error, measuring performance and making adjustments where necessary.

But all of this is cart-before-the-horse thinking because the emphasis is incorrectly focused on what is being delivered. Nobody is asking themselves the most vitally important question: why is this digital transformation even happening in the first place?

It's a bit like buying a shop and then deciding what you're going to sell in it.

Digital Transformation in the wild

One of our clients approached us about a particular type of digital transformation and our immediate questions were: are you sure that’s what you want? Are you sure you're ready? Have you considered the implications? In the example of the e-commerce platform, what if it looks great and functions perfectly but is too difficult for your business to manage, or not fit for purpose? The results can be expensive, time-consuming, lose you customers and damage your reputation.

An AG audit and strategically aligned, sustainable, digital transformation will give you a clear reflection of where your business is right now and what you want to achieve in the future. Armed with this knowledge, any digital transformation you undertake will automatically fall in line with your values and your vision.

Dan Hill, director of strategic design at Vinnova, says the difference between the digital world and the built world is akin to the refresh rate of a computer monitor. While digital technology changes very, very quickly, the built world works much, much slower. Before a business implements a digital transformation, it should know where it is, where it's going, and why it's choosing that particular digital pathway to get there. If it doesn't have those answers, its shiny new technology will be outdated the day after it launches.

An AG digital transformation will make sure that doesn't happen.

If you'd like to know more about the auditing and digital transformation services we provide, please get in touch. We’re looking forward to helping you create your legacy.

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