6 top tips to get ahead of the curve with digital transformation

In the digital age, companies need to be prepared for change. Digital change is not just the adoption of new technology. Change involves people and teams, practices and processes, values, and ethos. Recent research by the World Economic Forum found that 87% of companies said digital will disrupt their industry, but only half said they’re prepared.

According to the Sloan Management Review, only 7% of companies are led by digitally competent teams, which is a big contributor to why around 90% of digital transformations - designed to improve efficiency - end up in failure according to IEEE Engineering Management Review.

Read our 6 top tips to get ahead of the curve with digital transformation

Read our 6 top tips to get ahead of the curve with digital transformation

Preparation is a fundamental pre-requisite for success. Professor Andrew Callaghan, Strategy and Digital Transformation, Nottingham University Business School and Lee Fulmer, Chief Data Officer, UBS (Course Leaders, Championing Digital Transformation programme) share six top tips to help you along the digital journey.


1. Successful digital change starts with the right approach to strategy

All too often we see a collection of loose statements or tactics badged as strategy. How many times have you seen templates completed that bear little relevance to your company’s reality? Successful strategies are dependent on a cohesive story that can be bought into by both senior leadership and the entire workforce alike.

In a digital world, strategy can no longer be kept separate from technology. Synthesising both can be a real ‘art’ demanding a mix of skillsets to navigate the grey area between classical thinking and what could work in reality.


2. Data is the new currency

Most cost savings, efficiency improvements or new digital products and services are derived from accessing, understanding and using insight better. Put the emphasis on data and learn to embrace advanced analytics and AI.

3. Joined-up thinking

Break traditional silo thinking. End-to-end integration of business functions, from product development, purchasing and manufacturing to logistics and service is necessary to realise the benefits that can be gained from digital adoption.

Work towards all data being available in real-time, supported by augmented reality and optimised within an integrated network. The traditional IT view isn’t sufficient anymore, today employees need to think digitally.

4. Culture Change

A clear strategy is needed from the top of the organisation combined with a grass roots network of empowered staff to truly effect change. A vision without support inevitably ends up being ‘forced down’ and is doomed to failure.

The same can be said for a grass roots movement without management support. Creating a network of change agents to help accelerate your culture change is an important ingredient for success.

5. Upskilling

The true cost of talent acquisition is often under-estimated by senior management, so too is the impact of attrition on the efficacy of their business. Given the pace of change, it’s far more effective to establish internal training and mobility opportunities to improve staff morale as well as retain your institutional knowledge.

Establishing digital skills programmes can also help to address attrition and provide much needed career development opportunities for staff.

6. Empowerment

True digital acceleration comes from democratising access to tools and data. Put the capability to execute into the hands of the people with the expertise to reduce friction within your business.This will increase capacity without increasing headcount or cost.

Learning how to optimise processes, while reducing unnecessary bureaucracy, is key to empowering staff to drive your digital transformation.

If you’re preparing for digital change and want to know more about empowering your team for success, Nottingham University Business School has brought together a team of world leading experts to share their experiences with you.

While technology has turned everything ‘digital’ over the last 20 years, the focus has been moving ‘work’ from physical paper to electronic files, rather than improving the customer experience or internal processes.

With this programme, not only will you learn the foundations of how to redesign your business to embrace digital disruption, you’ll learn from industry experts who’ve done it before in leading companies.

Find out more about our Championing Digital Transformation programme starting in late-spring 2023.