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What Is a Digital Transformation Journey Made up of?

Digital transformation journey and challenges

An organization’s digital transformation journey includes outlining and executing plans to incorporate digital technologies in all aspects of business. This includes products, services, operations, and customer interactions. A digital transformation strategy refers to an organization’s efforts to enable business innovation built on new technologies. They then use the technologies to foster seamless workflows and integration.

Digital transformation (DX) is the rewiring of an organization to build a digital ecosystem. The ecosystem creates value for the business and its stakeholders by deploying tech at scale. A digital transformation journey outlines the company's plans to incorporate digital technology across products, services, operations, and customer interactions.

Statistics show that companies will spend upwards of $3.4 trillion on digital transformation (DX) by 2026. In fact, 74% of today’s organizations consider DX a key area of focus. To build the backbone of their digital enterprise, 77% of companies have already started their digital transformation journey.

For tech initiatives to be successful beyond infrastructure changes, there must be a shift in how employees think about technology.

Start your DX journey and become one of the 35% orgs that succeed with digitalization. Read this article to learn how.


What is a Digital Transformation (DX) Journey?

The DX journey refers to the process of an organization implementing and harnessing digital technology and processes. The aim is to improve operations, customer experiences, and business growth.

The digital transformation journey begins with organizations creating a digital culture. This means initiating an IT uplift and integrating digital tools and new ways of working to improve current operations and efficiencies. Many refer to DX as transitioning from paper to paperless, but it goes beyond that.

Digital transformation challenges existing processes to streamline operations, enhance customer experience, and fuel business growth. It involves assessment, planning, implementation, monitoring, and optimization until a new system is established.

Digital workplace transformation is not a one-and-done procedure. It is an ongoing process that requires agility, flexibility, and a culture of innovation. When done right, these efforts can help companies achieve the following business benefits of digital transformation:

  • Improve operational efficiency
  • Increase productivity and agility
  • Drive data-based insights
  • Increase return on investment (ROI)
  • Enable software monetization
  • Limit risks of human error
  • Improve internal and external communication


What are the Steps in a Digital Transformation Journey?

An organization’s go-digital goals will largely depend on its industry and digital landscape. There is no one-size-fits-all path. However, organizations can apply a general framework to identify and implement the steps necessary to kick off their digital transformation journey.

Generally, organizations start with modernizing existing IT infrastructures and move on to digitizing operations and existing procedures. Afterward, they can tackle the integration of digital tools for e-commerce, sales, marketing, and customer acquisition. The final step is integrating digital technology into developing new business models, products, and services.

To hit the ground running, consider these six digital transitioning phases:

  1. Define your company's perspective on "Digital"
  2. Chart the path for your company's digital transition
  3. Prioritize executive engagement and support (buy-in)
  4. Identify collaborators for your digital transformation journey
  5. Equip your team for the upcoming digital shift
  6. Launch and implement your digital transition strategy


Deep Dive into the 4 Pillars of Digitalization

At Y Soft, we have four pillars of digitalization. They outline the transitioning journey while considering the challenges that come with digital transformation.

Print is an industry that’s familiar with transitioning legacy infrastructures to digital infrastructures via the cloud. As such, we’ve distilled the DX journey into four pillars that you can use to guide your own journey:


#1. Identifying A Digital Vision

The first step in a digital migration is determining what going “digital” means to your organization. What goals do you want to achieve? As mentioned earlier, digital transitioning is not just about the logistics. It's also about the larger paradigm shift that has to occur top-down within an organization.

To set the stage for a successful digital movement, your executive team and IT department must collaborate to create a clear picture of a positive future state. The digital vision is forward-looking and defines your “who we want to become as an organization” as you start adopting emerging digital technologies.

According to McKinsey, companies must define their values at the beginning of the journey and place digital transformation at the core of their agenda. This includes being willing to invest in DX and commit to the goals set through clearly defined targets.

Accenture reports that only 8% of organizations are willing to commit to total enterprise reinvention. The majority (86%) are more open to transforming parts of their business at a time. The rest (6%) focus on optimization in a limited capacity and do not focus on technology as part of their operations.

Ideally, organizations should be open to a total reinvention on the DX front—but that isn’t always the case. Whether it’s time or budget constraints or the industry they’re part of, many businesses prefer to approach digital transformation more conservatively. The key is to find what works for your organization. You also need to consider how you can balance adopting new technology with your current setups.


#2. Mapping out Roles & Training

Preparing your workforce is a crucial step on your digital journey. But before this, it’s essential to take stock of your employees’ skills. That way, you can identify gaps that might slow down new technology adoption.

Training employees in new competencies is essential to address skill gaps. This is especially true in industries where innovation may be met with resistance. Your team has to revisit roles so that you can hire new talent and change or dissolve defunct roles as needed.

McKinsey reports that one of the most critical drivers of success in digital transformations is talent and skill development. You have to maintain a laser focus on your workforce’s digital capabilities. Here are some tips:

  • Redefining Roles: Employees’ roles and responsibilities should closely align with the company’s digital transformation goals. According to McKinsey, this step alone increases the chances of your strategies succeeding by 1.5 times.
  • Engaging Integrators and Innovation Managers: Roles dedicated to innovation and integration will bridge the gaps between the new and old systems. These roles will drive the integration of digital tools and methods into current workflows.
  • Hiring Based on Skills: Investing in the right digital talent can boost workforce planning by up to 27%. Especially when HR teams hire people based on specific skills needed to support the organization’s DX initiatives.


#3. Creating a Digital Culture

Disruption is at the heart of all digital transformations and rarely does change come without some resistance. The digital vision should support the digital evangelists as they create a digital culture. They then have to communicate the culture as early as possible. Also, meet employees’ concerns with transparency right from the start.

Address concerns regarding new roles, upskilling, and collaborating with technologies (like AI). Also, ensure everything aligns with your DX goals. There’s a certain kind of agility that inevitably comes with digital transformation—and this might come as a shock to some employees.

It’s important to remind colleagues that centralizing data and breaking down silos is crucial to business success. It will also help them do their jobs more efficiently. Here are some steps you can take to support your workforce as you move toward digital transformation:

  • Exercise Communication and Understanding: There will be skill gaps present as you shift to digital. Ensuring employees that gaps do not make them less valuable is critical. Create opportunities for upskilling and training, as outlined in the previous section, and allow employees to ask freely about their concerns.
  • Give Employees Time to Adjust: Even AI is trained on enormous amounts of data before it goes to market. The same is true with your employees. Set a realistic timeline for the transition. Give employees ample time to become familiar with the changes in their work environment and with the new tools.
  • Nurture a Start-Up Culture: Leaders drive the cultural shift. But they also have to encourage employees to be open and creative during the transformation. The workforce should treat technology as something colleagues can freely explore and experiment with.


#4. Transforming the C-Suite

The transition of power from Baby Boomers to Millennials is driving workplaces to approach a more tech-first culture. This marks a rapidly increasing shift from analog to digital infrastructures in companies with C-Suite Millennials.

While they’re not digital natives like Generation Z, Millennials value the agility that technology can offer. Millennials were born into a primarily analog world but grew up just as digital was starting to take form. This putts them in a prime position to understand the transformative power of technology.

Most Millennial-led C-Suites naturally gravitate toward digital transformation. And if not, they still understand the need for them to tap into their tech instincts to keep up with the rapidly evolving business landscape.

Here are some tips that may help guide teams toward embracing a tech-first approach:

  • Have a Device-First Perspective: Smartphones have changed how we buy things, hail vehicles, order food, and even stream. As technology develops, the modern device-first organization will have the upper hand against its competitors. Devices help businesses meet customers where they spend the most time and boost modern customer experiences.
  • Use Technology to Enhance—Not Replace: People can’t decide whether to love or fear new tech (like AI). Companies need to share a reassuring perspective on this tech. They have to let employees know that it is here to enhance processes, not replace jobs.
  • Understand That Innovation Never Ends: Tech is constantly evolving. Modern organizations looking to be more digitally adept must understand that innovation is a never-ending process. Once you adopt the technologies your company needs, it’s important to understand your new tech environment. Make sure you know how often it needs upgrades and what maintenance is needed (by you or your system provider).

Digital transformation journey steps

What Digital Transformation Challenges Are There?

It is inevitable that you'll face digital transformation challenges. Your digital strategy should include plans to mitigate challenges with digital transformation. Still, it’s smart to anticipate that certain unforeseen challenges and difficulties can reveal themselves.

The most common digital transformation challenges include:

  1. Having No Change Management Strategy: This refers to an organization's strategic approach to change. Digital transformation is a huge undertaking, and organizational change management is necessary to ensure a high success rate.

  2. Lack of Expertise: Not every company has an IT team equipped with the know-how to transform an organization’s digital culture. In this case, organizations can enlist the help of an experienced provider or hire someone with extensive experience in implementing DX.

  3. Evolving Customer Needs: Customers are central to any business’s operations. Organizations need to keep up with customer demands and expectations amid a tech-centric culture. These demands may be more apparent in areas like payment options, digital currencies, and online platforms.

  4. Security Concerns: Organizations are exposed to security risks in an increasingly digital world. As such, there must be a proactive approach toward security and a robust security assessment strategy alongside digital transformation plans. Not planning for the protection of data and other valuable assets in an organization can lead to enormous negative consequences.

  5. Budget Constraints: Another challenge of digital transformation is the costs that come with it. Businesses have to rigorously investigate and plan for the budgetary burden of such an effort. Digital transformation is a big investment. Companies need to carefully come up with a strategy that keeps the budget in mind.


FAQs on Successful Digital Transformation

Q1) What is an Example of Digital Transformation Success?

LEGO’s executives took a big leap when the company partnered with Epic Games in what they describe as “the largest investment in the company’s history.” Using .NET technology, the company embarked on a digital transformation journey.

This allowed LEGO to penetrate the video game market, integrate physical LEGO blocks and virtual play, and explore 3D printing. The transformation also encompasses business areas beyond its product, such as customer experience and internal workflows.


Q2) Why is Digital Transformation Necessary?

Businesses must evolve to keep up with market trends. Take the print industry, for example. It has continuously adapted to changes since the inception of the Gutenberg Press. We've seen laser printing, inkjets, 3D printing, and now cloud and mobile printing.

Digital transformation is key for companies to stay relevant and fuel business growth. This is especially true as the digital world moves at a breakneck speed.


Final Points

While change will always come with some discomfort, it also fuels growth. It challenges the norm and forces industries and industry players to innovate.

Organizations looking to stay ahead of the curve must explore digital transformation initiatives and set business goals with this in mind. Regardless of your industry, going digital is a smart investment—albeit a huge undertaking.

Previous challenges with digital transformation help companies today to better prepare for their go-digital initiatives. The past few years of digitalization and norm-breaking innovations have penetrated multiple industries. It allows organizations today to truly embed digital systems across their entire IT ecosystem, even printing and scanning.

At Y Soft, we provide companies across various industries with cloud-powered print and scan systems. With SAFEQ Cloud, we’ve helped customers get rid of their last batch of pesky servers. They've also been able to let go of print-related overhead and wrap up their digital transformation journey–with a cloud-first strategy.

If you’re interested in learning about the future of print technology, listen to our recent podcast episode with Paul Birkett, Worldwide Head of Print and Workflow Management at HP. 

Listen to the Podcast Episode