Enterprise executives must balance many competing demands to guide their companies forward. The past year has introduced a new set of demands to many businesses — everyone now needs to be able to work effectively while complying with social distancing rules, if they haven’t entirely shifted to remote work.

Some companies were well-prepared for this shift. However, if your company was behind the technological curve when 2020 started, the past few months have undoubtedly given you massive headaches.

One thing we’ve all learned this year is that the right technology matters. It’s true whether you’re trying to work from home or manage a company with thousands of employees and customers, multiple locations, and a range of different products and services.

If you can’t adapt and improve, you’ll be left behind by nimbler competitors. But if you take the wrong approach, you might set your company back further by choosing the wrong systems.

If you’re playing catch-up with your enterprise technology, you’ll always be behind the curve. But if you enter the upgrading process with an eye towards comprehensive solutions that deliver long-term improvements, you and your company will be much more effective the next time you have to overcome an unexpected crisis.

Transforming your enterprise with technology

“Enterprise digital transformation” is a mouthful of a phrase, but its meaning is simple: it’s the process of integrating modern technology into all aspects of large businesses, in ways that improve efficiency, delight customers, and simply make things work better all around.

By connecting everything they do with modern hardware and software, enterprises should be able to get more done for less time and money. employees can focus more on creating great customer experiences instead of dealing with back-office paperwork and other mundane administrative details.

Want to make sure you’re entering the process of enterprise digital transformation with the right mindset, and applying it in the right ways to the right parts of your company? Here are our top tips to make sure your enterprise digital transformation process is a success:

1. Review your operations + identify opportunities

The easiest way to find out if your company needs a digital transformation is to get down to ground level and understand how things are working (or not working) day-to-day.

Ground-level reviews might involve talking to or surveying frontline employees and customers, going through your company’s sales process as a customer, or even spending time as an “undercover boss.”

We’ve helped many enterprise-scale corporations adopt and adapt to new technology. One common theme in our most successful collaborations is that they have leaders who truly understand the challenges felt by their employees and customers. After all, if you don’t know what’s happening downstairs, how can you make the right changes?

If something frustrates you when you pretend to be a customer, you can be sure it’ll frustrate potential buyers. If you’re struggling to adapt to a more remote workday, your employees are probably tearing their hair out over the same problems.

Remember, digital transformation isn’t just about adopting new technology. It’s about integrating the right technology into your company. Finding these points of failure will show you where to focus first.

2. Look at the big picture + anticipate challenges

Now that you’ve zoomed in to find day-to-day problems, you can step back to understand how those problems impact your entire enterprise.

Are frustrated buyers abandoning their orders because your eCommerce setup is full of flaws? Are your employees spending so much time tracking metrics and filing TPS reports they can’t focus on their core responsibilities? Are your company’s remote meetings lackluster because no one bothered to set up a proper videoconferencing system before COVID? All of these things might be true, or you might have different problems altogether —but problems rarely exist in isolation.

Odds are, shortcomings in one system are creating cascades of failure that fall onto other areas of the company. After identifying your company’s main points of digital failure, you can map out the ways these failure points affect everything else. This way, you won’t be putting band-aids onto things that might need major surgery.

Enterprise digital transformation is comprehensive. Understanding how one weakness creates others allows you to apply the right technological solutions to strengthen your entire company.

For example, if your customer ordering process is a pain, changing your ordering system alone will probably cause headaches for employees, especially if they can’t easily use their current software with your new front-end. The “big picture” solution might mean solving the problem with a complete customer relationship management system, rather than a standalone eCommerce ordering platform.

If you can deploy technology that anticipates challenges before they crop up, you’ll be in a much better place at the end of your transformation.

3. Assess your options + compare potential solutions

Now that you understand what’s wrong, and how making things “right” might impact your company, you can start looking for technology to improve your operations.

If we’re being completely honest, this part of the enterprise digital transformation process tends to be the most complex and frustrating for executives. There’s software that claims to do everything for your company, software that promises to do one narrowly-focused thing really well, and a ton of software in the middle of that range.

You also need to consider the hardware requirements your business might need. Your choice of computers, machinery, devices, and other physical pieces of technology are (in most cases) every bit as important as the software you use to operate them. A marketing company might not need more than a few new laptops, but a trucking company or manufacturer that depends on complex hardware simply can’t afford to install the wrong stuff.

4. Get everyone onboard + prepare your team

You can’t drop new tech on your team without warning and expect everything to work out. You’ve already asked about their issues, and now that you’ve decided on a path forward, it’s time to let everyone know how you’ll address those issues.

You might not be able to train everyone on your new tech before it’s put in place, but you can prepare them for it.

Technology onboarding and training plans can bring everyone up to speed on the tools they’ll be using in the future. You can (and should) designate certain people in your company as training leaders and in-house experts, and give them as much access to the new systems as you can so they can prepare great lessons ahead of time.

You might even need to hire new employees or retain a tech training firm, but a little education will save you and your team enormous amounts of troubleshooting down the road.

Ready to transform your enterprise with modern technology? RTS Labs is here to help — we’ve helped some of the world’s largest companies execute successful enterprise digital transformations, and we might be able to help your organization as well.