digital transformation

What is Digital Transformation?

[Photo by Joshua Sortino on Unsplash]
Author: Heather Smith

What is Digital Transformation?

No one could argue that we are living in a “digital world”. We have been transforming for decades! I have a seventeen-year-old son that has seen this transformation at large. Since his birth in 2004, he has witnessed “landlines” to pagers to flip phones, tape decks, CDs, VHS, DVD, DVR, Mp3 players, texting, emailing, PalmPilots, and now our all-in-one tool, the smartphone with all cloud services and AI built-in.

Society has said these GEN Z or “Zoomers” innately were born into a new world. My son was born with the capability to intuitively rationalize and embrace this digital change. I can still remember when Hunter was four years old. My mother was visiting and she clicked on a button a shortcut, if you will, that caused a screen display change. She asked Hunter for his help. He knew how to fix it and quickly fixed the screen display. My mother was flabbergasted! How could a four-year-old know how to fix this? So, we asked him. His response was, “I don’t know…”.

1st day of pre-K

It is not just the GEN Zs or any other generations ahead of us that intuitively have this information. We all do. We as a society have to embrace this change and not block it. Your state of mind has everything to do with embracing change.

Let’s talk about Y2K. You remember the global scare that all information was lost in databases. At the time, I was an office manager for a dental practice. I was helping Dr. Sullivan search for the most appropriate software to transition to. We ran two systems simultaneously, just in case. Our new software did lose information; however, our old system adapted. It brought the date to 0000, but all the data was there. The new system, however, lost information. It’s lost in cyberspace.

I still laugh when I think about this phenomenal adaptation. And the fact that our “scare” forced us to purchase a few because we tried out three different ones prior to the switch, expensive software programs. Dr. Sullivan spent all this money, time, effort, and worry on this year-long project. When our current DOS system could have been modified.

Here we are with the natural habitat that is forcing us to adapt yet again due to a pandemic. Many companies, nonprofits, and education systems are forced to transition. Some companies were not equipped to handle this change. So, now what? All we can do is learn from the past. Hey–change is scary! It is human nature to be scared of starting something new. Recognizing that emotion and moving past it will assist your company in progression. I discussed, “asking for help” in my Business Wellness workshop. Asking for help puts our energy into allowing. I can attest to how intimidating asking for help is. However, I am a lifelong learner and I have accepted this about myself. I embrace change and welcome a continuous evolution. We can either resist or persist past challenges and grow as a society.

When companies embrace a digital transformation more doors open. I’ll be the first to tell you that I would not have achieved my degrees, managed my employments, raised my kids, or been able to surrender to obstacles if it wasn’t for our digital presence. I planned my whole wedding back in 2003 online with a dial-up modem. And honestly, I am not the most patient person. However, the alternative was actually more challenging. So, I went with the flow as I booked a photographer, a priest, a reception, and a honeymoon all online and ordered flowers and a cake to boot! Moving to an all-digital and cloud-based business core will allow for better workflow. Once companies overcome the initial hump of transition, revenue, ease, and capabilities increase.

How do companies seamlessly adapt and embrace new technologies? Every business plan requires goals. Every company has different goals. The “how-to” could be quickly opened up by asking who? Dan Sullivan and Benjamin Hardy wrote a book all about this concept in the Who Not How: The Formula to Achieve Bigger Goals Through Accelerating Teamwork. I highly recommend this book! As mentioned above, we are in the receiving mode, when we ask for help. There is so much guidance on this topic as well as courses and certification programs that will assist your company with the transition.

When companies view additional resources as a gain or an investment in their business structure, the company culture shifts to impacting the company and the consumer in a positive light. Forbes (September 23, 2021) discusses revolutionizing a business culture in a positive way.

“When companies invest in a digital transformation, they’re signing up for a significant, impactful initiative that can positively support their customers and employees. “

Everyone needs to be on board to support this change. For those that are not on board and fear change, it is important to support their concerns as well. This may require additional training and/or technology to completely embrace new concepts. Forbes (September 23, 2021) also describes the ideal mindset should shift to an Agile concept:

  • Strategy
  • Structure
  • Process
  • People
  • Technology

Having a plan in place with achievable goals will eliminate insecurities about digital transformation. Once these concepts are outlined, companies can break down each step-by-step process and develop timelines. I think it is important to note, this takes time. The misconception that digital transformation can happen overnight is when chaos occurs and staff becomes overwhelmed. Take time to map out the infrastructure. Allow your employees to adapt. Change is scary, but it is always inevitable. Being a digital marketing professional, I am clearly biased with my opinions. However, I firmly believe that our future awaits us with advancements in technologies and we as a society need to embrace these changes.