“The secret to successful digital transformation initiatives is understanding the business model, desired business outcomes and using that information to assess the company’s digital maturity, which is an organization’s readiness to have a big picture, long-term strategy for transformation”, says Ash Finnegan, Digital Transformation Officer, Conga in an exclusive interview with EnterpriseTalk.
ET Bureau: How do enterprises successfully streamline business processes given the fast evolution in operation tools?
Ash Finnegan: With the fast evolution of operation tools, enterprises successfully streamline business processes by ensuring they have a digital transformation strategy in place. Digital transformation is considered a major piece of every organization’s overall strategy. In fact, global investment in transformation projects is expected to increase to $2.3 trillion by 2023, with $7.4 trillion in total over just four years.
The urgency of more data and intelligence to allow enterprises to get the full picture of where they stand is one of the many reasons for digital transformation. This data and intelligence allow leadership to define clear business objectives to accelerate and prepare their business for the future. The end goal is to identify effective as well as measurable methods to ensure constant growth and improvement.
Digital transformation is also needed to create a better, more personalized, connected, and efficient customer experience across all channels. This is mission-critical for organizations that wish to remain viable and stay competitive. It’s not uncommon for markets to suddenly shift due to unforeseen events, so having successful digital transformation initiatives put enterprises in the position to be agile, pivot, and adapt as needed no matter what situation is thrown their way.
While digital transformation is a hot topic right now for businesses, it can often be very difficult to define, plan, and carry out in an effective manner. This is often the case when there is a lack of clear understanding of the business outcomes that digital transformation should drive. Therefore, it’s particularly important that an organization’s digital transformation should always start with the strategy and never with technology.
The secret to successful digital transformation initiatives is understanding the business model, desired business outcomes and using that information to assess the company’s digital maturity, which is an organization’s readiness to have a big picture, long-term strategy for transformation.
By evaluating the company’s digital maturity overall, IT leaders can get a clearer vision of the current states of their enterprises. This also empowers them with the knowledge on how to move to the next level and ensure digital transformation success.
ET Bureau: What struggles are enterprises facing while processing their commercial operations today?
Ash Finnegan: According to recent research from Conga, while 97% of enterprises surveyed across the globe already have a digital transformation strategy in place, only 50 per cent of these initiatives can be considered successful. In Europe, the success rate is lower when compared to the world, with only 43% of companies experiencing some success with their transformation programs.
The problem lies within the approach itself. Many digital transformation strategies are driven by the desire to incorporate new technology that drives or forms the basis of their planning. Rather, enterprises need to identify clear business goals and reconsider their current operational model. This has only been accelerated by Covid-19 and remote work.
I can’t begin to tell how important it is for businesses to remember that, while digital transformation offers many competitive advantages, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s easy to define, plan and execute. It is too often the case where business leaders put technology the priority over the strategy and don’t have a clear understanding of what the outcomes digital transformation will drive.
ET Bureau: Can you provide some advice on best practices to enterprises for seamlessly advancing in their digital transformation initiatives and increasing their ROI?
Ash Finnegan: Start with strategy, not technology – Before doing anything, it is crucial to understand where the company stands or to determine the digital maturity level of the company. In order to do this, enterprise leaders need to understand what their current business model is and seek out expert advice on measuring their current state. They should determine the clear business outcomes to achieve and build a strategy to achieve them. It’s important that these outcomes are meaningful, measurable, and attainable.
Streamline and simplify the process – The less mature a business process, the more complex it is from a digital perspective. Think about documents and contracts — the majority of companies believe that the way documents and contracts are created, managed and stored within the organization is the main driver in the success of their digital transformation initiatives.
Simplifying and streamlining a lucrative business process is the main part of the strategy that makes digital transformation projects more successful. Enterprise leaders should also involve their affected teams early in the process and call in outside expertise for an additional perspective.
Choose the technology – Once enterprises have evaluated their current business model and figured out how to simplify and streamline its processes, then they can finally prepare to start considering which technologies best address their business’ needs. It is vital to select technology that drives business outcomes and implement it in a phased approach. They shouldn’t advance into features that the business is not ready for, implement in short-term, agile cycles and focus on speed to value.
Ash Finnegan is the Digital Transformation Officer at Conga, where she focuses on customer and partner transformation programs. With over 20 years of experience in the digital space, Ash works with sales and marketing teams on the positioning of the Conga Suite, as well as looking at Conga’s own internal operational processes to see where and how she can improve the use of its own technology. Prior to Conga, Ash held various leadership positions at Smart Focus, Electric Word, Tes, and eTeach. Her passion is to take real-world problems and apply technical solutions to them – identifying and removing operational roadblocks, aiding corporate growth, and increasing profitability.