Digital Transformation – 9 Key Mistakes to Avoid



In today’s disruptive marketplace, businesses need to deliver more value and work faster to stay relevant. That’s what digital transformation promises. It offers opportunities to enterprises across their business – from optimizing operations to engaging with stakeholders, employees, and customers. Even though digital transformation has emerged as a necessity today, only a few manage to achieve success. Read along to learn the most common digital transformation mistakes you need to avoid to unlock real digital value.

Importance of digital transformation

The pillars of digital transformation are disruption and technology. Digitalization refers to reinventing businesses to capture unique competitive advantages, and 79% of corporate strategists are already doing the same to create new revenue streams. Even though 1.3 trillion has been already invested in digital transformation, it goes beyond capital investment. Businesses need to develop strategies addressing the challenges and needs of the customers. The focus is on user experience and providing solutions to problems faced by the end-users.

Digital transformation helps enterprises keep up with the ever-changing and emerging customer demands, and therefore, survive in the face of the future. It allows businesses to compete better in an economic environment constantly evolving in response to the latest technological advancements. Traditional enterprises and startups are increasingly adopting digital transformation strategies to streamline processes and enhance interaction with employees and consumers.

Digital business transformation mistakes to avoid:

1. Failure to move beyond business as usual

For decades, businesses, as usual, have served companies well. But, today, agility is the order of the day.

One of the biggest mistakes is replicating the outdated and bureaucratic processes in the digital world. When UI/UX designers and developers are busy accommodating everything under the old system, the opportunity to bring consistency and simplicity by leveraging technology is missed.

Decision-makers must heavily invest in change management to avoid this pitfall of useless complexity. Digital transformation should be about embracing new technology and streamlining business processes. For instance, before the digital age, the customer onboarding process in the banking sector was a complex one where there would be endless meetings and the need for document verifications. However, thanks to design thinking and a digital-led approach, banks have automated the process and improved customer experience.

Today, customers can download an app or visit a website, register using their email address & password, and digitally upload their documents for a 5-minute verification.

2. Collecting a massive amount of data but not utilizing it

Companies collecting a huge amount of data but failing to use it is another costly digital business transformation mistake. Of course, businesses should not adopt any strategy mindlessly. However, companies are missing the enormous opportunities presented by the collected data.

Data can help deliver personalize customer experience or create on-demand products. It can help businesses understand the pain points of their end-users and craft experiences that meet their expectations.

3. Seeing digital as the destination instead of a journey

Corporate digital transformation is an ongoing journey. It is not a destination. Adopting digital practices allows organizations to deliver results by streamlining their processes. It won’t alter the core processes of the enterprise or fix loopholes beyond their scope.

Leaders can avoid this mistake by having a clear vision of their goals by embracing digital transformation in their company. For example, it might enhance efficiency due to reduced dependence on IT, business automation, or streamlining processes through collaborative platforms.

Once the vision is established, it is vital to comprehend how digital practices empower and strengthen the greater vision. At large, digital transformation is a journey that leads companies to the path of innovation and success. Therefore, digital leaders must be clear about outcomes and reasons before embracing digital transformation in their enterprise.

4. Forgetting the customer

The customer is not always right when it comes to new technology. For instance, customers did not know they needed an iPad until Apple placed them on the shelves. However, customers are the end-users of an organization, and digital transformation must benefit customers to retain market share and the customer base.

Companies undergoing digital transformation only to improve internal operations and decrease costs might ignore the customer journey and user experience. If the end-users are not happy, they will go elsewhere.

Simply put, organizations might get away with the inefficient internal operation if they boast credible user experience, but not vice versa.

5. Thinking of UX as a one-time activity

User experience or UX is not a checkbox in the design process. Instead, it is an iterative and recursive process.

A great UX typically follows 5 stages of design thinking – empathize, ideate, define, prototype, and test. The stages are aimed at understanding the problems that organizations are trying to solve and offer possible solutions. User experience is an ongoing effort to learn about the user and improve the product or service.

6. Overwhelming users with too much information

The screen on a mobile app or website is a valuable resource. Unfortunately, UX designers sometimes tend to fill the screen with too many features and information. This results in information overload. So much data leaves users frustrated and confused.

An essential part of UX design is a clean UI with no clutter and sufficient breathing space. It should offer a cohesive message with a clear hierarchy of relevant and meaningful information. The individual elements should not compete for the user’s attention.

7. Unclear goals lacking customer appeal

Customers associate with brands that understand them. This means problem-solving and focusing on the needs and wants of the customers.

Blame and acceptance are the two types of problems that organizations need to address to delight their customers. Blame problems result from negative experiences that a customer might blame you for, which might not always be your fault. For example, slow restocking times and defective products are two instances where a company is at fault. But, a power outage that resulted in shutting down your operations might not be your fault. However, a customer will still blame you for the bad experience.

These issues need fixing, or customer resentment will build quickly, and they wouldn’t want to do business with you.

Acceptance problems refer to things that customers accept as an inevitable downside of doing business with an organization. For example, it might be the slow checkout lines or a long wait for technical support.

If organizations accept and solve such problems, customers will notice, which will enhance the customer experience.

8. Focusing too much on technology

Approaching digitization purely from a technical standpoint and forgetting what users require is another major mistake. That is why design thinking plays a key role here. 

The entire point of digital transformation seems to be amiss here because you’ll end up appeasing the techies, and the average user will not benefit anything.

Businesses should approach digitization opportunities by consulting with the users first and asking for their opinion on what areas require improvement. Tools such as RPA, chatbots, workflow automation, etc., can be selected after your goal is clear. It is important to remember that technology facilitates digital business transformation.

9. Failing to measure progress

To manage or make changes, you need to measure progress. This is also true for digital transformation. For instance, objectives don’t have any meaning if they are not supported by goals that are not quantifiable.

Monitoring and measuring progress is crucial as it helps validate whether the changes you’ve implemented are in the right direction. Also, timely course correction and incremental improvements are possible if you can get a constant feedback loop.
It is easy to fall into the charm and allure of digital transformation, but it is essential to understand that it does not bring overnight success. Instead, sustainable and consistent steps are required to ensure that you avoid typical digital transformation mistakes. 

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