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Barriers to a Business’ Journey to Digital Transformation



Enterprises are needed to transform in this new era of digital world. In the last post, we have discussed how you can get your business ready for transforming digitally.  Easily said than done, there are several barriers to this process as well. You and your business need to overcome these barriers to succeed.

There are ten main barriers to digital engagement. They are evident in all organizations, except large consumer brands. To help businesses prepare their journey for digital transformation, they should focus on and try to overcome following ten barriers or inhibitors:

Barrier Number 1 :

Lack of knowledge, skills of the Digital era realities

There is a huge gap in linking technology and historical context of the business needs. Senior professionals are largely unaware about the latest technological trends that can have a significant impact on their industry and their organization. The result is that they ignore the key elements because of lack of knowledge and skill set. The only thing they are aware about is their favorite apps on their smartphones and tablets.  

There are lots of risks involved when it comes to building a business model in digital context including privacy, taxes, cyber security and more.   With a bunch of tools available in the market today, they are uninformed about the efficient and effective approaches required for better communication and long term collaboration. It is important for business leaders to add a digital dimension and make it crucial.

Barrier Number 2:

Avoiding Automation

Many businesses rely on manual processes for their back end operations. This slows down the activities and also the probability of (human)error is significantly high. Connecting the processes physically, the mission critical operations can get delayed. But with automation, all these discrepancies are eliminated. The limitations of managing the processes manually can be overcome by automation.

Automation has gone beyond the boundaries of one physical location to several physical locations in a matter of few seconds, for example, platforms and apps used across different departments or business units in various geographic locations. Senior leaders must use technology in innovative ways to gain competitive advantage.

Barrier Number 3:

Legacy Systems

The biggest hurdle when developing a digital business model is that many businesses today are still using the legacy systems. The problem lies in the fact that when they installed the so called legacy systems, a huge upfront investment was involved. Another investment decision seems distant dream as there is no room for innovation.

The problem of staying with the legacy system is that it takes away the power of businesses to transform digitally. There should be enough room for investments while budgeting is planned in your organization for transformation.

Barrier Number 4:

Inappropriate resource allocation

Developing an effective digital business model involves proper resource allocation strategy. What the companies are doing nowadays is allocation of the existing related resources without them having the expertise or the capability to execute them well. This might result in misappropriation of the technologies and tactics used by the organization or which they are trying to employ in their business model.

In short, it’s not appropriate to allocate a resource with no education, training and experience in social and digital technologies to manage digital engagement.

Barrier Number 5:

Cyber Security

Businesses deal with huge amount of data. With data comes accountability. Any business cannot simply adopt any innovative digital model that can compromise on the security. There have been many instances when an organization’s network has been compromised. For organisations working towards digital transformation, the first step in creating a digital security strategy is understanding exactly what it is that a potential ‘hacker’ would be interested in.

Barrier Number 6:

A wrong roadmap    

A successful business is the one which is hardest to change. They have the confidence of their processes that they are just not willing to try the transformation. Business leaders can take short term, tactical steps rather than long term strategic views. Digital transformation should be a step by step approach. You should keep in mind that it is not a revolution you are trying to bring in. So don’t be dramatic when implementing the same. It’s perfectly appropriate for it to be evolutionary, incremental, and iterative.

Getting involved in short-term view ceases the business leader’s right of viewing the long term changes in the digital world. It also causes them to view it as a short term expense rather than a long term investment.  This only leads them to engage in unrealistic expectations for immediate ROI as a justification for moving forward.

Barrier Number 7:

Risk aversion

This barrier is almost self explanatory. Every business involves in strategies to reduce the risk to dust. They choose the processes which simply mitigate the risks than aggravating them. This rule applies to the digital transformation model as well. Simply put, the idea behind the theory is that when alternatives are framed in the domain of gains, decision makers tend to be risk averse. When they are put in the domain of losses, they tend to be risk takers.

Unfortunately, till the time the legacy system or the technology they are using poses a threat to the business, business leaders are not tempted to try the innovative, transformed model instead of recognizing they can avoid the threats altogether by pursuing potential opportunities.

Barrier Number 8:

Lack or absence of measurement

Analytics play an important role when it comes to social business. Focus on metrics that will help you prove the business value of your approach and will also help you secure your management’s buy-in. 

Barrier Number 9:

Lack of infrastructure

An infrastructure is needed to streamline and support different business processes into a unique flow of data, metrics and outcomes. A solid and adaptive infrastructure is a critical element to get the best chances to accomplish your digital transformation.

Barrier Number 10:

Information Siloes

Digital enterprises rely on a level of transparency between departments such as marketing, service and sales, to deliver the experience that customers expect today. Big Data and data science are dramatically changing the business landscape, the most important role being played in overall customer experience.

Are you able to overcome these barriers?

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Barriers to a Business’ Journey to Digital Transformation