10 steps to a successful digital transformation

Claudia Westenhoff

Digital transformation has been an important topic in organizations for years. The use of digital technologies is becoming increasingly important in transformation strategy and daily tasks. However, finding these digital transformation solutions, and technology strategies is often difficult. Digital transformations often fail. But why? How does an organization succeed in becoming more digitized? In this article, you will learn how to successfully implement digital solutions in an organization.

What is digital transformation?

Digital transformation refers to the integration of digital technologies into all aspects of business and daily life. Digital transformation includes the automation of operations, the digitisation of information and the implementation of technology to improve the efficiency and quality of products and services.

Digital transformation in an organization

Digital transformation in organizations comprises two dimensions. One is the digitalisation of business processes, the other dimension is the digitalisation of business models. The difference here is that the digitisation of business processes is accompanied by higher efficiency and productivity, as well as a reduction in costs and an improvement in performance. The digitalisation of business models, on the other hand, focuses on the optimisation of existing products and the development of new products and services.

Digital transformation is not a change process with a clear end. Rather, it is a flexible and powerful positioning of the organization to offer a quick response and interaction to new technology and to be able to adapt to constant change as quickly as possible. Many companies see a digital transformation as an enormous challenge with a high potential for failure.
In this article, we will show you the main reasons why digitalisation approaches fail and how you can successfully implement your transformation with the help of the following steps!

Why does digitalisation fail so often in companies?

  • Established patterns, ways of thinking and approaches are not questioned, no new procedures or change
  • Lack of an approach to structuring and implementing activities
  • The belief that digitalisation is incidental and can be done without much effort
  • Lack of willingness to invest in the team, technology or business model

10 Tips to make digitalisation a success in your company

1. Bring digitalisation to the management level

Digital transformation is extremely relevant and therefore falls within the remit of employees in leadership positions. It is about bringing new technology approaches to all employees and thus using digitalisation to the benefit of the organization.

This is not about the knowledge in all aspects or technological steps, but rather about the decision to use a new digital structure in the company, which should be passed on to your employees and the entire organization.

2. Appoint digital representatives

Place employees from as many areas and hierarchies as possible in a digital team. Pay attention to whether there are so-called "digital natives", i.e. young employees who have grown up with digital technologies, in the organization and integrate their knowledge. If necessary, they can act as "digital buddies" by assigning a "digital native" to an employee who does not yet have the necessary knowledge. This provides internal training opportunities and also a good team structure. In corporate groups, those responsible for digital are called Chief Digital Officers (CDOs).

Make sure you have comprehensive resources. The digital team should have enough time, space and financial resources to have room for testing.

3. Develop a digital strategy

Conduct a comprehensive analysis of the individual areas of the organization with the responsible team. A digital strategy can then be developed and adapted in order to digitally adapt the individual areas. It is important to also include areas that have already undergone a partial digital transformation in order to optimize and adapt them if necessary. The digital strategy can include individual processes or departments, such as the HR department or marketing. However, based on the current digital state, entire business models can also be adapted to digital change to achieve the maximum added value for your digital transformation.

4. Make the customer the centre of your business

Customers are the backbone of any business, and their satisfaction should always be a top priority. Make sure that customers and partners have the right place within the organization. When developing the digital concept, pay attention to the demands and expectations that customers have towards your company and align them accordingly. During any transformation, it's essential to keep the customer experience in mind, as they are the ones who will ultimately determine the success of the change. By involving the customer in the transformation process, businesses can ensure that the changes made will address their needs and desires. This is an important success factor for your company.

5. Rely on your employees

The digitalisation measures will transform your organization in many ways. This will also involve technology changes in the area of human resources. These should be communicated to the employees in a targeted manner in order to adapt requirement profiles and, if necessary, to tackle further training. The investment should therefore flow into the appropriate training of employees. Therefore, make sure that your employees are appropriately qualified and if this is not available, invest in it. When hiring new staff, you should also pay attention to digital skills of the applicants, which complement the digital transformation of your company.

Assign smaller milestones internally that work towards the big goal. In this way, you can assign employees various smaller tasks that they can complete alongside their day-to-day business and achieve significant progress overall. The advantage here is that your team becomes directly familiar with the new procedures, slowly leading to bigger change.

6. Network with start-ups

Start-ups are characterized by a new, fresh business policy and are constantly developing, especially by using newer technology. It may be that some of these digital technologies are a perfect fit for your business model.

Form partnerships with start-ups, IT companies or consultancies. These collaborations often contribute to change with the development of new products, services, or business processes.

7. Use your data

Use the data that is available to your company. By using big data technologies, you can significantly improve your product and service quality and innovate ahead of competitors by using commercially meaningful information. This influences the customer experience and the overall customer success.

Secure your company's data sufficiently. You should get IT experts on board for this technology.

8. Use the latest technologies

The use of various technologies and software helps you to handle business processes more efficiently, faster and often more cost-effectively. It therefore makes perfect sense to equip yourself with the fastest possible internet within your company as well as to incorporate digital document capture, processing and storage. This offers you a great opportunity to be one step ahead of your competitors in digital transformation.

Use cloud computing! IT services are provided in real time as a service via the internet or within your company's intranet. Since the software is only billed according to use, the advantage for you is: You only pay for what you actually use.

9. Design a digital business model

A digitalised business model is expressed through increased productivity and adaptation to digital forms, such as the use of virtual working methods, data use of the cloud or the generation of data and information through the use of Big Data technologies. When restructuring in this way, you should take into account the security of your data. Here you can work out a security protocol in cooperation with IT experts.

10. Stay open to new things

Due to ever-expanding and new technologies, competitors for your business can come from a wide variety of sectors and fields of work. Many internet-based companies are tapping into traditional industries due to expanded digital technology and are increasingly seen as significant competitors.

Use the possibilities of digitalisation and also expand your business processes, e.g. with a detailed competition analysis, in order to recognise competition at an early stage.


The digital transformation has fundamentally changed our society in many areas. Companies and organizations will continue to be exposed to digital change in the future and must act in a correspondingly adaptable manner. Whether new digital operations in the management of customers, product optimisation, big data management or simply the use of digital sick notes in HR management, there is much to digitize in the future. Digital transformation is the future and we are excited to see where this journey will take us.

Do you also want to make your company digital?

With the help of these tips and the right project start, you will succeed in your digital transformation. Download the checklist for a successful start to your digital project now!

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