Digital transformation has been a bit of a buzzword in business for more than a decade, but since the COVID-19 pandemic started and more businesses moved to remote working in order to survive, transforming through technology has become essential.

The problem many businesses (especially SMEs) faced, was they’d never considered how to shift to more digital or mobile technology, so moved in a hurry.

If your business is going to transform through digital technology – or successfully transform – you need to set a clear blueprint for what you want to achieve, and how you’ll get there.

Communications Plus, a business mobile phone provider, runs through how SMEs can plot a successful digital transformation.

1 – Why are you doing it?

The main reason digital transformations fail is that businesses get caught in the hype and try to get on a trend, without knowing why they’re doing it.

If you’re moving to remote working and need to change how you use technology, make sure you consider all aspects of the project and how this will impact your business operations.

If you’re not sure what the end goal or desired outcome should be, you run the risk of creating more problems for yourself and blowing your budget.

2 – Where are you currently?

Before you dive into a digital transformation, take time to assess where you are now as a digital business.

What kind of hardware, software, and networks are you already using in your business, and how do they already help and hinder where you want to go?

For example, do you have a cloud network already set up with mobile devices? Or do you still have a premise-based storage system and desktops?

Understanding where you are now as a business will help you understand what changes you need to make.

3 – Get your team involved

If not understanding why you’re changing is the main reason digital transformations fail, then not getting employee or stakeholder buy-in is the biggest second reason.

Remember, most employees view change as something they just need to deal with and something that disrupts their business life.

And these are the people who’ll be dealing with your new hardware or systems on a day-to-day basis.

So you need to get them on board at the beginning of your digital project so they also understand why you’re making the changes, and what the benefits will be to them.

Get every employee involved so they know what’s happening and buy into the idea.

4 – Invest in training

Once you’ve got employees bought into your project, you’ll need to invest in training so they’re able to use your new systems and technology once everything is in place.

You’ll want to do this early on so employees are ready and equipped to use your new systems, hardware, and processes once they’re installed.

You should identify any skills gaps you’ve got throughout the organization to bring everyone up to scratch, and also consider more specialized, role-based training if it will be necessary.

5 – Create your timeline

Now you know what technology you need to bring in, why you’re investing in it and you’ve got employees bought in, you’ll need to map out the timeline for your digital transformation.

This should include every stage of the project, including when data or systems will need to be transferred to new platforms, when new hardware will be available to replace old hardware and when employee training will take place.

With a timeline, you can have an overview of where the project is and whether it’s running on time, and also identify any roadblocks that could hinder your digital transformation project.

6 – Continually assess your digital transformation

It would be a mistake to think that a digital transformation really has an endpoint, the reality is it doesn’t.

To remain a digital, productive business you need to constantly assess and evaluate how your technology, systems, and processes are helping or hindering your business.

You’ll find you can always make changes to improve how your business works, so are sure you continually assess your performance and identify areas for improvement.

Kick start a successful digital transformation

Whether you need to shift your operations to the cloud, improve your network security, or introduce new mobile hardware to improve your business, it’s important you take the time to plan your digital transformation.

Having a clear goal and strategy in place can drastically improve your business’s chances for success when it comes to digital transformation.

Simply diving in without a plan can leave you in a worse position than when you started.