Digital transformation: Do's and don'ts for IT leaders to succeed

Grappling with how to implement your digital transformation strategy in today's constantly changing environment? Consider these practical tips
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Digital transformation is an inevitable part of today’s uncertain and evolving marketplace. It applies the power of data science and marketing technology to shape your business around new possibilities. Digital transformation initiatives also help you better engage your customers and workforce, improving your ability to compete.

However, leading a digital transformation initiative can be daunting. With the pandemic causing constant shifts in consumer behavior and expectations, it’s easy to make mistakes that could adversely affect your organization.

If you’re also struggling to navigate the business benefits of digital transformation, here are a few do’s and don’ts to follow.

Digital transformation do's

1. Do take a top-down approach to digital transformation

To get full business value, digital transformation initiatives should be sponsored and driven by the CEO and led by senior leaders in the organization. Robust management support is crucial for getting the entire company on board and overcoming any friction or issues.

[ For more advice on leading transformation, read Digital transformation: 4 CIO tips for 2022. ]

When senior leaders communicate the value of digital transformation and explain why new processes are being implemented, employees are more likely to understand and accept these changes. Moreover, it’s important to ensure that the workforce is adequately trained on new technologies and processes.

2. Do track and analyze customer data

Data analysis helps you make decisions based on your customers’ needs, shopping behaviors, and other factors. The objective of a data-driven business is to harness this data on a daily or weekly basis and use meaningful insights to further improve and scale the business.

Remember to define a clear objective from the beginning so that when you review your data, you know exactly what you want to achieve.

3. Do take into account organizational silos

When it comes to mobilizing an entire company there is great potential for error, and digital transformation attempts can either worsen or bridge corporate silos. From the start, it’s essential to establish clear, easy-to-follow processes.

A simple way to do this is to consider digital solutions that incorporate the current tech stack. You won’t need to worry about the wrong people having access to important information if access and security control are built into the platform on which they operate.

4. Do consistently evaluate and make adjustments

No major business endeavor will be perfect on the first try. Regardless of how well you start off with your digital transformation efforts, there will be areas where you can make significant improvements.

These areas will become more prominent as you collect more data and information about the progress you are making. If you’re not hitting the benchmarks you set, investigate the reasons for the discrepancy and address them.

Digital transformation don'ts

1. Don't invest in tools and technologies without a clear purpose

It’s easy to be overly enthusiastic about the many tools that are available, but be careful to invest only in those that can help your organization meet its needs. Also, don’t forget to look for free tools – you may be surprised to find some that can do the job just as well as costly versions. Try to ensure that every tool, process, and strategy revolves around three major perspectives: efficiency, reliability, and scalability.

2. Don't put security on the back burner

Digital transformation enables businesses to work smarter, but it can also make them more vulnerable to cyber threats and hackers. Today’s remote workforce has also added a new layer of complexity to security challenges as IT teams have less oversight into employee behaviors.

Especially now, it’s critical to prioritize security and seek out solutions that include security features. With the increasingly digital nature of work and data storage, organizations can no longer afford a data breach.

3. Don't let fear hold you back

Fear is a natural reaction when we enter uncharted territory. Moreover, the digital transformation journey also requires skill, patience, and a huge financial investment, which adds an extra level of anxiety. Many leaders are uncertain about investing resources into an initiative that they are unsure of, even if there are plenty of stats available to back it up.

If you are feeling uncomfortable, try to focus your energy toward embracing your digital transformation initiative and giving it everything it needs to succeed. Remind yourself that in time, you will witness the positive results of your efforts and even scale your business’s revenue.

Every enterprise and organization must eventually make digitalization a strategic cornerstone to remain competitive and better serve their constituents. If convenience, scalability, and security are among your business priorities, implementing a thoughtful digital transformation initiative is essential.

[Get answers to key digital transformation questions and lessons from top CIOs: Download our digital transformation cheat sheet.]

Saurabh Singh is presently the CEO and Director of Appinventiv - a 20 million+ revenue earning company, offering digital transformation services through its 650+ employee strength. He is a resilient and visionary entrepreneur with a grit of 16 years of innovation in the technology outsourcing & product development Industry.