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Three Important Lessons From The Past Year On Digital Transformation

 

Digital Transformation is much more than Industry 4.0, automation, and other technology buzzwords. It is not taking analog processes and documents and putting them into a digital format. And it is so much more than just identifying and investing in the right digital opportunities.

Digital Transformation is equally about embodying a new mindset throughout the entire organization and scaling the initiatives to support each department's needs and possibilities.

Over the past year, I have been diving deep into the topic, and in this blog post, I will give you three lessons learned.

 

 

Perhaps the biggest surprise to me of all about digital transformation isn't that large-scale change is hard. It's how to keep the momentum, to do it repeatably and sustainably.

Traditional manufacturing processes enhanced with advancing technologies drives manufacturing forward and creates greater efficiency and better relationships between OEM’s, suppliers, and customers. But which technologies are the right choice for your needs?

And that raises even further questions like,

  • How will change support your current processes?
  • Will each initiative be relevant for your departments?
  • Are you agile enough to truly adopt new technologies and how aligned is your organization really?

Key takeaway here: Companies need to be able to formulate a clear transformation strategy that focuses intensely on solving specific problems as well as on delivering value to meet key goals. Having a vision helps keep momentum.

 

Lesson no. 2: Better integration of digital initiatives increases success

Among the companies we are in contact with, fragmented and piecemeal efforts at digital transformation of years' past are slowly becoming part of a portfolio of integrated digital initiatives. Not one digital transformation program! But an integrated set of several digital initiatives.

There is little question that coordinated efforts across the enterprise to deliver on consistency, shared planning, economies of scale, and a common data model are key to moving faster and producing better results. This is especially relevant with data showing as many as 85 percent of all enterprise decision makers believe they have about two years to better integrate their initiatives.

Key takeaway: Digital transformation is not a singular event but a holistic change in the way companies think and work. Viewing different digital initiatives holistically improves the chance of success.

 

Lesson no. 3: The transformation may be 'digital,' but it's not about the technology

I have also relearned along the way that digital change is more about the people involved and affected by transformation than about technology. While this is a long-held belief of mine, it was interesting to see this theme finally permeating the digital transformation landscape.

Because of the focus on technology components, the people-side of change required for digital transformation often goes under addressed, yet arguably is the key success factor. That’s because people in an organization have to carry out the digital transformation, yet are often inadequately equipped to do so from a support, culture, mindset, or inclination perspective. Change is hard.  Many organizations have had their digital change initiatives crash as without adequate support and a strong enough WHY; people are not enabled to see through the toughest aspects of transformation.

Currently, lack of appropriately skilled personnel ranks in the top five obstacles to digital transformation and is reported by 39 percent of organizations. The good news is, improved organizational focus and improved techniques for upskilling workers to support digital transformation are underway.

Key takeaway: Empower your people to see the best results. Change is scalable and manufacturers can incrementally improve their data, make better connections between systems and teams, and ultimately make their business more digital resulting in a better customer experience. But before you set eyes on the technology and settle for a solution, make sure your organization is prepared for upcoming changes. There is no doubt that change will come. The question remains, is your organization ready for it?

 

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About the author

Jennifer Moore

Jennifer Moore has more than 15 years of experience in Business Transformation across different industries. Her extensive experience includes helping companies navigate complex regulatory requirements through software solutions. She has been developing and deploying large, multi-faceted enterprise software project, driving revenues as well as market adoption.

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