The Digital Transformation journey is a long and tedious project. Many organisations are considering the change but are afraid to fail or find an incorrect software partner who will drain their resources and never bring any valuable results. Knowing these issues, we prepared a list of tips on how to find the best software company when it comes to Digital Transformation.
Before we go further, we need to understand what is Digital Transformation?
We see Digital Transformation as the process of using digital technologies to create new or modify existing, business processes, culture and customer experiences, to meet changing business and market requirements.
It is a “reimagining of business in the digital age”.
Put simply, it is about looking at what we want to do or are currently doing and seeking to improve that experience using digital technology.
And this is also the why – “seeking to improve”.
We should not do Digital Transformation just because we think we need to appear modern or because someone else is doing it, and we need to stay competitive. These can be valid reasons, but the primary goal of any Digital Transformation project should be to improve – whether that be our processes, our people, our customers, or our planet.
Let’s check these examples that are commonplace for most people nowadays:
– eCommerce – allowing buyers to browse and shop items any time, from anywhere
– Online banking – from day-to-day banking to applying for loans and mortgages, all without stepping foot in a branch
– Streaming services – be it music, TV shows or movies – are all instant and available for rental or purchase
These industries have all been disrupted by Digital Transformation. However, they always provide clear improvements for customers allowing them to get what they need from the comfort of their homes. Usually by giving more choice or lower-cost offerings than traditional methods.
It is important to highlight that many organisations have tried to pivot their processes to follow these trends and have failed. The global management consulting firm BCG found that 70% of all Digital Transformations either fail or don’t manage to reach all of their intended goals.
And one of the problems might not be clear to the naked eye, but many organisations do not select and evaluate the correct partners to assist with their Digital Transformation journey.
What are the main areas to pay attention to with Digital Transformation?
1. Do not do Digital Transformation yourself
2. Conduct research on software providers to find the best fit for your organisation
3. Engage with a few companies to understand their approach
Do not do Digital Transformation yourself.
In some cases, organisations will try to do it themselves. This is often the wrong choice, as it can mean that you lose focus on what you are already doing daily, which can negatively impact your people and your customers. It also may mean that you try to upskill quickly in new technologies with no previous experience in the field. This means that best practices are usually not followed and can lead to an inefficient result of the resources you have available.
At Allsop, we, by no means, think a Digital Transformation partner should do it all for you either. Instead, we encourage our customers and their staff to upskill and learn as we work on a project together. What we found is often training is a key part of what we deliver, but we encourage it only under the right guidance.
Conduct research to find the best fit for your organisation.
In finding a partner, a lot of organisations will go to market, get quotes, shortlist potential partners, and then review the offerings and make a decision. This is normal, but often a few key steps are overlooked.
You should research potential Digital Transformation partners as early as possible in this process. This could be by reviewing their website to see what other organisations they have worked with and how similar they are to you. If they have only worked with large multinationals, then they may not be the best cultural fit for a micro-organisation; or if all of their customers are hotels, then they may not have experience in processes within a distribution business.
Similarly, look at the types of technology used in the projects they have done before. If they have a lot of eCommerce website experience and you have eCommerce as one of your goals – then they will likely be a better fit than someone who has lots of experience putting accounting systems in.
It is also good to speak to at least 1 or 2 of their existing customers and ask questions about how they find working with this company, why they selected them over others, and what post-project experience they have had with them. These are the questions that only someone else in your shoes can answer, and it will give you a feel for what the engagement might look like rather than just what the project being proposed will be made up of.
Try to find a small engagement to start with.
And when searching for a potential partner, try to find a small engagement to start with. This allows both you and the partner to get to know each other’s working styles, and iron out any uncertainty or issues early. It also means that should you or the partner realise that they are not best suited to meet your requirements, you are not committed to a large project and discovering this further down the track.
At Allsop, we engage on a Foundations project with all new customers, where we encourage design and proof-of-concept work on a project before any development or implementation. There is a tangible result at the end of the Foundations for the customer, but most importantly, it ensures we are both on the same page going into the next stage of the project. It also removes any doubt or unknown technical issues that could cause problems later, and it means there are no surprises when we kick off the main project.
In some cases, during the Foundations, we realise that some or all of what the customer needs is better provided by someone else. We signpost this to the customer, and every time it is the best for both of us. Why? We aren’t engaged on a project that we aren’t going to provide the best value on, and the customer can get a better solution from someone more suited. It is always worth asking a potential partner if you can engage similarly for your first project.
Therefore, when your company is ready to approach Digital Transformation, always remember to complete full research on a software provider. Sometimes companies go for a brand when in reality it is better to go for the offerings and find the best match to your business and end goals.