If your business is in the midst of a transformation or is heading in that direction this year, you’re not alone. Of the 900 respondents that were surveyed for the Business Transformation and the Corporate Agenda Report in 2014 (Forbes), 93% said that they had just completed, were planning, or were in the midst of a transformation within their business.

The difference between change and transformation?

Change management is when businesses implement initiatives that may or may not affect the entire organisation. The main focus is on producing a shift in the way things are working within the business.

It’s common to use well-known tools and principles relating to change management (making a business case, getting early results, building a coalition of leaders, engaging stakeholders etc), and these allow the whole process to run smoothly.

Change initiatives include utilising new productivity tools, introducing a new management system for team performance, shifting to centralised marketing support etc and these types of initiatives are well-defined, allowing managers to focus on execution.

However, transformation is aiming at aligning the people, process, and technology initiatives of a business more closely with its vision and strategy. Transformation relies on implementing effective strategies that allow you to attract more customers and lower your operating costs.

When a business decides to focus on transformation, it’s not just executing a defined change but is instead reinventing itself and often discovering a revised business model that would be based on a future vision.

What is digital transformation?

Digital transformation involves changing your business so you can take advantage of software and IT in all departments throughout the business. It can even mean completely changing your whole business model. Digital transformation is the acceleration of business models, competencies, processes and activities to fully leverage the opportunities of digital technology.

There are a few different reasons why you may decide that your business needs a digital transformation. Maybe you have new or better competition, your customer demands are changing, or technological advances have made it necessary for you to give your business a digital overhaul.

Technology has taken a huge leap forward in the last few years, with the adaptation of mobile, greater access to the internet and the huge influence of social media along with artificial intelligence, Cloud-based storage, and analytics. This means greater competition from businesses embracing these technologies and higher expectations from customers.

Businesses must evolve in order to address changing technologies. Business owners generally want IT to be focused on innovation, business results, and continuous improvement while customers demand constantly increasing technological capabilities that are easy to use. A research study by Forrester Consulting found that the key reasons for digital transformation are increased speed-to-market, customer satisfaction, and profitability.

Digital business transformation is the biggest challenge when it comes to change management since it impacts all levels of a business and all tasks, activities and processes.

So how do you successfully complete a digital transformation?

The first step is to work out your strategic vision so that you can anticipate what your customer will want and also so you can know how you will achieve it. This includes defining the scope and depth of the changes and redesigning internal structures and processes if necessary.

Before beginning a digital transformation, answer these questions: Is it necessary to have a major transformation or would limited changes be acceptable? Is the current state of your business ideal for the type of transformation you’re considering? Or do you need to make changes to other parts of your business before looking into digital transformation?

Not all digital transformations are created equally. The hardest part of transformation is execution, and in the current complex business climate, it’s crucial to engage stakeholders, analyse your customer’s behaviour and get input from employees.

Remembering that digital transformation is about your customers is key. Businesses owners should ask themselves “How is this change making the customer experience better?” and “How can I better serve my customers with this technology?”

The software development company that you choose will have a huge impact on whether or not your transformation is successful.  At Intergy we work with you, listening to your insights, analysing key areas for improvement, and keeping the lines of communication open throughout the process. If you’re hoping to digitally transform your business this year, get in touch today to see how we can help.