For executives in every industry, technology is changing the way the modern world does business. Startups regularly use technology to support an advanced workforce, often with employees distributed around the country. Companies with their attention on the horizon are undergoing digital transformations to optimize their efficiency and offerings in an already competitive marketplace.
Digital transformation — the leveraging of modern cloud-based technologies — can transform a company’s work and IT environments for the betterment of the entire business. Organizations of all sizes (even those born in the cloud) are prioritizing digital transformations, with one survey finding that 85 percent of senior executives plan to spend as much as 25 percent of their total budgets on these efforts.
The ROI can vary, but organizations typically experience a profit boost of about 7 percent and a 400 percent increase in productivity. The success of these nuanced initiatives requires careful planning and execution, often bolstered by an experienced IT partner.
Moving on From Free Cloud Tools
Many modern startups use free cloud-based solutions to get their businesses off the ground. While free software can be appealing, these solutions seldom have enterprise-level growth and strategizing capabilities. Free resources rarely have the capacity to support large-scale expansion, whether that is the addition of team members or branch openings. Ultimately, a patchwork of free platforms usually ends up stifling the growth that companies desire.
These disparate resources can also pose a serious security problem. Finance is one of the most heavily regulated industries in the U.S., as the capital wielded by said institutions attracts all manner of cybercriminals. Most free software tools are designed to apply to a broad range of industries, lacking specific security safeguards that the financial world demands.
The implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation in Europe shows that countries are taking a stricter stance on data security — and the financial consequences of a misstep are increasingly severe. If your company aspires to be an industry titan (or to collaborate with one), you cannot be a security liability.
Paving the Way for a Smooth Transformation
To give your company a strong foothold, you need to seek out every competitive advantage. Here are three ways to ensure your digital transformation is a success:
1. Create a transformative culture.
One common pitfall is the lack of galvanized employee support. Because digital transformations often require changing certain practices or using new platforms, problems arise if employees do not recognize the tangible benefits informing said changes. Create a dialogue with your employees, and give them a chance to provide input. By communicating intentions and involving all parties — from the C-suite to end users — your employees will become the biggest advocates for change.
2. Hold parties accountable with an implementation plan.
The most successful digital transformations are the result of careful and predictive planning. Whether you are fully outsourcing or creating a hybrid IT environment, your intentions must be reflected in the project design.
Going from a few free apps and a bring-your-own-device policy to a robust corporate technology environment requires a road map with several significant milestones. The first milestone, for example, might be migrating from the G Suite to Office 365. Remember that a transformation is a journey, and these actionable steps will ensure your team stays on track.
3. Support employees before, during, and after the process.
New workflows will require an adjustment period, and you should anticipate a learning curve as employees adjust to new applications and resources. To optimize this transition period, provide structured employee training and support. Most outsourced IT partners provide training to ensure your employees are getting the full value out of new tools.
Even after your employees have established this familiarity, keep the lines of communication open. Encourage questions, collaboration, and honest feedback to ensure new processes are refined and optimized continuously.
Michael Hadley is the CEO and president of iCorps Technologies, a leading-edge IT consulting, managed services, and cloud computing company. Michael founded iCorps in 1994 to deliver and support practical and cost-effective IT services and solutions that allow business leaders to focus on their core objectives.