According to statistics of IDG's State of Digital Business Transformation, 89% of companies have implemented or intend to implement a digital-first approach in 2018, Big data/analytics, web, cloud, and APIs / embeddable are the main technologies driving digital transitions in modern-day businesses.

Non-IT businesses are gradually restructuring their goods and services around digital capabilities brought on by emerging technologies. In order to succeed in the current digital reality, businesses have to experience a cultural transition and adjust agile workflows. Besides, digital transformation involves a lot of decision-making at the tactical level in a rapidly evolving market. Some of the organization's most important people for an effective digital transformation are project managers.

What Is Digital Transformation?

If you've been looking through project manager job listings at some point in the last few years, you may have seen the role of a PM for digital transformation. "Many organizations have plans for digital transformation and the word" digital transformation "is used in many different contexts, often with" digitization "or" cloudification "also being used interchangeably. Let's unpack this term to see what the various definitions are behind it.

Digital Transformation with focus on "Digital"

A few decades ago, digital transformation was essentially digitizing analog processes within businesses. Computers became a mainstream tool for carrying out work in the office during that period. This meant that opportunities emerged in many areas such as internal communication, data storage, contract management, etc. to make efficiency gains.

As technologies are continuously evolving, this type of digital transformation is still important today, and we see changes being made even in digital companies, such as teams switching from email-based communication to platforms such as Slack or Google Docs collaborative document editing. This, however, is a narrow understanding of the term digital transformation in today's terms, in which synonyms such as "digitization" and "cloudification" make sense.

Digital Transformation with focus on “Transformation”
  • To structure goods and services around digital capabilities is a more complex type of digital transformation.
  • Introducing the production of software to upgrade current products or services.
  • Redesigning the sales platforms according to the actions of online consumers.
  • Capture and use the information to produce analytics that is internal or customer-facing.

Becoming digital enables and requires a business to respond more to consumer needs, to collect customer feedback more proactively, and to react more to changing market conditions. Digital Transformation at the level of Project Manager One might get the impression that digital transformation is something that occurs with no real decision-making authority for other people in the company at the board or executive levels. Project managers, in particular, play a critical role during a digital transition that could not be further from reality.

In a digital transformation, the vision is articulated by top management, but its execution lies with the organization's "executive muscle," that is, the project managers.

Digital Transformation Challenges

Every organization is different and will face numerous challenges. We give the most important ones here, which are likely to impact most businesses to some degree.

The needs of consumers are forgotten. Companies typically operate in siloed divisions where each of them is accountable for a specific role within the organization. In such a setup, the risk is that the needs of the consumers are prioritized only at the highest levels of decision making.

Scarce client reviews. If customer needs are not prioritized, then possibly input from them is also not sought or adequately collected as it occurs, stemming from the previous argument. This makes it much harder to figure out how, particularly when you want to restructure it around digital capabilities, to enhance the product or service.

Not considering data in decision-making. It is much easier to collect and analyze data while you are designing custom applications. Many businesses have financial details, but not a lot of information on consumption. This contributes to choices that are taken on the basis of a gut feeling. To have this information ready, the use of data to help one 's decisions requires a different attitude and a new set of internal skills.

Spreading Agile Principles

Changing the company's culture is an important aspect of being digital. Agile is the most common digital project delivery technique at present, and will eventually become a core component of any digital transformation. It doesn't matter if Scrum, Kanban, or any of the scaled Agile frameworks are used for your company. Both of them stick to the Agile Manifesto principles outlined. An effective PM should be able to convey Agile 's values to their team as well as to peers from other areas of the company. You should be able to question the old working modes and involve stakeholders in finding out how to make the internal operations more agile.

Legacy Processes

First of all, behaviors do not change easily and very pragmatically, and people, in general, do not want to change the way they are used to working. Even if you have some senior leadership comment that the whole business needs to become more agile, it would not be prudent to force anyone. You are likely to face criticism and enter into disputes with your peers.

Secondly, on the basis of Agile concepts, not all teams can work entirely or at all. Agile is not a magic bullet, and in non-IT businesses, this is much more evident. There are varying levels of accountability and risk for various departments, and not all of them will act as software teams might. It can be much more expensive and more difficult to scale back mistakes for the legal or finance departments than a flaw in a client-facing network.

Create Feedback Loops to collaborate with Clients

Take a closer look at how the business now deals with customers. And then check what consumer visibility you have on your own. Is it just the support of consumers who speak to users? Or simply salespeople who work with decision-makers? Or, at the beginning and at the end of the project, do you mainly communicate with clients as a project manager?

Rethink User Interactions

For your business to connect with customers, Digital opens up new avenues. The most significant aspect is that when they like, consumers can access your product or service and be able to accomplish any target almost instantly. Customers wait for a lot of typical interactions: email response from customer service, account setup from an account manager, etc. In summary, Digital transformation is not just the digitization of current systems or cloudification. It needs to be restructured around the current digital capabilities of the goods and services.

During a digital transition, project managers are some of the most important individuals because it needs both a cultural change and the ability to adjust to shifting consumer conditions and emerging technology. To deliver their project, successful PMs can use Agile frameworks and distribute Agile values to other teams and departments. Changing business dynamics and the ability to deploy operating software would also enable the PM to build customer feedback loops.

Finally, reframing user experiences would allow the business to stay successful by producing immediate user results.