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The Business Transformation Steps Behind Digital Growth and Change

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Business transformation happens in steps. Business goals aren’t achieved in leaps but, rather, require strategic goals and planning that lead to successful business transformation. If you’re curious as to what makes a business transformation meaningful, read more about business transformation and why it matters.

But first, what exactly is business transformation? Business transformation involves making fundamental changes to a business’s operations.

Different Styles of Business Transformation

Within business transformation, you’ll find many different subtypes. It can
involve improving and expanding the sales and services offered, changing business models, implementing new digital technologies, realigning a company’s values and mission, and other aspects and changes aimed at different types of transformation.

Types of business transformation include:

  • Organizational transformation to restructure a company’s mode of operation and means of organizing
  • Management transformation to reshape management hierarchies and how employees are managed and led
  • Cultural transformation, which changes a company’s attitudes, values, and even its mission
  • Information systems transformation, which relates to digital transformation and the use of technology to enhance abilities and efficiency
  • Transformation business processes that aim to significantly enhance efficiency by replacing or getting rid of old processes in favor of new business processes

By looking closely at and providing examples of business transformation outlined in seven steps, you might begin to form your own business model and steps toward transformation. Laying this foundation is critical to achieve desired lasting change.

And if you’re curious about where you stand in terms of planning your own business transformation, the experts at Standley Systems can help you plan a transformation project, especially digital transformation, aimed at effective and lasting change.

Step 1: Setting Strategic Goals and Working Backward

Knowing a desired end result and actually achieving it are two different things. But even the “knowing” aspect takes some planning. Goals should be thought out and S.M.A.R.T., meaning:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time bound

S.M.A.R.T. goals are specific objectives that directly contribute to overarching business goals. Because business process transformation involves fundamental change, such change should be meaningful.

Therefore, goals should also stem from your company’s mission and vision. Business transformation strategy also closely aligns with transformation steps.

An unspecified goal or one that’s unmeasurable and doesn’t have a timeline makes for a difficult path forward. With a clear end result, working toward such goals helps define progress. Here’s an example.

Of the many types of business transformation, some involve changing a company’s core services and roles and other elements of business transformation.

For example, an office furniture retailer might sell its products directly through a brick-and-mortar warehouse. But there’s growing demand for distribution to non-local areas, and the retailer wants to build up its online sales infrastructure — that’s all the impetus needed to begin setting goals and building a transformation project.

This retailer’s S.M.A.R.T. goal could be to increase its online sales from 10 percent to 50 percent of its total business within two years, for example.

Step 2: Determining Stakeholders Behind a Goal

Successful business transformation should involve everyone. Key stakeholders can be broad and include:

  • Business leaders
  • Management
  • Employees
  • Customers

Change isn’t solely up to leaders, even if they’re the ones who get the ball rolling. Customer and employee feedback is essential for realizing the need for change to, in the example above, meet demand in a new market. Feedback can be used to make sure goals are realistic and achievable, while management and leaders shape the plan to meet those goals.

Step 3: Goal-Setting Sessions

Even with a defined S.M.A.R.T. goal, smaller goals and objectives will have to take shape. Employees know a company’s products and services best, so they’re integral to transformation efforts. Customers, meanwhile, can provide crucial feedback to ensure new products and services will be desirable. In the case of the furniture retailer, employees can:

  • Use their product knowledge to determine which products to feature
  • Provide input on selecting and using digital tools to manage online sales
  • Inform customers about the retailer’s growing online presence and ability to serve non-local markets

Business leaders and management can:

  • Breakdown sales goals and transformation efforts into smaller time frames, such as quarterly and monthly goals
  • Select digital tools needed to manage increased online sales and digital capabilities based on employee feedback and preferences
  • Look at employee skill-sets to determine who can be tasked with managing online sales, communication, and other new tasks resulting from growth

As plans take shape and business goals become refined, be careful not to put up silos.

Silos occur when departments or teams operate independently and don’t share project insights and tasks. In the case of business process transformation, silos can be prevented by involving everyone — leaders, management, employees — throughout the transformation project. This way everyone’s included and aware of changes.

Step 4: Setting Performance Benchmarks

Determining measurements and performance benchmarks will vary across companies and business goals. But taking the time to make such determinations enables key success markers.

For the furniture retailer expanding its online market, benchmarks include:

  • Aligning business transformation and digital transformation, meaning that digital technologies are implemented to carry out the broader goals
  • Seeing defined increased traffic to a website or online sales portal
  • Setting outreach goals to inform customers and potential new clients about expanded sales and online distribution
  • Tracking sales over a defined time to indicate increased online activity
  • Shifting a percentage of existing clients toward using an online sales platform

Each of these benchmarks has easily defined metrics that can be used to quantify benchmarks and indicate completed objectives and business goals.

Step 5: Go! Launching Transformation Efforts

While planning and goal setting may be the first steps of successful business transformation, initiating tangible steps is always exciting. In cases where digital transformation and business transformation overlap, as with the hypothetical furniture retailer, the first step may involve successfully deciding on and installing a CRM or similar digital platform to help manage goals and online sales.

Even a first step is still a long way from fully realizing transformation efforts, but it can’t be emphasized enough that the right foundation and business strategy must be in place for these further goals to become reality.

Step 6: Troubleshooting Business Processes

Problems will happen. It’s inevitable. Unlocking the potential behind a plan, however, means overcoming problems. Doing so necessitates flexibility. Expanding a furniture retailer’s online presence might require a larger marketing plan than expected to get the word our. Or, perhaps online demand was growing but was still over-anticipated.

Rather than establishing new S.M.A.R.T. goals and plans, look at how existing goals and benchmarks can be modified. Successful business transformation can happen, it could just take longer than was expected. In many cases, digital transformation challenges can be overcome by making sure that skills and knowledge are in place beforehand to manage digital tools and leverage data and capabilities.

Step 7: Reassess, Monitor, and Move Ahead

After clearing hurdles, be prepared for more challenges ahead. Fundamental change to achieve the desired outcome means reshaping business models. For any business, such disruption takes time, effort, and re-thinking. Your S.M.A.R.T. goals and other objectives can guide your path forward, but be flexible enough to change strategic goals when necessary.

Step 7 truly never ends; you’ll have to constantly monitor and reassess progress, even when goals are met. But think about the competitive advantage denied to companies that are stagnant. Successful business transformation isn’t easy, but for many companies, it’s essential.

Need Help Creating Your Business Transformation Steps? Call Standley Systems

Standley knows how to get companies started on the path toward successful digital transformation. If you’re in the middle of your transformation project and things aren’t working out, Standley can help advise on next steps and re-strategizing. Since so many types of transformation efforts involve technology, our team can help make sure you have the right tools in place for your goals.

Contact Standley Systems’ team of experts to learn more about the services we provide and how we can support your business transformation steps.

Kali Mogg

Written by Kali Mogg

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