Easing the pains and maximising the gains of digital transformation

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Stephanie Kroon

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There is a world of difference between investing in new technology and creating an authentic digital workplace. Just as there’s a gaping chasm between seamless migration to new systems, and costly business disruption and long term problems that can ripple on for months.

In a nutshell, where technology is concerned, it’s not just what you do, it’s the way that you do it.

The article looks at how to achieve system change, with minimum stress.

Make the commitment to change

Smooth transition to a new technology begins with choosing the right technology for your company, of course. In the age of austerity there’s a tendency to see investment in this area as something piecemeal – buying the latest equipment or software as and when the budget allows.

The problem with that is it can create disjointed digital workplaces, with gaps, overlaps and data silos. You could even face the situation in which teams in different departments have the latest cloud platforms and gadgets, but information that should be companywide is incompatible and needs to be duplicated.

To get data flowing seamlessly, transparently and controllably, there needs to be a commitment to a true digital transformation companywide, or time invested in creating proper integration and connectivity. Every system and device in your organisation needs to be synchronised and intuitive, with no “patches or pet projects”.

Staff buy in from day one

Your workforce may be Millennials, utterly at ease with technology and the digital age, but that doesn’t mean you won’t experience an employee pushback when you make tech changes!

For example, it’s easy to see a new CRM system as being all about improved relationships with customers. That might be the biggest bonus, but the new system can only achieve its full potential quickly if your team is on board.

It’s surprising how many organisations make the decision to introduce new technology in the boardroom, and the staff who use it every day know little or nothing until it lands on their “desk”. Any change can disrupt people, no matter how positive it is long term. Keeping staff in the loop throughout the decision making process makes them feel far more respected and appreciated.

Also, your staff will all learn things – and become confident – in their own way and at their own pace.

So, if your company decides to migrate to a new system – or even update an existing one – training and mentoring should be a fluid entity. Simply sitting everyone down and talking through the new tech in a one-off training session could leave some people flailing from day one.

Fertile cultures make better digital workplaces

This links to the above point, as your staff should also want to maximise on your new digital prowess.

Successful digital transformation relies on providing staff with a clear communications process – and no shame or blame – so they can air concerns, questions and knowledge gaps with ease.

This ongoing feedback and questioning can prove to be helpful to senior staff. Having honest and open discussions about new software enables decision makers and their Tech consultants to iron out any issues quickly and intuitively.

For example, Salesforce offers a high level of automation in customer relations, including notifications for key calendar dates and reminders for account actions and housekeeping tasks. It means nothing can “fall between two stools”, with all involved staff collaborating and communicating in real time. If they are motivated to do all that! Technology is only as good, as the people who use it.

One of the best ways to benefit from easy digital transformations, is to sell the advantages hard to your team, then accept feedback.

Timing is everything

One of the biggest challenges of any digital transformation is creating a realistic timeframe for system change that doesn’t cause substantial business interruption. For instance, avoiding an order bottle jam or “lost zone” could be the most important part of your plan to move over to Salesforce.

Changing to new systems needs to be organised around quieter trading periods, but also when you are confident that staff are ready and trained, and your customers are prepared for the advantages (and new systems) they will see.

Any business transformation – but particularly one directly felt by customers – needs to be well orchestrated but also carefully measured. Your company should be ready to confidently tackle any negative impact or concerns expressed by customers, staff or suppliers, rather than “falling into change” with a complacent and over-optimistic approach.

Working with an experienced IT consultant helps, as a knowledgeable “outsider” can marry an effective methodology for implementing digital transformations with your own company’s stresses, goals and patterns of trading.

Lack of expertise to manage transformation

No matter how well you know your company and its marketplace, migrating to any new system will test your acumen and versatility as a manager. Which makes it sensible to bring in additional skills, to leave you free to do what you do best!

Taking advice from digital transformation consultants helps you to tick many of the priority boxes outlined above.

4C has helped many companies in their change over, and can use that insight and experience to map out your transformation realistically.

One of the reasons that 4C has become a Salesforce Platinum Partner, is our faith in scalable and integrated business solutions. It has the potential to revolutionise and integrate key functions such as customer relations, account and time management, collaboration, communication and data control.

However, as digital transformation consultants, we also provide the support to migrate to new systems smoothly, minimising pains and benefiting quickly from gains.

Keep in mind too, that digital transformation is not a destination, but a beginning. To start your journey, contact us for a discussion about your digital workplace needs.

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