23 Strategies for Digital Transformation (Plus Definition)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published April 2, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Digital transformation is the process of incorporating technology into an organization's existing processes to improve productivity or achieve growth goals. Effective digital transformations can help employees respond to changing market forces and meet the needs of their customers. If you're involved in IT, management or leadership, understanding digital transformation strategies can help you implement technology across a wide range of business functions, including HR, customer service and fulfillment. In this article, we explain what digital transformation includes and provide 23 digital transformation strategies, including those for implementing a digital transformation, securing data and maintaining new processes.

Related: Technical Skills: Definitions and Examples

What does digital transformation include?

Because digital transformation integrates technology into an organization's existing functions, the process might have a wide range of components. Here are some common tasks involved in a digital transformation:

  • Launching an e-commerce service to increase digital sales

  • Transferring paper HR files to an HR management software platform

  • Designing a digital workspace for remote or hybrid employees

  • Condensing data services to a cloud server

  • Automating processes in manufacturing facilities

  • Using data analytics to measure customer service metrics

  • Creating an intranet or internal wiki for employee resources

  • Purchasing a custom logistics or supply chain management software program

  • Launching a series of online surveys to measure employee satisfaction

Related: What Is Digital Transformation?

23 strategies for digital transformation

Here are 23 strategies that might help during a digital transformation of an organization:

11 implementation strategies for digital transformation

Starting a digital transformation process for a company, government agency or nonprofit organization can be a long process, involving many departments. Here are 11 strategies for implementing digital transformation in an organization:

  1. Focus on business goals. Effective digital transformation strategies usually start by identifying the organization's key goals and choosing a technology that helps achieve them. Goals might include expanding to a different market, developing a new product line or meeting a financial target.

  2. Conduct industry research. By learning how other organizations in the industry have used certain tools, you can create a digital transformation plan that meets the organization's needs. Experts in your industry often publish technology guides or research papers on professional organizations' websites or in trade journals.

  3. Reflect on customer priorities. While some aspects of digital transformation, like implementing a new HR software, primarily benefit employees, other digital tools can improve customer experience with the product or service. Consider adding technological tools to customer-facing business functions, like website chat modules, online ordering or automated service surveys.

  4. Create a task force. To implement a digital transformation that spans multiple departments, an organization's leaders might select representatives from different teams to form a project management task force. This task force might also include IT professionals and other technology experts who can design solutions to meet the needs of each team.

  5. Set incremental targets. Team leaders whose departments are going through a digital transformation might set specific targets for their team as they adjust to new technological tools and processes, which can help employees adjust in stages. For example, a customer services team lead might set a goal for their team to upload all customer accounts to a new customer relationship management (CRM) platform by the end of the month.

  6. Begin with small projects. The digital transformation task force might focus on smaller, nonessential business functions to transform before moving to larger and more integral processes. Starting with smaller projects can help them develop a smooth transition process and identify any areas for improvement in the transformation.

  7. Carefully select vendors. Organizations might contract with third-party vendors to provide a range of technological tools, such as project management software, chat programs and digital phone systems. Vendors whose products match the organization's needs and goals can be resources during a digital transformation process.

  8. Consider company culture. Changing organizational procedures might affect the company culture, particularly if the digital transformation involves adding more remote employees. Consider holding town hall meetings to measure the effect of the new processes on current employees.

  9. Identify key tasks. Department managers and team leads can create a list of their teams' essential tasks, which can help the task force identify which technological tools to produce or buy. For example, an inventory team's tasks might encourage the task force to select a supply chain logistics program to automate some of their tasks.

  10. Use parallel testing. Parallel testing can show how effective digital tools are in employees' daily work. Consider giving one half of a team a new technological tool or process and measuring their performance against the other half, who are still using traditional methods.

  11. Use an integrated system. Integrated software systems allow employees to accomplish all of their key work tasks from a single platform, which can increase efficiency. For example, many CRM platforms integrate with calendar and chat applications, so customer-facing employees can manage their meetings, communicate with each other and log customer contacts in a single place.

Related: Steps To Implement a Business Transformation

5 security strategies for digital transformation

Security programs are often a key part of digital transformations for organizations because these tools ensure the safety of customer, vendor and employee data. Here are five security strategies to help an organization transition into a digital workspace:

  1. Use a VPN. VPNs, or virtual private networks, are technological tools that can protect user data for remote organizations. As digital transformations often increase an organization's mobility, a VPN is a valuable resource that can ensure all employees have safe access to organizational information.

  2. Consider cloud storage. Since a digital transformation often involves transferring an organization's information into a digital form, IT managers or other experts might research cloud storage options for sensitive data. Cloud storage can provide a higher level of security than a physical server and can also make data accessible to remote employees.

  3. Implement two-factor authentication. Two-factor authentication is a key process in IT security that requires users to submit multiple forms of identity to access certain resources. In a digital workspace, implementing this process can help protect sensitive data.

  4. Change passwords often. In a digital organization, regular password changes can help prevent security breaches by hackers and other security threats. Some platforms suggest password replacements that are more challenging to guess, ensuring data safety further.

  5. Consider ad-blocking technology. Ad-blocking technology can provide an additional level of security for employees as they browse the internet or use other digital resources. Some ad-blocking products offer a range of security services and integrate with other digital tools.

Related: Information Security vs. Cybersecurity: What Are the Differences?

7 maintenance strategies for digital transformation

Since business technology constantly changes, the digital transformation of an organization might be an ongoing process. Here are seven strategies to maintain new policies and improve performance:

  1. Review and refine. By scheduling quarterly or annual reviews of a department's digital assets, managers and directors can evaluate how much a specific technology has helped employees meet their goals. They can use this information to adjust or change the digital workspace for each team.

  2. Create a plan for scaling. As an organization grows, managers and directors might create a plan for scaling digital resources to ensure continued efficiency during the growth period. They might purchase additional servers or upgrade their software subscription models so they can easily onboard new employees and add new functions to their digital workspace.

  3. Maximize vendor relationships. If an organization uses a third-party vendor for certain digital tools, the organization's directors or managers can meet with vendor representatives to discuss product upgrades or additional features. These meetings can ensure the organization's employees get the full value of their digital tools.

  4. Perform SWOT analyses of processes. SWOT, which stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, is an assessment framework that allows teams to plan projects and measure their competitive position. Using this framework, teams can measure how well they use their current technological tools and propose adjustments.

  5. Adjust policies to encourage digital use. Changing key work policies can incentivize team members to use new digital tools, which can help them become more familiar with them. For example, an inventory manager might require warehouse associates to use a new supply chain management application to log deliveries, so each warehouse employee learns how to use the new software.

  6. Seek employee feedback. Teams that use new digital platforms for their work can provide useful information about the effectiveness of the organization's digital transformation. They can also suggest additional tools that might help them surpass their sales or service goals, increasing the organization's growth potential.

  7. Track KPIs digitally. KPIs, or key performance indicators, are metrics that show a business' or department's progress toward achieving growth goals. Many technological platforms allow managers and team leaders to monitor their team's performance and compare it to the organization's goals, information that can make employee reviews more productive.

Explore more articles