Nowadays, businesses are rushing to become digital. CEOs push digitalization as a top priority in their agendas. The ubiquity of our digital era is spoken about. Let's go digital, businesses appeal. But how? And going where? To get the path ahead properly paved, you need to understand first the key concepts you need to change in your business model. Doing digital transformation places a lot of challenges to your existing business. But first of all - what does digitalization really mean?

What is digital transformation

Depending on the point of view, you may come across different interpretations - starting from digitalization is in technology, and going to digitalization is in the new ways customers are engaged. Actually, such kind of approach is misleading because it aims at finding a definition of a state. Digitalization, on the contrary, is not a state. It is a process - the process of doing things.

Being digital requires accumulating new values and broadening the business` horizons. Your business is asked to become closely attuned to your customer decision journeys, to become flexible and responsive to any alterations in the customers? expectations. Technology is just the tool that assists you in achieving your business? digital transformation. It is not the point everything starts from and is subordinate to.

In the context of digitization, forget remaining static. You cannot simply deliver a one-off customer journey, expecting no modifications to be made after that. In order the business you lead to go one step ahead, all of the processes and capabilities your clients have at their disposal need to change in time. By ?change?, do not come to think about technology-driven change. This is improvement, based on the users? input. Their input is the building block for your business digitalization process.

Why do I need digital transformation

Once aware of the core ideas that outline the process of digitalization, comes a diff?rent question - WHY.The answer here is short and simple. If your business does not go digital, you will be replaced. Just gone. That is the reality.

Common mistakes on the way to digitalization

As we speak about the process of business digitalization, there is always a better and a less effective way of applying the process in practice. While why you need your business digitalized might be clear already, trying to go digital by all means or without strategic clarity you may have as many negative effects as not digitalizing at all.

Some common mistakes you do need to avoid:

Not all of the Company Management members in your business agree on what digitalization means

If common understanding is not reached, then the risk of the whole process going wrong is high. Digitalization cannot be done partially, it cannot be done up to one?s own consideration. It turns as a success when delivered by a team, sharing common core values.

Not following a pre-defined plan with clear goals and deadlines for accomplishment

Plan. Set milestones. Set deadlines. Track. Repeat. As every other process, though difficult at first, with time it gets accepted and implemented by the respective sides. However, if there aren?t strictly defined roles and there aren?t team members in charge of the process? planning, it is doomed to failure.

Not involving all business departments in the process

Digitalization is a process that takes place at all different levels of the company. If partially done, you risk doing it the wrong way. You need collaboration between the Marketing, Production, Finance and Sales departments. This is not a process driven by the Marketing guys only.

Not seeing digitalization as an investment, but as a cost instead

Going digital takes time. It takes resources, as well. But the return of investment is times bigger than the initial effort. It is not a change you decide to make in your business. It is the process of changing the business as a whole.

Not going digital in your own way, but copying what your competitors did

Even if trying to implement the same model that worked for your competitor, you may fail. This failure is due to the core differences in the starting point - your team values are different, your problem-solving approaches are different, the obstacles your businesses have overcome do also occurred at different stages. When doing business, do it on your way.

Now what

When aware of what digital transformation is and what value it would bring to your business, you are ready to start leading your business digitalization. As explained by Karel D�rner and J�rgen Meffert in Nine questions to help you get your digital transformation right, here is a set of general questions you need to think about in advance:

What is your business niche currently like? 
Which of your customer journeys matter? 
Is your business willing to make the initial investment? 
Is your team good at brainstorming and adjusting flexibly to newly-implemented changes? 
Is your team collaborative, pro-active and creative? 
Is your team operating with failure in mind? 
Is your team good at planning and tracking implementation? 

Once you consider these key directions of digitalization implementation, your business is on the right way. Remember, if you do not start going digital, your business will not thrive. It will not develop. It may even not exist. Because digitalization is not the future, it is the present.

Have you already started the digitalization process? Have you come across some key findings? Share your thoughts in comments below.

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