Digital transformation is a business issue and not a technology issue

Without a doubt the global pandemic has reshaped the way stakeholders perceive the world. To become a future-savvy business leader, there is a need to tap into the new opportunities that will boost business growth and fully respond to customers’ ever-evolving needs.

One obvious step that business leaders are considering is digital transformation. According to McKinsey, 90% of C-level and senior leaders said their firms have pursued at least one large-scale digital transformation in the past two years, and 44% of top economic performers also pointed out that digital solutions will play a role in achieving aspirations in the next two years.

It is clear to see how digital solutions are playing a more critical role when business leaders are formulating the future business strategies, but does it mean the CTOs and the IT department need to be the only key driver to embrace the digital transformation journey?

Nowadays, the term digital transformation is synonymous with tech teams tasked with implementing newer technology to help drive efficiencies across a business. However, the fact digital transformation involves investing in technology infrastructure, does not mean it’s a technology issue. And, when the company is enjoying robust financial growth from the advanced technologies, it also proves a corelation between tech and business growth.

For many businesses, too often their gains are negated by failing to communicate with their employees—the most impacted by digital transformation. As such, the question of “why transform” is a consideration that goes beyond just convincing the C-suite decision makers.

The myth of business transformation

Digital transformation is always a business issue. In 2026, companies in Asia-Pacific (APAC) region are expected to grow their ICT spending by over 3.8% in 2022 and reach $1.4 trillion by 2026 with a compounded CAGR of 5.2% based on the prediction from IDC.

Although we can expect businesses to transform operations digitally, there are business leaders who perceive digital transformation as a technical constraint and not ready for the changes that may involve high-end tech solutions and heavy investments to build up the digital infrastructure. With this change-resist mindset, leaders will be trapped in their comfort zone and resist making any steps that may help the firm best fit into the ever-changing era.

This could also put the firm in a dangerous position that limits the digital opportunities and the way to improve the operational model. Firms will suffer in areas such as productivity, which ultimately impacts the bottom line if business leaders don’t address and recognise the issue.

Ready to embark on the digital transformation journey

To ensure the business is digitally agile, it’s critical for business leaders to change their mindset by understanding the key benefits that a robust digital transformation strategy can bring to the company. With this in mind, digital transformation can be a key business driving factor and it offers a range of benefits to the company both internally and externally.

  1. Enhance business agility – Highly scalable digital infrastructure is needed to ensure the business is future-ready to tackle the ever-expanding business needs that are unforecasted.
  2. Increase workplace efficiency and employee satisfaction – With cloud-native digital solutions powered by AI and machine learning, it helps reduce the unmanageable routine tasks that the teams need to deal with every day and allows employees to focus on high-end tasks and solve problems in innovative ways.
  3. Accommodate higher customer expectations – Customer segmentations are often ambiguous and fragmented which creates difficulties for marketers to meet their ever-evolving needs. Thanks to advanced digital solutions, business leaders can consolidate real-time business insights from intelligent platforms that will help them make accurate and more timely business decisions.

Other benefits of digital transformation include increased levels of empowerment and self-resilience across teams and more willingness across teams to take risks and innovate without the fear of retribution if things don’t go quite right – rather, dust off and go again.

If a business has neglected to communicate to stakeholders and articulate “what’s in it for them”, why wouldn’t they see digital transformation as “just another IT Project?.” “What’s in it for me” is a fundamental questioning aspect of human nature. And, if the time is not invested into answering this question with the needs of a specific audience in mind, the people in the firm will neither be professionally nor emotionally invested in any digital journey.

Adopt a worry-free digital transformation strategy

For all business leaders, the first step of digital transformation is never easy as it involves too many uncertain factors that may impact the business. Now, digital transformation is no longer a technical issue anymore and business leaders can focus to pave their business blueprint with the cutting-edge digital strategies, unlocking real business value by transforming the people, processes, and tech that you will be needed to drive your business.

Andrew Venables is the Director of Strategic Alliances, APAC at Contino.