What trips up the successful digitization of a company?

2021 01 27 · 3 min read

We can call digitisation a revolution in the productivity and efficiency of today’s businesses. Investments in the digitisation of processes are made not only by companies but also by the state, which encourages to increase the development of digitisation. According to the Agency for Science, Innovation and Technology, in the middle of 2020 Lithuania allocated EUR 15.3 million for digitisation development projects. Although the importance and significance of digitisation has grown, many organisations and companies are still only planning to implement digitisation processes and face theoretical, practical, technological and personnel challenges.

The problem of time to market is probably the most common one we face when consulting companies. Understanding the benefits of digitisation, company managers boldly initiate innovation and changes. However, very often it remains only an initiative because digitisation is a time-taking, consistent process that requires preparation, whose success depends on choosing the proper team and the right technology partner. Has an analysis of the needs been carried out and is there a detailed implementation plan? Do internal competencies meet the needs? Where the missing competencies can be found? How to manage, retain, motivate and effectively use high-level professionals? Are the company’s employees prepared to support the changes? Very often there are no answers to these questions. And this is a very good start. Companies will be able to start smooth, timely and successful digitisation only when they get the understanding of the essential stages and elements of the digitisation process. Therefore, my message to company managers is simple: Now is the best time to begin preparing for the digital transformation and be prepared to face the challenges that are only on the horizon.

Where does the greatest resistance come from?

One of the most notable attitudes that companies face when planning digital transformation processes is the employees’ fear of losing their jobs. Employees often worry that new or upgraded systems will take over their jobs, so they refrain from initiating innovations in the working environment seeking to protect themselves and other team members. Of course, in most cases the extent of such a problem depends on the maturity of the company’s employees and their perception of the efficiency of existing processes and productivity of work tools. Therefore, any digitisation process should begin with educating employees and preparing them for the changes. A team that understands the benefits of digitisation will be a reliable ally collaborator in ensuring the efficiency of the process. It is important to emphasise that digitisation will not only facilitate the daily lives of colleagues working with information technology, but will also benefit the entire company.

A good plan requires a good team

In order to achieve a smooth digital transformation process, a company should do its homework that is to prepare an action plan and form the necessary team in advance. When company’s management has made a decision about digitisation, it often has to face reality: there are simply no human, financial and time resources to perform quickly and efficiently the tasks formulated by the managers. To avoid such a situation, it is important to have a long-term strategic plan that provides beforehand not only for digitisation processes, but also for a team that possesses appropriate modern IT competencies.

It is the search for the right competencies and skills, which is the biggest and most common challenge. Some organisations decide to form a team and develop competencies independently; however, practice shows that it takes them time not only at the personnel selection stage, but also in determining what competencies are needed to implement digitisation projects. This results in a protracted and costly process that forces them to abandon the idea of digital transformation even before it is started.

There is an alternative solution: to look for the missing team competencies outside the company. It is very important to understand that a smooth digitisation process requires a clear plan, so at the initial stage, partners should be sought who are able and capable to provide appropriate consultations, help to shape the logic and sequence of the business process and plan the needs for IT services for further stages of digitisation. A comprehensive and detailed vision of the sequence of the imagined process makes it possible to understand what is being sought, what result can be expected, what are the potential threats, and so on. When the company knows this, it can already model the purchase of IT services, and not only programming, but also services of business needs analysis and audit or architectural planning of the existing and required systems. IT service is the competency of all team members. Only after properly completing the initial steps mentioned above will the company understand what IT competencies are needed for the smooth implementation of a digitisation project.

Doubts. It is a common and costly mistake

Both, opposition from employees and challenges in forming the team are easy to overcome, if the company’s determination to embark on digital transformation is strong, well-planned, and has clearly defined goals. However, today some companies that are considering digitisation still do not have clear action plans and waste their precious time by constantly reflecting on market changes or trends.

The future trend, which has become even more prominent during the pandemic, is clear. Digitalisation brings not only profits but also benefits: it saves employees’ time, the company’s resources, helps to build a loyal customer base and ensures stability. Therefore, the biggest task in the digitisation process falls on the company’s management, which has to make bold and necessary timely decisions, to create conditions for preparing plans, to be flexible in forming the team, and to invest in motivating the team.

Many years of experience allow making a conclusion that long-term strategic planning and timely received expert advice are the main and indispensable steps in the implementation of digital transformation projects. The earlier you start talking to technology partners, potential service providers, and IT professionals, the better chances you have to complete digitisation processes faster and smoother. Therefore, let us start the new year by speaking boldly – speaking about the needs, challenges and benefits of digitalisation.