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Remove These 6 Barriers to Digital Transformation

Digital transformation is needed more and more in the post-pandemic world. Small and Medium Businesses (SMBs) still face barriers to transformation which hinders innovation. Although, there are strategies to overcome the hurdles all businesses face towards the digital revolution.

The pandemic has challenged businesses across the world with multiple disruptions. According to McKinsey, COVID-19 has led to a massive uptake of new technologies across industries and companies. Due to pandemic restrictions, remote working meant that businesses needed new tech infrastructure, and technology companies have responded by innovating faster than ever.

This push towards digital-first meant that now many businesses are being forced to digitally transform in order to stay competitive. Gartner research shows that 69% of boards report accelerating digital business initiatives in response to COVID-19.

For Small and Medium Businesses (SMBs), this can be a daunting leap, especially when small businesses don’t have the scale and resources of large enterprises. Thankfully, the marketplace is now full of cloud technology that doesn’t require coding, meaning you don’t need a developer to get the most out of it.

So what else stands in the way of digital transformation? Companies of all sizes face challenges when digitizing their business, but with determination and the right tools, these challenges can be overcome.

1. A change-resistant culture

Hierarchies and siloes limit how far your company can digitally transform, according to Garner. Successful digital transformation relies on collaboration, working across departments and sharing ideas. Shifting company culture to a digital-first culture is best done in small steps.

Start by implementing one tool that can become your company’s single source of truth. Especially in the age of COVID-19, digital initiatives that keep everyone on the same page is key to future success.

2. Limited sharing and collaboration

Defining who owns what in your organization is essential to success post-pandemic. When your business is clear on process ownership, it has a flow down effect to create transparency inside the organization along with a willingness to share and collaborate. Companies that keep a stranglehold on information and are unwilling to share and collaborate end up with bottlenecks and hurdles to working efficiently.

Involving many people at once can become difficult if information isn’t stored within a central place. Tools that encourage defining who does what will help foster an environment of collaboration without information overwhelm.

3. The business isn't ready

There’s a lot of hype around becoming digital-first, but the reality is digital transformation can take a lot of strategic planning. Having a realistic overview of skills and resources within your team will help you identify where you can already start implementing digital tools, and where you might need to set goals for down the road.

Gartner suggests defining larger goals for the business and then creating strategic plans around those. For example, you might want to start digitizing your processes for your entire business. To make steps towards this, start by digitizing the processes of one department, like Human Resources, and then make plans for the other departments.

4. The talent gap

Digital transformation is a blend of skilled people, processes and technology to build new business models and services. The collaborative nature of working digitally means that all employees will need to adopt new skills. According to Gartner, employees need skills focused on innovation, change and creativity, along with the new technology being used.

Upskilling is the name of the game. Providing your employees with time to acquaint themselves with the new technology, as well as skill sharing between departments, can drastically help a business digitally transform. Part of this change also may include changing some employees roles to accommodate for their new skillset, leading to a richer work environment.

5. The current practices don't support the talent

If you have the right talent, and have provided them with the right skills, then you need to make sure that they have the right environment to work in. Complex hierarchies, siloed working, and slow processes don’t work for digital. Instead, focus on how to make your business more agile.

Companies can prime themselves for agile working by taking a look at their processes; the heart of the business itself. Orchestrated processes provide managers and employees with an overview of where your processes are at, and how they can be improved over time. Iterating your workflows and processes can drastically help cut back time and improve overall efficiency.

6. Change isn't easy

As humans, we’re not primed to handle change so well. Our world has faced many changes and challenges in the past few years, and so making changes to the business in such a short time frame can cause stress and anxiety for everyone involved.

While SMBs and SMEs face many challenges in the wake of the pandemic, it’s also worth noting that making these changes now can help avoid challenges and pitfalls in the long term. In fact, moving towards digital transformation now can help your business change as the market does, providing more room for innovation.

Processes are part of digital transformation

Part of transforming digitally is digitizing your process ecosystem. While many people head straight to finding a digital solution for their project management, finding a solution for your digital processes should be equally as important.

Processes are really the heart of your business. Processes and workflows show you how long a project takes from start to finish, who is involved in all steps of the project, and most importantly, how the project can be improved in the future.

While a project may be done once and expire on the due date, an optimized process can be used time and time again, helping your business to reach new heights and become more efficient than ever.

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