digital transformation fundamentals

The Beginner’s Guide to Digital Transformation Fundamentals

February 7, 2023 - Emily Newton

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The core digital transformation fundamentals can make the difference between a successful digital transformation and one that leaves employees hanging. As Industry 4.0 and remote work change the game in many workplaces, businesses in every industry are adopting new technologies. Business leaders can improve their chances of building a successful digital transformation strategy by understanding a few key principles and technologies. 

Digital Transformation Fundamentals

A digital transformation is the process of shifting business tools or processes to digital platforms. Today’s digital business tools can help businesses in any industry improve their operations through data-driven insights and process automation. 

One of the key digital transformation fundamentals to understand before diving in is the collection of benefits that can result from a successful digital transformation strategy. Businesses that adopt new technologies in the workplace report a range of benefits, including gains in efficiency and productivity, reduced waste of time and resources, and more resilient operations. 

By understanding the best possible results of a digital transformation, businesses can more clearly identify their goals. For example, a business that is struggling to keep up with demand with a small workforce may pinpoint a boost in efficiency as a goal for their digital transformation. 

Key Technologies for Digital Transformation

One of the most important digital transformation fundamentals is the key technologies that are commonly part of digital transformation strategies. Of course, the specific technologies adopted by businesses vary significantly from one industry to another. However, these core technologies can be found in virtually every industry and offer benefits in any digital transformation strategy. 

Cloud Computing

The cloud is emerging as the key to successful digital transformation. Research shows that when digital transformation strategies do fall through, it is often because businesses are trying to transform while remaining on outdated computing technologies. The cloud opens up new opportunities and capabilities that help other technologies to succeed during digital transformation. 

For example, the cloud can make it easier to scale other technologies. Imagine a construction firm that wants to do a digital transformation in their office operations. They may be currently using paper methods for employee time tracking and bookkeeping. Switching to digital platforms for these processes can save time, money, and resources. 

If the construction firm needs more storage or features as they expand and add new employees, cloud-based software programs make scaling up much simpler. Adding storage doesn’t require new servers. Upgrading software doesn’t require installing new programs on every computer. 

Everything can be done from the cloud. 

Robotic Process Automation

Robotic process automation, or RPA, doesn’t always involve physical robots the way many may think at first glance. RPA is a term used to describe technologies that automate everyday tasks in the workplace. For example, an algorithm that automates data entry on a spreadsheet is a form of robotic process automation. 

RPA can be a highly valuable technology in digital transformation since it can have great benefits for employees. The idea of RPA is to free employees from monotonous and repetitive tasks that require little thought but need to be done. 

Virtually every job includes some task like this. Customer service agents frequently have to deal with simple, yet common questions. Onboarding for new employees often includes large amounts of repetitive data entry. Tracking safety compliance and other metrics involves closely, yet passively monitoring data. 

Tasks like these are not engaging for employees, so finding a way to automate them using technology frees up time for everyone, resulting in more efficient and productive workplaces. 

Logistics Tools

Investing in digital logistics tools as part of a digital transformation can result in cost savings, waste reduction, and greater efficiency. 

Digital logistics tools allow businesses to experiment with new logistics strategies, such as a new layout for a warehouse, in a risk-free virtual environment. This technology is often referred to as a digital twin, a virtual replica of a real system, facility or object. Logistics managers can test out new logistics strategies in the real world, but the drawback of this is that it can lead to financial and resource losses, lower efficiency, and confusion for employees. 

Optimizing logistics and operations in digital environments first streamlines the process of improving operations in the workplace. For example, before deploying warehouse robots as part of a digital transformation, a warehouse logistics manager could discover the most effective routes for the robots to use around the warehouse in logistics simulations. This results in a higher chance of success for this technological upgrade. 

The Importance of Training and Culture

One of the most important digital transformation fundamentals is training and a supportive workplace culture. It can be easy to get caught up in the technology and the exciting innovations going on during a digital transformation. However, employees play a critical role in the success of any new technology roll-out in the workplace. 

It is important to remember that employees are the ones who will be using new technologies in any digital transformation. Executive and organization leaders need to make sure that they provide comprehensive training and technical support for employees. Additionally, it is important to make it clear why a new technology is being implemented. This will help gain the support of employees and encourage them to give the new changes a try. 

For example, an organization may want to digitize their accounting processes. Going paperless has many benefits, as mentioned above, but to accounting employees, learning new software programs can seem like a hassle. Managers can ease these concerns by demonstrating how the new accounting software will save everyone time and make daily tasks easier. Training makes the new software program accessible rather than confusing, further easing the switch to digital accounting. 

In addition to offering training, organizations’ executives and managers need to remember the role they play in employees’ perceptions of digital transformation. A large-scale shift to new technologies requires a shift in workplace culture, as well. If an organization’s leaders are not demonstrating their support for digital initiatives, employees may not, either. 

Managers also need to create a culture of support – learning new technologies and software programs can be a challenge for many people. A workplace culture that is non-judgmental and encourages asking for tech support will be more likely to have a smooth digital transformation experience. 

Cybersecurity in Digital Transformations

Finally, one of the critical digital transformation fundamentals is cybersecurity. This pillar of digital transformation can all too often be forgotten in lieu of new productivity tools or new computers in the office. However, cybersecurity is crucial for success in a digital workplace. 

In 2021 alone, ransomware attacks increased 78% despite the fact that 88% of organizations reported believing they have sufficient cybersecurity personnel. As businesses use increasingly more technology in the workplace, the need for cybersecurity is only going to rise. The risk of being hit by a cyber attack is increasing, as well, with trends like Ransomware-as-a-Service enabling amateur hackers. 

So, it is crucial for businesses to remember to prioritize cybersecurity as they develop a digital transformation strategy. IT security personnel should be part of the planning process from the start. With each new software program, app, or device introduced to the workplace, there should also be corresponding cybersecurity measures to protect it and employees. 

Getting Started With Digital Transformation

Digital transformation fundamentals are all about creating a balanced digital transformation strategy. A well-rounded strategy includes plans for core technologies, employee well-being, and adequate security. By understanding the foundations of a comprehensive digital transformation strategy, businesses can get started on the right foot in their next workplace innovation!

Revolutionized is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commision. Learn more here.

Author

Emily Newton

Emily Newton is a technology and industrial journalist and the Editor in Chief of Revolutionized. She enjoys reading and writing about how technology is changing the world around us.

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