Few projects secured management plus budgetary backing faster than digitalization.
Digitalization projects produced immediate, tangible results. They eliminated closets and drawers full of physical documents and artifacts. This freed up floor space. Digitalization even reduced the amount of square footage that organizations needed for their businesses.
Now, the challenge for digitalization champions , project managers, IT executives, and business leaders is to meet upper management’s new demands for digitalization. Organizations want to know how they can leverage the digital technology investments that will they’ve already made.
The common questions that are being asked are:
- How many departments within the company can access digital information to improve their work?
- Can all of the digitalized data be mined with analytics to produce unique insights into the company and its markets that will improve performance?
- Are there ways that digital information can feed work processes that can automate the particular company’s procedures?
The Digital Sand Traps that Companies Fall Into
When upper management starts asking the “what’s next” questions about digitalization,
CIOs and digitalization project managers may find it difficult to respond.
Here are three major reasons for that difficulty:
The ‘project is complete’ syndrome. Once the initial implementation of a digitalization project is complete, project supervisors and staff members check the project off their to-do lists plus move on to something else. A digitalization task can run 18 months or longer, so checking the project off as “complete” is welcome relief!
The task is total if all the organization wanted out associated with it was a way in order to digitalize physical documents and artifacts. However, few companies want to stop there.
Even five years ago (2018), the average digitalization budget in mid-sized to large-sized companies was $14 million . With so much time and money invested in digitalization, corporate administration expects digitalization to be a launching platform with regard to business transformation that goes well beyond the conversion of bodily documents into electronic facsimiles.
The pilot project syndrome. The second sand trap that will digital projects fall into is the “pilot project” syndrome.
Many digitalization projects were started as pilot tasks because electronic platforms had been new technology, plus IT and the end users were unfamiliar with the technology.
Thinking of digital projects as pilot projects became ingrained while frequent new software releases, patches and physical artifacts were added to the system. There was the feeling that the pilot phase would never end because of this continuous change. This made it difficult for businesses to think about digitalization as a mature program that had moved past pilot mode.
The problem with pilot setting thinking will be that system performance expectations and capabilities remain relatively low. You’re not expecting the pilot program to perform like a production system.
Pilot project thinking with digitalization doesn’t work anymore. Management wants to see more results from the substantial digital investments that have been produced, and company results come from systems that are installed plus maintained in full production.
Lack of post-implementation leadership. Who’s in charge associated with digitalization once the initial phase of digitalization (conversion of paper-documents to digital) is complete?
If ongoing leadership is usually unclear for new phases associated with digitalization that would move upon to revolutionize work processes, deliver analytics, and fuel automation, a digitalization effort will stagnate.
Designing Digitalization Initiatives for Success
Next generation digitalization efforts can be designed for success if companies do these four things:
1. Develop a digital vision.
Once a digitalization platform is in place, almost every department in the particular company will have brand new projects where they want to use digitalization. All these projects can have merit, but they can’t all be done at once.
For this reason, it’s important to prioritize digitalization tasks, with top management buying into the strategic direction.
How can new digital function best to benefit the organization? It may be by automating internal operations regarding greater efficiency; by improving the digital customer experience; or simply by implementing the particular use of advanced analytics that can help along with market forecasts?
By clearly defining business goals and priorities, plus then establishing metrics in order to assess task success, management can build a long-term strategic roadmap intended for digitalization that tracks with the business goals. These metrics could be different from the historical metrics previously possess used to measure corporate performance, especially if digitalization is going to reinvent or create new business processes and goals.
2. Appoint a champion.
Whether it is the CIO or the separate digitalization executive, there should end up being a single “go to” person for digitalization decisions within the enterprise. This individual will be responsible for the particular digitalization tactical plan, to get overseeing the digital projects which are executed under this particular plan, and for reporting to the CEO, the particular board, plus key stakeholders on progress.
3. Orchestrate projects but don’t forget people.
Digitalization changes how people do work. If you implement a digital logistics system that feeds data and activates AI to automatically optimize fleet routes, the expeditor who used to do logistics planning by hand must be trained in order to do the work with AI assisting, and perhaps even assuming a central role.
Businesses tend to underestimate plus under-plan pertaining to the cultural changes and impacts on employees that must change how they work for a new This can invite risk and user resistance, which can undermine tasks and cause them to fail.
To avoid this problem, training (and retraining) employees meant for new function processes should be a priority in every digitalization project.
4. Navigate cultural modifications with extreme collaboration.
Trust, motivation, open communication, and accountability are all essential ingredients designed for facilitating the work culture that is adaptable towards the adjustments that electronic transformation brings.
Central in order to these elements is inclusiveness and collaboration between almost all parties that are affected simply by a digital project.
At the onset of a project, employees whose work will be affected by the task should be brought in to the company process redesign sessions. These are the individuals who know the work best. If they are actively engaged in business process redesigns from beginning to end associated with an electronic project, they are likely in order to be enthusiastic and supportive.
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