Digital Transformation: What Is It?

Digital transformation. It’s the new buzzword in Corporate America, and its importance is being magnified in the wake of COVID-19. The term is intriguing. It’s cool. It’s ambiguous. But buzzword or not, the concept deserves our attention and a closer look.

Why is it important? Organizations are working to compete in a world that is changing at a breakneck pace. Consumer expectations around the shopping experience are changing just as fast. Organizations that don’t keep up will lose. Consumers now expect the ability to shop online, pick up products curbside, and receive stellar customer service backed by top-notch call center technology and online product tracking.

Organizations may not want to engage in digital transformation, but they really don’t have much of a choice. To survive, they must embrace it. Let’s transition into defining further what it is.

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What Is Digital Transformation?

What is digital transformation? Defined by Salesforce, “Digital transformation is the process of using digital technologies to create new — or modify existing — business processes, culture, and customer experiences to meet changing business and market requirements.”

It generally involves the use of technology to meet the needs of customers. No matter how you define it, digital transformation is all about incorporating technology into business processes to ensure customer needs are met and exceeded.

So, is it all technology? Not exactly. You can’t have effective digital transformation without digital strategy – a rapidly growing sector of consultancy that Accenture currently owns. It requires the seamless marriage of strategy and digital implementation. This is one of the reasons traditional strategy houses are moving into the implementation (and digital implementation) space.

Digital transformation, just like the word transformation suggests, requires CHANGE. That’s not something everyone gets excited about. Change can be frightening. Employees often hear “digital transformation” and fear that their jobs will be eradicated.

Digital Transformation Strategy & Examples

There is no specific game plan for digital transformation. Every company/organization/business is starting from a different place and has different challenges.

Having a digital transformation strategy is key. Organizations must understand and clarify – through customer research, market analysis, and other forecasting – where they need to go strategically before investing in technology. And contrary to popular belief, it’s not about implementing more technology. It’s about implementing the right technology. In short, every organization needs its own digital transformation roadmap.

Digital business transformation also involves the need for a strategy around budget, how culture may change, and needed talent to ensure successful execution.

Examples can be found in the following business functions:

  • Leadership and culture
  • Customer experience
  • Optimizing operations
  • Building platforms to deliver competitive advantage
  • Quickening R&D to increase innovation
  • Making sense of data

The integration of digital technology could look like the implementation or modification of an app for customers to easily shop online.

It can also be as technical as implementing Artificial Intelligence on a production assembly line. No matter the business function, every organization must employ digital transformation to future-proof their business.

As organizations define their own digital business transformation roadmaps, they must take into account each of these areas as a start. If you are helping an organization with their digital transformation, these areas are important to focus on initially.

According to research conducted by McKinsey, digital transformation is successful less than 30% of the time. That’s shocking!

McKinsey found that the following factors strongly correlate with digital transformation success:

  1. Frequent communication
  2. Having the right tech-savvy leaders in place
  3. Building what is needed for the future workforce
  4. Empowering people to work differently and in new ways
  5. Upgrading day-to-day digital tools

Ready or Not…

Every business needs to be thinking now of digital transformation. If they don’t, they run the risk of becoming obsolete. Many organizations will be seeking outside help as they maneuver in this new era of business. Management consulting firms are in key positions to assist and serve as the guides for organizations undergoing digital transformation. If you are interested in starting a career as a consultant or want to move into a different consulting role and need help obtaining your next position, we can help. Check out our case interview prep and resume editing resources to help you land your dream job!

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Filed Under: Accenture, Consulting skills, management consulting, Technology in Consulting