5 Keys to Successful Digital Transformation

Is your organization struggling to successfully implement digital transformation? You’re not alone. Less than 30% of digital transformations succeed. Of these, only 16% of organizations are able to improve performance through digital transformation and sustain these changes over time.

However, the potential is still enormous. The World Economic Forum predicts that digital transformation could add over $100 trillion of value by 2025. With the right approach, you can improve your chances of implementing a successful digital transformation and fully realizing its benefits. Our team of seasoned change experts have analyzed what successful digital transformations have in common and identified five key success factors, which we’ve distilled into actionable steps. By following these steps, you'll be better equipped to overcome the challenges and achieve a successful digital transformation.

1. Start With Setting Goals, Then Choose The Right Technology

To achieve a successful digital transformation, it's critical to have a clear understanding of your goals and objectives. Rushing into new technology investments without first considering what you hope to achieve is a common digital transformation mistake that can result in wasted resources, operational disruptions, increased cybersecurity risks, and decreased customer satisfaction.

Begin your digital transformation journey by carefully defining your organization's requirements and the specific goals you aim to accomplish. With these established, choose software or tools that meet your unique needs and can help you achieve your objectives. By proactively defining your needs and expected outcomes, you can make informed decisions about which technologies best support your digital transformation initiatives and avoid costly mistakes.

2. Establish a Clear and Compelling Change Story

Every successful digital transformation needs a clear change story. By aligning stakeholders and employees around a shared vision, a change story fosters a sense of ownership and buy-in that is essential to realizing the transformation's full potential. Without a strong and engaging narrative for your digital transformation, your efforts may be met with resistance, confusion, or apathy, leading to missed opportunities and unrealized benefits. In fact, a digital transformation is 5.8 times more likely to be successful at organizations where CEOs communicate a compelling change story.

Your change story should describe and make a compelling case for the changes being made. This means outlining why the transformation is necessary, what challenges it aims to address, and what the expected outcomes are. Communicate your narrative with clarity and enthusiasm to cultivate understanding in your employees, spark engagement, and minimize resistance.

3. Invest in Employee Development

Investing in employee training and development programs is crucial for digital transformation success. These programs enable employees to acquire the necessary skills and capabilities to effectively use newly adopted technology. To ensure maximum adoption and efficiency, it’s important to provide tailored training to employees that showcases the benefits of this tech and how they can use it to better fulfill their work responsibilities. Additionally, make sure your implementation plan properly accounts for how your digital transformation impacts your employees.

4. Ensure Visible Leadership Alignment and Support

Digital transformation requires significant changes to an organization's operations and culture. This can be challenging to achieve without strong leadership support. Leaders need to be fully committed to the transformation and communicate its importance to all stakeholders. When senior leaders model the behavior they’re asking employees to show, transformations are 5.3x times more likely to succeed.

When senior leaders model the behavior they’re asking employees to show, transformations are 5.3x times more likely to succeed.

Leaders also need to provide the necessary resources and support to ensure that the initiative is successful. Digital transformation success is twice as likely when senior leaders spend more than half of their time on the initiative. Unfortunately, only 43% of leaders actually do so. Ensure your organization’s top leaders truly commit to the digital transformation initiative, model the change for the rest of the employees, and visibly showcase their enthusiasm. This is crucial to boosting adoption throughout the organization.

5. Lay the Groundwork For Digital Transformation With Change Readiness

You can’t unlock the true benefits of any organizational change, including digital transformation, if you haven’t invested in empowering your employees with the resources and opportunities they need to become willing and able to embrace change. This involves cultivating change readiness — equipping employees with the mindset, skills, and tools they need to become change drivers in their organizations.

Companies with high change readiness are more likely to successfully implement a digital transformation, as they possess a culture that values innovation, is receptive to new ideas and has leaders who are committed to driving change and empowering their employees. Moreover, these organizations are able to maintain their performance gains from their digital transformation in the long-run. On the contrary, digital transformation initiatives at organizations without change readiness suffer from low adoption, high costs, and often fail to sustain or even meet intended outcomes.

Building change readiness has three key elements:

  • Encourage Engagement with change in your organization by helping employees understand the importance of workplace changes, so they see change as an opportunity.
  • Enable Mobility so your employees can drive change within their organization through involvement with change projects.
  • Empower Productivity by breaking down vague change goals into a clear, step-by-step roadmap.

To help you achieve your change readiness goals, Volonte offers a comprehensive change readiness platform that provides curated content and dedicated tools for internal mobility and collaboration (if you’re curious, schedule a demo here). While our platform is one option to consider, the most important thing is to stay focused on developing a culture that values innovation, embraces change, and empowers employees to drive transformational growth.

By following the five expert-backed keys to guide your digital transformation efforts, you can increase your chances of success and sustain the benefits over time. Remember, successful digital transformation isn’t easy, but with the right approach and investment in change readiness, you can unlock enormous value for your organization.