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The Digital Transformation Journey: What It Is and How to Get It Right

Digital transformation is an ongoing journey crucial for businesses to stay competitive in today's market. Successful transformation requires leadership buy-in, the right technology, and a strategic focus on agility and resiliency.
David De Rego | June 30, 2024

The Digital Transformation Journey: What It Is and How to Get It Right


Businesses worldwide and in every industry recognize the need to smartly deploy and leverage technology to compete in today’s dynamic marketplace. Much has been written and said about this concept of digital transformation over the years, but the fundamental importance of adopting the right technology for your organization has never been more relevant. And the experiences of hundreds of thousands of businesses around the world have taught us many things, the most important being to view digital transformation as a journey—not a single event.

According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), worldwide spending on digital transformation is expected to reach almost $4 trillion by 2027. But, even as awareness of and budgets for digital transformation increase, confusion remains about how to get it right.

So, for clarity, today I’ll address both what digital transformation is and how to get it right.

What Digital Transformation Is (and Is Not)

Varying definitions of “digital transformation” abound. Wikipedia defines it as the “adoption of digital technology by an organization.” Gartner considers it to be “anything from IT modernization (for example, cloud computing), to digital optimization, to the invention of new digital business models.” And Tech Target says it is “the incorporation of computer-based technologies into an organization’s products, processes and strategies.”

These definitions aren’t wrong. They’re just incomplete. While it’s true that adopting modern technology—such as cloud ERP solutions—to replace manual, analog processes and systems is critical to becoming a digitized and connected business, an essential component is missing: the organizational and cultural mindset and processes to achieve this change. This broad and impactful transformation means more than just implementing new technology. It also requires a significant investment in helping the organization to evolve and make the necessary changes in roles and responsibilities to support transformation. An organization’s leadership team and employees must be technically, culturally, and intellectually prepared to truly leverage newly adopted technology. If they aren’t, then the once promising technology just becomes a useless expense.

This takes organizational planning, communications, and alignment. Getting companywide commitment for a digital transformation strategy is a multilevel process. Businesses must first gain leadership support for the vision and proposed changes. The company’s executive team is responsible for approving all projects and sets the overall tone for the organization. Enthusiastic leadership support for, and clear communications about, the digital transformation journey will help employees to not only understand but also embrace new technologies, processes, and system changes. It will also encourage them to offer valuable input about how this transformation should proceed and evolve over time.

For any business, this level of technical and organizational transformation is complex and requires wide-ranging support. It also requires dedicated and persistent effort. In other words, digital transformation is more than a one-time process with a defined endpoint. Instead, it’s an ongoing journey that will continue to evolve alongside fluctuating external circumstances and organizational needs.

External circumstances and events can impact the timing and pace of digital transformation. We all know the impact the global pandemic had in accelerating digital transformation by forcing many businesses to convert their workforces from onsite to remote quickly. This revealed the fragility of many companies in the face of unexpected crises and underscored the value of technology in helping them to adjust and adapt to changing circumstances.

How to Get Digital Transformation Right

Understanding what you want and need digital transformation to accomplish is the first phase of the digital transformation journey. The next phase involves breaking down this vision into individual components and focusing first on the core foundational elements to help your organization manage and adapt to future changes.

For an organization to succeed now and into the future, it must have business management technology that is agile, flexible, and promotes organizational collaboration and employee empowerment. These core attributes can be found in a cloud-based ERP solution. But before making an ERP investment, the entire organization must understand and incorporate a clear digital transformation adoption plan.

Research and Evaluation: Once organizational support is secured, it’s time to begin the ERP research and ERP evaluation process. Businesses must carefully weigh the pros and cons of competing solutions—appraising their costs, usability, functionality, and underlying technology.

Two things can simplify the in-depth assessment of each solution: a business management system evaluation checklist and a list of essential questions. These questions may include:

  • Is this ERP system a true cloud solution? (e.g., Was it built for the cloud from its inception, or has it been retrofitted after the fact?)
  • Does it rest on an open and flexible platform with built-in mobility and low-code/no-code customization capabilities?
  • Does it allow an organization to fully integrate with other systems, equipment, resources, software, etc.?
  • Does it allow for remote collaboration?
  • Is it a flexible solution that helps organizations grow affordably and flex with unexpected events?

The answer to each of these questions must be “yes”. However, it’s also critical that the ERP vendor is a proven partner who is trustworthy and committed to your transformation journey. Simply put, you want a partner, not a predator focused solely on profit.

Managing Change with Agility and Resiliency: Once you’ve settled on the right vendor and implementation partner, it’s important to work together to create strategies that focus on agility and resiliency.

Implementing the right cloud ERP solution provides insight, allowing businesses to prepare for—and respond to—any situation that arises, rather than reacting after the fact. This proactive behavior is the exact opposite of what stagnant businesses relying on disconnected, legacy solutions do. Acumatica CEO John Case describes such agility as a “core competency and a state of mind.” He also says that being an agile business is “fast becoming a requirement for success in uncertain times,” listing the top three things an agile business does.

  1. It welcomes change and pursues opportunities.
  2. It adopts new technology.
  3. It changes the work environment to retain talent.

Agility requires businesses to let go of traditional models and adopt new, exciting strategies to help them overcome unexpected challenges.

Where to Go from Here

The success of your digital transformation journey requires a long-term commitment. Each goal met is a stepping stone to the next goal—and the next. But businesses must also understand that their goals can only be met with the right combination of technology, people, and processes.

At Acumatica, we pride ourselves on being a trustworthy partner, walking alongside each customer throughout the digital transformation journey. In fact, our Customer Bill of Rights—the only bill of rights in the ERP space—assures customers that their needs are our top priority.

These include the right to:

  1. A software and services proposal with clear fee structures, and no surprises.
  2. Unlimited user access without having to purchase user licenses.
  3. Fully adapt and customize the solution to meet your evolving business requirements.
  4. Transparent, fair pricing and agreements without long-term commitments.
  5. Deploy the solution on a public or private cloud.
  6. An open platform with robust APIs to rapidly integrate your other systems.
  7. A complete security model that covers your application access, data, reports, and devices.
  8. Own and access your data, now and always—in full, usable data formats.
  9. Take advantage of all knowledge and resources developed across a broad community of employees, partners, and customers.
  10. Professional online training that is free and comprehensive.

For businesses just starting, or already in the thick of, their digital transformation journeys, Acumatica, our Value Added Resellers (VARs), and our award-winning cloud ERP software can help make the way smooth and successful. To learn more, contact our experts with any questions or to schedule a demonstration.

More About Acumatica Cloud ERP Here

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VP of Product Marketing, Acumatica
Categories: ERP Blogs, Uncategorized
Categories: ERP Blogs, Uncategorized

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