Achieving digital transformation doesn’t happen overnight; it requires careful planning and consistent implementation. This is precisely why distinct stages of digital transformation have been developed increase the likelihood of success.
The stages of digital transformation include business as usual, present and active, formalized, strategic, converged, and innovative and adaptive. These stages help businesses to strategically plan, implement and scale digital solutions and drive innovation for long-term success.
Each stage builds on the previous one and is necessary to fully leverage the potential of digital technologies and achieve business goals. Understanding these phases can help your business identify current level of commitment towards achieving digital transformation goals and overcome the obstacles of digital transformation.
So, let’s discover the common steps that any organization will undergo towards a digital journey.
What are the Stages of Digital Transformation?
Here are the six digital transformation stages and what each involves.
1- Business as usual
This is the first stage of digital transformation, and it refers to the traditional ways of doing business across the different types of DX that are typically associated with manual or paper-based processes, limited use of technology, and a resistance to change.
It is the starting point for many organizations as they begin to explore digital transformation and represents the current state of their business operations before any digital interventions are made.
At this step, the ultimate goal for businesses is to move away from business as usual and manual processes and take advantage of digital technology to innovate and achieve a workspace environment that can support growth, productivity, and efficiency.
There are different types of digital transformation that you need to understand in order to unlock the full potential of such transformation and not only focus on automating business workflows.
2- Present and active
During this phase, organizations should assess their current operational model and develop a plan for initiating digital transformation. It’s crucial to identify any significant roadblocks that are hindering productivity, innovation, and overall performance.
Additionally, businesses should evaluate which departments or employees have transitioned from manual or paper-based processes to digital systems and automated workflows.
By examining these factors, organizations can gain a better understanding of their digital maturity level and develop a roadmap for the future stages of digital transformation.
The formalized stage of digital transformation marks a pivotal moment where all key stakeholders, including top-level management and employees, have fully embraced the positive impact of digital transformation.
In parallel, small initiatives could start taking places where the implementation is somehow easy, and the percentage of successful digital transformation is higher.
To keep momentum, businesses should identify the most digitally mature departments and employees to lead the way in the transformation journey. By doing so, organizations can achieve meaningful progress towards their digital transformation journey stages and set themselves up for long-term success.
In order to kickstart this journey, a clear well suited digital strategy should be created that is best suited for your organizations.
A digital transformation strategy is what usually companies create to illustrate the plan to move from traditional manual work to technology-driven operations with the ultimate goal of improving efficiency, productivity, and competitive edge.
It should be noted that creating this plan usually needs skilled employees in this field. And most organizations at this point don’t have the current expertise that is why it is very crucial to identify key employees that can help draft such a vision or outsource it to third party companies.
The converged stage of digital transformation is the most critical phase as organizations prioritize digital initiatives and allocate the necessary resources, including creating dedicated teams, budgets, and external partnerships, to ensure success in becoming a true digital workspace.
This stage is where the organization’s digital strategy fully aligns with its business goals, and it represents the peak of the digital transformation journey. Businesses can leverage digital technology to achieve a competitive advantage, drive innovation, and create long-term value for customers and stakeholders.
6- Innovative and adaptive
The innovative and adaptive is one of the most advanced phases of digital transformation which represents a significant milestone for organizations, having successfully implemented small to medium DX initiatives and now ready to take more significant steps towards innovation.
At this stage, businesses are ready to adopt advanced digital transformation software to expand their market share, increase time to market, and deliver exceptional customer experiences.
This phase is marked by a high level of digital maturity and a deep commitment to ongoing optimization and innovation. As you know, DX is a continuous process where major or minor refinements should be done along the way to improve and get the best out of it.
If your organization is serious about future proofing its business model, you should take your time to understand the different stages of digital transformation including its components and identify where they stand (in which phase) in order to visualize how to move forward and enhance their ability to have a digital mature business.
With a clear understanding of the phases of digital transformation, organizations can leverage digital technology to improve their operations, enhance customer experiences, and gain a competitive advantage in the digital landscape.