With IT teams largely responsible for its success, digital transformation has plunged IT professionals into the spotlight – for all the right reasons.
You have to hand it to IT professionals. They keep critical systems running with limited resources, they configure networks like it’s no big deal, and they are often the first to recognise new technology’s potential. Now, in a world that’s rapidly transitioning to digital, they’re leading the charge.
But what are the challenges of spearheading an organisation’s digital transformation efforts, and how can they be overcome?
Identifying digital transformation roadblocks
As organisations recognise data’s value as a strategic asset and monetisation opportunity, digital transformation initiatives are no longer a ‘nice to have’. Businesses know they need to transition to digital to stay relevant and competitive.
According to new research by Spiceworks and Canon, most IT professionals say digital transformation informs their organisation’s current (62 per cent) and future (74 per cent) strategies. However, while digital initiatives are a priority for most, execution can be a challenge. IT professionals report difficulties working with tight budgets (52 per cent), competing priorities (49 per cent) and limited time and staff (38 per cent).
The good news is that many of these problems are easy to fix.
Tips for a successful transition to digital
Have a clear vision: To avoid spreading your IT team too thin, work with stakeholders to develop a common focus. Determine what your most urgent digital priorities are and the potential weak spots and bottlenecks in delivering your digital initiatives.
Don’t bite off too much: Break your vision into small, achievable chunks. Once you see a return on investment, you can then extend the solution to other parts of your business.
Work with a partner: Most IT professionals don’t have time to become an expert in all things technical, so utilise partners in areas where you may not have solid experience. An experienced service provider can improve security, automation and digitisation success, for example.
Let’s take a look at how a leading Victorian car dealership used these recommendations to overcome its digital transformation challenges.
Digital transformation at Frankston Toyota
For Frankston Toyota, digital transformation meant becoming totally paperless across four dealerships within 12 months. In addition, it needed to reduce manual document handling, eliminate duplicate data entry and cut the average time customers spend in a dealership from 4.5 hours to 90 minutes.
The company worked with Canon to develop its digital transformation vision and implement a scalable document management solution. Starting small, the first phase automated manual processes and eliminated archived paper documents. Employees now view documents from their PC instead of sifting through boxes of hardcopy files, saving hours of unnecessary wasted time.
Frankston Toyota’s head of ICT, Richard Rhodes, describes the solution as a “breath of fresh air”. He says the digital transformation process will continue indefinitely. “There is a phrase we use at Toyota called kaizen, which is continual service improvement. This particular project will never end… There are always ways to lean up your systems.”
Now that it has seen the success of digital document management, Frankston Toyota plans to extend its digital transformation program. Rhodes intends to automate both the company’s accounts payable and post-test-drive email communications as part of the next phase of their digital transformation program. This will create further efficiency in the business and improve processes to allow staff to work on more meaningful tasks, such as building client relationships instead of being bogged down with admin work.
A challenge worth doing right
Nobody said digital transformation was easy, but for IT professionals leading their organisation’s transition to digital, it’s a challenge worth doing right. Careful planning, realistic goals and working with a trusted service provider can improve outcomes significantly.
For Rhodes, each additional hour a staff member spends with a client and every client win can be also attributed back to him, as he introduced the technology to make it happen.
About the author
Amy Birchall is the founder and lead content writer of Mint Content, a content marketing agency that helps IT and technology companies tell better business stories. Amy has worked as a business and management journalist, an online news editor and a software marketing manager. Now she leads a team of tech-savvy copywriters producing clear, engaging content that people want to read.