Search for the words ‘digital transformation’ online and you’ll soon be met with millions of articles from across the globe explaining how Covid-19 has accelerated the adoption of these projects with more businesses putting them top of the company agenda.
This type of digital evolution has in fact been around for many years, however, at Vapour we’re seeing a greater need for organisations to spearhead programmes that specifically meet an ever-changing customer demand, as a result of the pandemic.
Prepare well and company leaders should begin to notice how much of a positive impact that transformation can have on operations, culture and bottom line. Get it wrong, and you’ll not only burn a hole in your time and resources, but potentially damage brand reputation too.
So, when it’s vital that such projects don’t fall flat, how can enterprises ensure they’re pioneering change? As someone who lives and breathes tech evolution, our head of transformation Carol McGrotty explains why success relies on achieving the perfect balance of ‘people power’ and digital solutions.
When a decision has been made to embark on a digital transformation project, it could be for a myriad of reasons – whether to drive business growth, streamline operations, or inspire innovation.
Whatever the catalyst when preparing for such a journey, your priority is to ensure your employees are firmly on-board.
That’s because you could be armed with the savviest technology, but if these tools aren’t being utilised effectively by your workforce, what’s the point?
If you’re the one leading on your enterprise’s digital transformation project, everyone around you has to support and trust in the change too – and you’re in the driver’s seat when it comes to getting them there. That means taking the time to help them understand how the company evolution will impact their day-to-day responsibilities, what benefits it will bring to internal processes, what new training they might need to undertake to ensure their skill-set remains relevant, how you’ll facilitate this, and the ways in which it will enhance company culture.
By engaging with your teams from the outset, you’re giving yourself the best possible opportunity to listen to those who might feel wary of the transformation and address any concerns they have. Additionally, with an agile mindset, you’re in a stronger position to tweak elements throughout each stage of the programme.
Don’t forget about your customers
Can you answer how end users will feel about the change? What pain-points will you be addressing so that they truly benefit from your innovation?
If you have clear actions and targets that detail every step of your digital transformation project, you should be able to:
For example, is it customer-centric? Are employees catered for? What’s the end goal?
Will you use KPIs, surveys, or web traffic stats etc?
To cover what’s working, what isn’t and the root cause that must be addressed
Listen and learn to what employees, stakeholders and customers are telling you – and act
Involve everyone and make sure they’re clear on their individual responsibilities.
Some of the most effective roll outs – concerning organisations of a similar size to Vapour – tend not to be driven by CTOs and CIOs. It’s often a common misconception that because it’s innovation-led, someone with a tech background has to push it forward.
For me personally, it’s about leveraging the skills of the people who are most passionate about a change programme. If they have the strategic focus, clearly defined goals in place, and are motivated to manage the project effectively, they will often achieve the most positive results, in my experience.
Here’s how Vapour’s digital transformation rebrand project came to life…
Following a huge period of growth, we decided it was the perfect time to roll out a digital transformation project of our own to match our bold ambitions. To achieve this, we devised a ‘365-day plan’ which was broken down into two 100-day projects, and a 165-day strategy – all of which complemented each stage of our entire expansion story.
We made sure Vapour’s change programme not only focused on long-term ambitions but also quick wins to balance the ‘heavier’ elements – that’s why we completely stepped back and began the process by working from our foundations up. It took time but it was incredibly worth it in the end because everyone had visibility of the plans, and a vital role to play in our success.
Additionally, we engaged with customers throughout, consistently asked for feedback, measured our results via satisfaction surveys, and acted upon these responses. And even after rolling out our project, we’ll still send our Net Promoter Score survey to all clients and suppliers each year so that we continue to have these open and honest conversations.
By breaking down our digital transformation plans into manageable stages, we were able to analyse every facet of Vapour’s evolution, and bring everyone on the journey with us. Having an agile mindset helped us to regularly iterate things that needed improving and it was important the team had an open mind to change because honesty was the key to making advancements. This all meant the fundamental side of the business was truly taken care of – and our people and processes were the collaborative driving force behind the entire process.
To ensure your next digital transformation project is a success, my advice would be to not just do it for the sake of it. It has to mean something rather than being something that ‘looks good’ on the surface but doesn’t make a commercial and/or cultural difference.
So, start from the foundations up and get the basics right first. Be clear on who will be impacted, and how this diversification will help take your company to the next level of growth. Only they will you be in a far stronger position to enforce much-needed business evolution.