Innovate or Fail: Why You Should Have Already Started Digital Transformation

By Holly Tibbitts
Holly is an innovative operations pro. She loves organization, collaboration and small details. When she's not managing processes, you can find her sipping on a glass of champagne and hanging out with her yellow lab, Hank.
 

Digital transformation: the ever-elusive concept that’s been sitting in your idea bank for years. You know it’s important for your organization’s future success, but you haven’t hit go quite yet. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, digital transformation strategy, initiatives and projects that once were postponed are becoming a much larger priority for companies who want to stay ahead.

So many organizations are now dusting off and prioritizing digital transformation initiatives, but is there still time? Are you too late?

Companies that didn’t prioritize their digital transformation projects are now rushing to find, adjust and implement solutions for remote work, secure networks, paperless operations, virtual collaboration, etc. This pandemic has left every industry looking for ways to innovate and engage their audience, employees and customers.

It’s not too late to enact a digital transformation strategy, but taking your time and doing it right are the keys to lasting success. When digital transformation is rushed, it lends itself to mistakes and failures.

A few tips to follow when implementing digital transformation:

Be Thoughtful and Don’t Cram It In

Implement proper change management principles, including:

• Creating an internal communications plan

• Identifying company stakeholders

• Coordinating change management and project management plans

Change is hard, as the adage states, but by adopting these key change management principles, your initiative has a better chance of success.

Keep Innovating

Get creative and adapt to the changing times – none of us know what the future holds, but we need to be vigilant and resilient, never getting too comfortable with what we’re currently doing. A few examples of companies that have innovated in the last few weeks during the pandemic:

• Living Spaces, a furniture company, making face masks and donating many of them to healthcare organizations

• Distilleries shifting from producing vodka and gin to making hand sanitizer

• Ford and GM building much-needed ventilators for hospitals

Be Thinking About What’s Next

Always be thinking about how you can do better. How can this be more efficient? It’s not considered a failed project or initiative if you have or need multiple iterations or versions. You are just refining and improving as pain points and issues arise.

Short answer to all of the above: No, it’s not too late to implement a digital transformation strategy. You just need to be thoughtful, calculated and thorough in your planning. The work you do now will take your organization far beyond the pandemic and into a new, more improved “normal” beyond COVID-19. Now get going!

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