Digital transformation is no longer merely a business buzzword — it is an industry imperative. Consumers have been slowly but surely migrating toward more digitally mature institutions for years, and the COVID pandemic accelerated this trend to the extent that businesses lacking the right digital tech have failed at alarming rates.
Now is the time for your digital transformation, and to start, you need to ensure that your small business has experienced team members with the right knowledge and skill. The following roles are essential for an effective digital transformation, so you should start the recruiting process (or start training existing staff) today:
The c-suite is responsible for driving a digital transformation, but the highest executives within an organization are often woefully unprepared to facilitate such a massive and important change. Thus, it is imperative that organizations install a chief experience officer, or CXO, who must be well-equipped to engage, educate and excite stakeholders about the transformation. CXOs should work with other tech executives to build a transformation strategy that is paced well to keep your organization competitive without frightening staff or losing loyal customers.
Industry specialists make it their job to understand the current state of a given industry. By contracting an industry specialist, you can develop a more comprehensive understanding of your company’s current position as well as existing and emerging digital trends that should influence your transformation strategy. The specialist will likely conduct research on your organization, such as internal interviews, processes checks, market analysis and more, to give you deep insights into your domain.
As you transform your organization, you will add a number of new technologies that should improve efficiency and effectiveness. To choose the right tech, you should work alongside technologists, who understand the applications, features, limitations and more of the tech within their field. You may need to contract a number of different technologists, depending on the breadth and intensity of your digital transformation. At the very least, you should utilize the knowledge and skill of subject area experts on your staff; for example, professionals with a business information systems degree might have valuable insight into various software and platforms for managing and processing information.
Digital transformations do not come without risks. Specifically, increasing your organization’s reliance on digital technology increases the threat of cyberattack. Thus, you need to bring a security advisor onto your digital transformation team to ensure that the new systems and processes you employ will not create vulnerabilities that increase your chance of suffering a devastating attack or data leak. In truth, you should permanently dedicate some of your IT budget to specialized risk advisors and cybersecurity professionals, as your risk of cyberattack will continue to increase as your organization continues to digitally mature.
Regulatory bodies are cracking down on corporate data collection and use, to the extent that you should have a compliance specialist on your digital transformation team to ensure you do not breach any regulations and subject your organization to unnecessary fines and sanctions. What’s more, regulations associated with data are likely to continue to shift in the coming years, and having a compliance expert on staff to adapt your transformation strategy going forward could put you ahead of your less-prepared competition.
Any transformation-project should be led by an experienced and enthusiastic project manager who connects to company values and transformation goals. Project managers will assist with budgets, manage resources and monitor the progress of transformation activities, allowing the digital transformation team to stay on track even as projects require greater agility due to more rampant digital innovation and disruption.
Effective implementation of new tools and processes requires the knowledge and skill of an implementation specialist and their team. Often, implementation specialists do little more than install the new technology appropriately, though you might also hire process implementation specialists who are equipped with change management strategies to facilitate the adoption of processes associated with your digital transformation.
Many small and medium-sized businesses navigate digital transformations by outsourcing certain IT services to qualified business partners. Yet, working with various vendors can quickly become complicated, as you must remember which vendors are responsible for which services and require which payments when. A vendor manager is one of the most underrated members of your digital transformation team; not only will they keep better track of the vendors you currently work with, but they will also help identify new partners as the transformation progresses.
As a business leader, you have an important decision to make: transform or perish. Your business must engage in a digital transformation as soon as possible, and to ensure that your transformation is a success, you need the above professionals on your transformation team.