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The Digital Trough and How to Avoid It

Everyone in the business world is talking digital transformation. Now past the point of no return when it comes to the non-stop technology we all use every day, a business either makes the inevitable transition to interconnectivity or gets left behind. However, a digital transformation is a complex concept. It means making that initial leap into the digital world, but it also means committing to a natural progression or evolution toward technology-driven processes. That’s where the term “digital trough” comes into play.

The Pitfalls of Digital Transformation: The Digital Trough

 According to Everest Group’s recent study of 120 organizations, almost half of those evaluated are in a digital trough. With any technology rollout, the process is complex. Once a company has the buy-in needed to start a transformation, the energy may be high and exciting. Leaders can see the end result of using technology to transform client-business communications, and at first it seems like a better, easier world is right around the corner.

Inevitably, time passes and obstacles arise. And those obstacles barely scratch the surface of user adoption. A true transformation involves taking the right solutions, implementing them, and getting users to accept them as the new drivers of productivity. Without all of these balls rolling forward, companies find themselves stuck in a rut. They may start to wonder how technology is going to change business and if the decision to move forward is really worth it. But all is not lost if and when your company hits the digital wall.

Avoiding the Digital Trough

Becoming a truly digital enterprise means taking the time at the beginning of the journey to set your company up for success. Without a clear understanding of goals and the current market, chances are good that digital transitions will miss the mark. Look at the value of solutions first, and then start to create a comprehensive plan. The ability to support the solutions chosen will affect the overall success of a migration. Here are a few tips for making your digital transformation a success and avoiding the digital trough:

1. Identify value – For some companies there may be more value in pursuing sales automation, whereas others may benefit more from automating processes and reducing labor overhead. Find key areas based on data to improve with digital solutions.

2. Get complete buy-in and support from owners, executives, and decision makers – Any technology consultant can attest to the importance of a top-down approach. Solutions that are not pushed with authority may fizzle and die out, leaving you with a costly solution that delivers no ROI. Without tangible ROI, decision makers may hesitate to approve future digital pursuits.

3. Invest in infrastructure – Adequate storage, security, and application functionality support all factors regarding digital solutions. A good infrastructure will impact every other step.

4. Focus on the mindset – Keep your objectives clear and remind everyone of them regularly. To keep everyone moving forward with a transformation and to prevent the trough, make sure everyone is in the loop. Understanding and adoption by all team members will drive success.

Most businesses will face financial, personnel, and technological obstacles during a digital transformation. Have a process in place for addressing challenges to keep implementation and adoption processes moving forward, and you can prevent the dreaded digital trough while seeing the data-driven results of implementing digital solutions.