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When we think of ‘forced digital transformation,’ the topic on the tip of everyone’s tongue is Covid-19 and the surrounding panic. In reality, companies often go through spurts to implement necessary technology, and then integrate it more seamlessly later. Suppose a business doesn’t already have processes and technology in place. In that case any stressor can come along and force a reactive plan for implementation, as opposed to a well thought through strategy.  

So, what do you do if your company has experienced this type of hiccup? Perhaps you have multiple repositories going at once, making it hard for end users to know where their information is. Or maybe your teams have created processes that work for them in the moment, but given time, prove to be inefficient and cumbersome. The next steps center around taking what you learned and using that to your advantage.  

Poll Your Team Members 

There is debate over whether digital transformation, be it planned or reactive, should be done by a specific team, or thought of as a shared duty for all teams. If you had a sudden expansion or implementation, chances are that everyone has an opinion on how it went. Since you are going on to create a solution for most of the workforce, it’s important to get their feedback.  

Not only does asking for feedback give you insight into what all the players on the team are experiencing, but it makes them feel heard, and they are more likely to buy in and support transformation initiatives in the future.  

Companies like Lego have implemented tools to capture team members’ ideas and comments, making it easier for the CDO (Chief Digital Officer) or similar managers to wade through the sea of comments. Implementing something similar for your internal teams can allow a constant flow of communication to open up. Commentary can come in seamlessly whenever an issue is found, instead of a yearly update on systems or processes.  

Connect All the Existing Pieces 

The number one issue with sudden, unplanned digital transformation is the creation of disparate systems and processes that don’t talk to each other. Cleaning that up afterward can be time consuming and monotonous. There are two main solutions, either leave the information where it is and connect it or migrate information into one source, forgoing the use of the other systems going forward.  

Most likely, some of what you created during the sudden transformation stage is helpful to your organization and shouldn’t be thrown out with the bathwater. But if it’s hard to find, or if certain teams don’t even know that the data/process exists, it’s not doing you any good. Here at Intellective, we suggest connecting the processes and content you’ve already created, keeping what works, and getting rid of redundancies. Platforms like Unity by Intellective allow you to access all of the documents and data from multiple sources and use them from within one, centralized platform. This means multiple teams can access all of the same data, without having to search for it. Adding in extended data governance and you can see what documents are being used and when.  

Set Precedence Going Forward 

A reactive decision has one very obvious silver lining. It allows us to see how we made quick decisions as an organization, and if that method of decision making worked. Review what actions your team made and decide if that process is something you’d like to continue in the future. If you don’t already have a process for onboarding new technology and processes, now is the time to make one. As Andrew Schurr stated in our latest post  “there will always be  change…there will always be disruptive events.” 

How do you set precedence if you don’t already have one? Decide how safe you want to play it. Often time digital disruptors follow a ‘fail fast, fail often’ approach, but this can be costly in the long run. Decide the hierarchy your company will follow for change, and if it will lean more to unguided experimentation, or if as a whole, you will lean more toward cautious implementation. Can each team implement what tool they need during a crisis? Or will they require approval from an executive? Or perhaps there is a conditional okay for any team? Perhaps any team can use a new tool if it integrates with our current CRM system.  

Laying out what can and cannot be done now, will save you clean up later when the next inevitable disruptive event comes along.  

In Conclusion

After a monumental change in an industry, it can feel like your company is moving autonomously within itself, with each part not talking to each other just as a means to survive. While this growth spurt method is not ideal, it does allow for introspection and problem solving afterward. By taking the good from the situation and setting precedence going forward, you can save your business and team members from growing pains, and your company may come out working even more efficiently than it did before!  

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