Digital transformation has been high on the business agenda for many years, with leaders investing heavily in new, promising technologies as part of their overall development plans. This trend shows no signs of slowing down. In 2019, IDC forecast that investment would reach $7.4 trillion by 2023, with the critical drivers being market competition, rising customer expectations and ongoing business challenges. More recently, Covid-19 has been the most unplanned reason for accelerating most businesses’ digital transformations; out of sheer necessity, leaders have opted for short-term solutions, with the hope of transforming their business as quickly as possible.

Naturally, teams will have encountered a number of bottlenecks throughout this transition, as a result of unnecessarily complex processes across the business cycle. These companies have looked for quick fixes merely as a means to keep the business running while their workforce continues to operate remotely. These initiatives lack the foresight of a long-term transformation plan and rarely result in success. In fact, according to Conga’s latest research, only 36 per cent of all projects relating to the transformation of commercial operations are considered somewhat successful.

Even prior to the pandemic, businesses would often rush their transformation programmes. Initiatives were often driven by the desire to keep up with competitors or to embrace the latest technology, rather than establishing clear business objectives based on a sound understanding of the outcomes that digital transformation can and should drive. Unfortunately, the pandemic has only accelerated this issue.

How to approach a digital transformation programme

The first step in formulating an effective strategy is to measure where the business currently stands in its digital transformation journey, that is, what works, and what does not. Before adopting any new technology or starting any transformation initiative, companies need to take a step back and establish their digital maturity. This will likely involve

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