Enterprise digital transformation is a strong contender for ‘buzzword of 2018’. While there’s no doubt of its value and importance for businesses of all sizes – the digital transformation market is predicted to reach a staggering $431.71billion by 2021 – the term itself is often overused and misunderstood.

We unpack the question ‘what is enterprise digital transformation?’, roadmap key strategies to a successful transformation process and discuss how Templafy fits in to innovation enterprises.

What is enterprise digital transformation?

Currently, there are a vast number of articles in existence that have their own take on enterprise digital transformation, offering a series of slightly varying definitions. However, as an overarching definition, digital transformation can be described as “the integration of digital technology into all areas of a business, fundamentally changing how you operate and deliver value to customers.” The term also extends to subsequent cultural and organizational changes and an intrinsic relationship with experimentation and responding to failure.

The main source of confusion around enterprise digital transformation comes from the fact that it can mean different things to different businesses and manifests itself in a variety of ways in different contexts. While many startups and small businesses appear with new models that leverage new technologies, such as Adia in the recruitment space and DriveNow in car sharing, marketing agencies, consultancies and design studios from Deloitte Digital to HUGE are all delivering digital transformation from a slightly different perspective. Whether it’s change management and IT programs that drive efficiencies, or design thinking and digital products that create new value and new markets, digital transformation appears in a variety of forms.

Read next: The Only Enterprise Tech Trends 2018 Forecast You Need

Transformational growth = bigger ideas + smarter ways of working

Enterprise digital transformation is a bold statement. To truly transform the prospects of a major enterprise, the business must really innovate to create new value in its offerings and simultaneously work smarter to drive transformational efficiency and competitiveness in its process.

To transform the top line, innovation enterprises need to explore the white space to create the kind of products and services that would have been unimaginable just a few years ago. For enterprise businesses, this allows core product or service offerings to be augmented with new products that enhance the value to the digital consumer. Enterprise digital transformation examples of this kind include the likes of British Gas’ Smart Meter or Motor Insurance firm Admiral’s driver tracking LittleBox. Globally, financial services are heavily investing in their mobile apps to digitize their existing services and gain market share through improving convenience and user experience for their customers.

Achieving transformation also involves looking inward and adopting a modern, lean and efficient operating model. An innovation enterprise must invest in the technologies, data and business systems to transform the way the businesses operates to drive transformational efficiencies. Amazon is the epitome of an enterprise tracking every part of its business process to ensure an infrastructure of data and technology is optimizing how it improves customers’ experience while keeping operating costs to an absolute minimum.

enterprise digital transformation requires innovation

Tips for a successful enterprise digital transformation process

Given the scale and complexity of change management at enterprise level, these six strategies will help you get the most out of digital transformation projects.

1. Break down silos

Often in large businesses 'digital' is fragmented between IT, marketing and operational divisions, making it difficult to align technology strategies that serve internal and external demands. Before embarking on an enterprise digital transformation agenda - consider an organizational structure, backed by all sides of the business, that brings these disciplines together to drive through decisions that support both the company and the consumer.

2. Engage the boardroom

For many enterprise businesses, technology sits in the remit of legacy IT departments and is seen as a support function. This is reflected in budget planning, team structures and processes, and can result in technology strategy trailing after the business rather than driving it forward. Top performing players in the enterprise digital transformation game carefully consider how technology is represented in the boardroom and ensure a Chief Technology Officer has a seat at the table in an executive or steering committee.

3. Get the architecture right

Architecture can sometimes be overlooked as a somewhat grandiose term to describe the combination of platforms, systems and data solutions your company puts in place. However it’s these decisions on enterprise architecture that successful digital transformation relies on. Increasingly cloud-based solutions and tools have been playing a significant role here, allowing the flexibility and scalability a modern enterprise needs while driving efficiency and supporting governance. Successful enterprise architecture will underpin the entire vision for the digital transformation program and will facilitate its implementation throughout the business. It should be viewed as a long term investment and involve consultation with all stakeholders to create strong foundations for the future.

4. Align many platforms with one strategy

In today's multiplatform world, the channels and touchpoints that businesses reach audiences on are ever expanding. No longer can long-term marketing and distribution plans for enterprise digital transformation be built around traditional media, with consumers taking up new channels and devices faster than marketers can update their plans. In order to keep track of this growing network of channels, you need a robust behind-the-scenes data strategy that can scale up and transcend software to help you understand your digital audience and track their journeys and conversions across a disjointed landscape. Consider how to leverage or create APIs to push and extract data between these shifting channels and a single data management platform (DMP) as part of a future ready architecture.

5. Take risks

Recent research carried out by McKinsey & Co revealed that those most successful in enterprise digital transformation are those that follow through with bold and disruptive strategies. This includes taking chances on new technologies, trialling alternative business models, encouraging a test-and-learn culture and the launch of change programs for innovation transformation.

So it goes that ‘excessive caution’ and aversion to risk taking were identified as a major setback in enterprise transformation, with the report stating: “In today’s environment, making incremental changes is like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.”

6. Go faster

The rate at which market changes take place is faster and faster by the day, so companies can’t chance taking it slow when it comes to digital innovation. Automating systems have become the primary strategy to speeding up time-consuming processes, allowing employees to focus on driving business practices and technologies forward.

This is where cloud-based software such as Templafy comes in. Templafy assists enterprise digital transformation by integrating a company’s various template and digital asset management systems to simplify outdated and lengthy incumbent processes. Through the use of best-practice templates, centralized asset libraries and brand and compliance checkers, our easy to use platform can reduce time spent on document creation, increase employee productivity, ensure brand compliance and shift the workflow from over-employed, costly IT departments to a firm’s brand managers.

Watch this short video to learn more about how Templafy can assist your enterprise with its digital transformation: