Digital transformation tips to begin your journey

Digital transformation tips to begin your journey

The time for digital transformation is now

Tech has the power to make or break a business. And without change, you could face being left in the dust by your competitors.

Everyone wants their business to be more flexible, efficient, secure and agile. But digitally transforming your business can be a little daunting. We’re here to help shape your plans and get your business ready for the future.

Let’s get down to business

Our recent event, The Future is Now, brought together a panel of digital transformation experts. They shared advice and learnings from their own transformation processes.

We were joined by Justin Parsons, Technology Director at media company Archant, Robin McCammon, Chief Commercial Officer at Excel Esports and Michael Sherman, Chief Strategy and Transformation Officer at BT.

But don’t worry if you missed the event. Here’s a roundup of the best bits.

Put people at the heart of your digital transformation plans

Successful change has strong leadership at its core. But businesses are all about the people. By keeping your employees in the loop throughout the transformation process, your plans will be supported by all. Let them know why you’re making changes, how it’ll benefit them today and in the long run, how it’ll affect the business itself and what the roll out plan is.

No one likes unexpected change. By not bringing your employees on the journey with you, they might be less likely to support the transformation. This could affect the overall result, but also the job satisfaction of your colleagues. Clear and precise direction is always best. 

You can move people around and accomplish nothing until you let people know what you are trying to achieve.
Michael ShermanChief Strategy and Transformation Officer, BT

Listen to your employees. Check-in regularly and take their opinions on board. Michael Sherman says it’s about empowering teams and building their drive and support for change, rather than telling them. A top tip is to send regular surveys. These can provide great insights about how people are feeling and really help drive the success of your strategy. It also means any issues are spotted early and can be addressed. Keep people at the heart of your transformation.

Quick digital transformation tips

  1. Take people on your digital transformation journey with you. Check in with your workforce regularly in order to maintain momentum and excite staff.
  2. Digital transformation isn’t about one size fits all. Work out the individual needs of your staff and then match with the technology to enhance their work and hit your business goals.
  3. Fail fast, learn from mistakes and move on.
  4. Ensure you have short term milestones for your big bold plans.
  5. When taking a business case to the ‘powers that be’, persistence is key. Demonstrate the upside for productivity to make the decision a no brainer. And moving to a lease purchase agreement can make the whole transformation much more affordable.


It’s not a one size fits all approach

Just because a piece of tech is advanced and exciting doesn’t mean it’ll benefit every single employee in your business. Justin Parsons says Archant discovered that “technology can sometimes be a barrier rather than an enabler”. So the team decided to create user personas to help identify who needed what in terms of tech.

While it originally planned to move everyone away from a desktop and switch to a laptop, it soon realised this wouldn’t suit everyone in the business. A graphic designer needs the processing power and screen size of a desktop more than the flexibility of a laptop. And although Archant originally thought the speed of tech would be a main priority to employees, reporters out in the field prioritised weight of hardware compared to speed. The lighter the kit, the more productive they could be.

Archant decided to focus on increasing productivity across the business. It could then delve into how each employee could be more productive day-to-day through the power of technology – and equip them with the tech they need.


Be bold and willing to make mistakes

Technology is always evolving – and adapting to it helps you stay on top. Excel Esports: shaking up sport – digitally likes to trial new tech as soon as its available in a bid to beat competitors. Robin McCammon, Chief Commercial Officer, goes by the mantra:

If it’s not broken, fix it. There are always ways we can refine it and make it better
Robin McCammonChief Commercial Officer, Excel Sports

Excel Esports take a bold approach to new technology. It simply has to try it out and if something fails, it’s a learning. This agile working model has been a big contributor to its success as a digital first business.

Excel Esports rely heavily on network and connectivity. If a competitor has a better network speed, it means a slicker user experience, and could mean Excel Esports lose business. A lagging network is like removing studs from football boots. People can’t perform at their best and every millisecond counts. This is supported by the BT network and has been paramount to offering top quality experiences to customers.

Have short term goals as well as long term

Digital transformation is no overnight task. It’s a long journey and one which might never be fully complete due to new tech launching every single day. In order to keep everyone involved, motivated and excited for change, set short term goals, rather than always focussing on the long term. For example, improve productivity by a certain percentage over the next quarter by introducing new technology. By having a goal in sight, it can increase the drive from employees and empower a workforce to be in it together.

Get financial buy-in at the very start of your journey

One minor downside to keeping up with new technology is the cost implications. While there are lots of financial benefits of digital transformation, getting the buy-in for the tech in the first place can sometimes be a challenge.

One piece of advice comes from Justin Parsons from Archant. Think of the project as a productivity and efficiency transformation rather than a digital one. It’s not just about the tech, but what the tech can help a business achieve. By clearly outlining what the transformation will provide, stakeholders are more likely to give their financial support.

It can also be a good idea to lease hardware rather than buy it. Archant follow this model to ensure its equipment is renewed regularly, without having to get financial sign off every time. This way the technology is guaranteed to be kept up to date and working at its best potential.

For more hints and tips from trailblazing digital-first businesses who are shaping the future, discover the The Future is Now: Future-proof your business.