It’s really a foregone conclusion that companies are incorporating digital techniques and technologies into their business processes. It’s almost impossible to run a business without a sizable technical or digital foundation. The challenge companies face, however, is how fast digital transformation is being executed, and how quickly benefits are realized. Digital transformation was cited as the #3 hot topic in an ITSM Tools report by IT leaders, illustrating the growing overlap between IT processes and digital transformation, from designing and delivering IT services to improving back office capabilities. 

With an eye on how impactful digital transformation can be across your organization, here are six warning signs that the trend might be passing you by.

1. Digital Transformation Wasn’t on the Agenda at Your Last Executive Meeting

Digital must be recognized and prioritized by the executive team to be relevant. In a recent Gartner survey, 42 percent of CEOs said that they have indeed begun the process of digital business transformation, but nearly half say they have no digital transformation success metric in place. For executive teams, the most vital metric ends up being how the business is impacted from a financial perspective. Accordingly, 33 percent define and measure digital revenue, and 56 percent have said that their digital improvements have already improved profits. Those who are reaping those financial benefits have made digital transformation a key imperative. 

2. Your Strategy Has Been “Pending” for More Than 18 Months

Digital transformation certainly takes time, but there is a diminishing return on the digital investment if your strategy is taking too long to implement. A LinkedIn study reported that 85 percent of enterprise decision makers feel they have a timeframe of two years to make significant inroads on their digital transformation before suffering financially and/or falling behind their competitors. If your strategy is approaching the two-year mark and you haven’t yet put the necessary components in place, you run the risk of falling behind competitors and never having the momentum to catch up. Taking smaller steps department by department is the best approach for many, especially in groups where financial impact is easily measured such as digital marketing. 

3. You’re Looking at Data, but Not Insights

Many digital processes are driven by data, such as improved lead generation with digital marketing programs or faster time to market with better DevOps and software development collaboration. But just as important is the analysis and insights that reside behind the data, companies who leverage digital transformation insights stand to benefit substantially. Forbes recently predicted that 66 percent of enterprises will deploy insight centers of excellence as a remedy for organizational misalignments, which can be common when digital transformation changes are taking place. Some companies are even outsourcing the intelligence and insights with external providers. Forrester predicts 80 percent of firms will rely on such outsourcing for some portion of their insights capabilities in 2018. 

4. Your Customers Rarely Interact With You Online 

Customers that experience a more streamlined process of investigating your products and services, making a purchase and receiving high-touch support on an ongoing basis are far more inclined to remain loyal to your brand. A study by Forrester reports that improving the customer experience is consistently rated as the leading driver of digital transformation. Digital selling leverages better interaction by sales teams with their prospects by using social mediums. Besides, a carefully-crafted online support system that is able to intelligently route requests and solve problems quickly keeps customers happy after the sale. In fact, 44 percent of consumers prefer chatbots to humans for customer relations, showing how important the digital component really is for discerning customers. 

5. Departments Don’t Exchange Transformational Analysis

Nothing could be more important to enterprise-wide digital transformation than building a culture of information and idea sharing across siloed business units. One trend that is soon to sweep the industry is end-to-end cloud-based analytics packages that can deliver a rich set of analytic capabilities to discover, plan, predict, visualize, prepare, collaborate, model, simulate, and manage all leveraging a common data logic. Cross-enterprise analytics will help smooth digital transformation and produce tangible benefits. Research shows that businesses will see a minimum of 3-5x increase in total cost of ownership (TCO) and an ROI of 171 percent from using analytics that are designed to work together. 

6. Digital Teams Don’t Get Out of Their Comfort Zone

Employees are increasingly enhancing their digital competencies to open up new job opportunities, both within and outside the organization. In fact, 72 percent of workers were open to taking a job in a different field and trying a new work path. Digital training enables this process: operations managers can be trained in DevOps to improve their ability to work with development and project teams; sales reps that learn social media marketing skills better prepare themselves for the digital selling environment; and the growing field of digital project management leverages multiple disciplines such as AI, digital transformation training, and Agile Scrum methods to bring a new flavor to traditional project management. 

Companies that know how to leverage the right digital transformational strategies, and do it expeditiously, will be well-positioned to increase market share, improve employee morale and drive a better customer experience.

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