A digital transformation can help drive your company forward

As companies undergo digital transformation, they are becoming more effective, efficient and productive and are delivering an improved user experience.

“Digital transformation creates a roadmap for the evolution of innovation inside a business,” says Jay Srage, managing director of Dubai-based Centrigent, a partner of Pittsburgh’s Milhem DTL, led by Ray Milhem. “That innovation, enabled by advanced technologies, drives efficiencies, optimizes activities, and creates a better consumer and business experience. That directly leads to growth of the top and bottom lines.”

Smart Business spoke with Srage about how implementing advanced technologies like AI, cloud and data science can transform your business, and why trying to go it alone can result in failure.

How does a business start its digital transformation?

Many companies are mandated by their customers, competition, market dynamics, or even by governments, to digitally transform to create the foundational elements of smart cities, smart industries, smart economies and smart governments. For the most part, established legacy companies that have been doing business the same way for a long time don’t have the technical capability to integrate digital solutions into their operations. Establishing a digital business unit has proven to be a risky and costly proposition due to cultural integration issues. An outside expert can help a company understand what transformation is and they can work together on its implementation.

Businesses must understand digital transformation is not a one-time event, such as opening an e-commerce store, or marketing online. Too many companies see it as a single event and, as a result and without expert guidance, 70 percent of attempts end in failure. Too many companies want change to happen overnight. Digital transformation is a gradual evolution of a company’s business model and a journey of continuous self and process improvements.

A manufacturer, for example, might focus on efficiencies. An expert can help you look at the objectives you want to achieve. Do you want to increase the productivity of staff? Reduce costs? Simplify processes? An expert can assess the best action plan one piece at a time, then use the available tools and technologies to achieve those objectives.

What roadblocks do companies face, and how can they overcome them?

A major roadblock is resistance, especially among middle managers. In general, executive management is eager to show customers and shareholders they are adapting to a changing market and driving shareholder value. Training and coaching are key, working with experts to implement the cultural change necessary to succeed. Cultural change is often difficult to implement and sustain, but when done in gradual steps that do not cause shock to the system, a company can build a strong foundation for a sustainable transformation.

It’s tricky getting middle management to support digital transformation. You may meet resistance among employees who say, let’s not fix what’s not broken. They question the motivation behind the transformation, and whether that threatens their job, power, or size of their teams. It takes substantial coaching, consulting and training to help them understand how this transformation will make their lives better, their jobs more efficient and improve processes.

How can companies benefit by working with experts with international partnerships?

With digital transformation, there are multiple products and solutions, and there must be an ecosystem to bring all of those elements together.
Your expert adviser almost becomes a company co-leader, and when it works with international partners, their cross knowledge better identifies solutions. That allows them to fill in gaps in technology solutions. Because solutions are customized, it’s important your adviser has multiple partners working together to identify the best way to move forward. Digital transformation can seem overwhelming. A third-party adviser with international partners can help you understand your objectives, and work on them over time, on the continuous improvement of the digital transformation solutions being implemented.

Insights Digital Transformation is brought to you by MILHEM DTL