Simply put, digital transformation is the process of integrating digital technologies in all areas of a business, fundamentally changing in how it operates and the value it delivers to its customers. ( Digital transformation goes beyond simply introducing an e-commerce website, for example. Company processes and the business culture must change to provide an ecosystem that will support that e-commerce website and enhance customer experience. Digital transformation is a deep dive into the business over time to change it from the inside out. No two digital transformation journeys are exactly alike. It is resource intensive and it requires expert intervention in the areas of technology, data, process and organisational change (Thomas H Davenport and Thomas C Redman) to ensure the success of an organisation’s digital transformation journey.

As Imtiaz Mohammady, CEO, Nisum says: “Digital transformation isn’t just some technology project. It requires that an organization rethink its business model and how it serves the customer.” We take a brief look at four ways that digital transformation can bring fundamental change to an organisation.

Change in strategy

Digital transformation implies introducing technologies such as bots, automated systems, blockchain-powered systems, or artificial intelligence (AI). These technologies are designed to consolidate processes and allow the flow of data from one department to another, eliminating duplication and hopefully, bottlenecks. They have the added benefit of providing modern security protocols. The net effect of all these changes is to increase the organisation’s capacity to scale, requiring it, ultimately, to rethink its strategy.

Change in mindset

Digital technologies allow an organization to develop the ability to shift and change as customer requirements change. By building cross-functional teams that are constantly gathering customer feedback and testing and deploying ideas quickly, a company can realise the benefits of the agile mindset (Arshpreet Kaur) :

  • Faster time to market and, therefore, more flexibility in product delivery.
  • Efficient collaboration between development and testing.
  • Healthy organizational culture with much more independent and self-organizing employees.
  • Ability to incorporate changes without disrupting the entire product development cycle
  • Synchronization and harmony between the product owner, the scrum master, and the development team

An improved customer experience

A well-executed digital transformation will change the way a company delivers value to its customers, by offering a seamless, friction-free customer experience. This is key in an increasingly digital-first, post-Covid global business environment where the competition is only a click away. Digital technologies allow a business to ensure customers are not always being disappointed by stock-outs, that they can use their preferred payment method and that data is always available on how a business is performing. (David Wilkinson)

An improved employee experience

The introduction of new digital technologies implies the replacement of legacy systems, offering employees and workers an improved experience. While businesses must expect some resistance to new technologies, a well-managed transition accompanied by training, coaching as well as a well-articulated vision, can help make the transition less anxiety-inducing for employees and ensure widespread adoption of new technologies and processes.

Digital transformation involves far more than adding technology to a business. It’s about transforming from the ground up in order to gain competitive advantage. Nothing about that process is business as usual.

Qhala has supported many African companies through their digital transformation journeys, carrying out research, helping them improve their customer experience and designing customised digital solutions. Get in touch with us.