COVID-19 has disrupted the business landscape – forcing organisations to digitalise their operations and processes overnight to improve overall customer service and the employee experience.

In fact, according to Expleo’s Business Transformation Index for this year, 83% of large organisations believe the pandemic forced their firms to step up digital transformation efforts.

These organisations have enhanced their business and digital transformation initiatives by stepping away from traditional thinking and adopting a more experimental approach – but what exactly does that mean? And what are the key factors needed to achieve rapid and successful business transformation?

Vision and willingness

For most enterprises, digital transformation involves unlocking the potential for increased operational efficiency and business agility across the organisation. However, success depends on the leadership team’s willingness to both commit to the change and provide the capacity and resources to bring their vision to life.

A bold and clear vision of business transformation, combined with an ambitious mentality, are crucial to solving challenges associated with digitalisation. This includes having the right attitude towards accepting change – which needs to be driven through company culture.

In addition to management initiating and approving new IT strategies, implementing new digital processes also requires investment in training and development programs capable of closing any digital skills gap among employees.

A lack of training or upskilling opportunities can lead to employees, especially those working in technology, to struggle to keep up with change over time, impacting the overall transformation effort.

While empowering existing employees through upskilling, companies must also have a contingency plan in place to tackle future labour shortages.

According to a report released by the Code Institute, digital skills are expected to be in short supply throughout 2022 as the labour market continues to face high demand for candidates with the right combination of technical skills and industry expertise.

To stay ahead of the game, organisations must therefore also explore the use of automation-related disciplines to carry out daily operations. By freeing their most in demand talent to focus on more complex issues, firms can ensure that targets for transformation projects are met while balancing talent gaps effectively.

Reviewing resources and capabilities

Balancing progress against budget targets plays a key role in driving the success of digital transformation. Firms must work to adapt traditional budget planning for transformation initiatives, considering differences in technology, training, support and contingency for the unknowns involved in these projects.

While it’s important to keep finances in check, firms must also invest significant time and resources to ensure the reliability and quality of their digital transformation tools.

As efficient and effective management of customer experience continues to be the primary focus for business transformation, it becomes important for organisations to define parameters that measure the quality and operational value of its digital solutions.

The nature of digital transformation means it is unique to each organisation. A one-size-fits-all approach is unlikely to work, as the starting point differ for each initiative. And, due to the high level of uncertainty involved in these projects, organisations should consider seeking external expertise and advice to shape their journey and  prepare for the possible challenges and opportunities that come with transformational change.