Enterprise Digital Transformation: Productivity & Profitability at Scale

January 9, 2024
by
David Woodbury

Enterprise digital transformation involves leveraging technology to overhaul business processes and models at the enterprise level. It requires a strategic approach, integrating multiple departments and systems, and focuses on balancing innovation with ROI.

Digital Transformation

Table of Contents

  1. Core Elements of Digital Transformation
  2. How a $2B Enterprise Benefited from Digital Transformation
  3. Strategic Benefits of Digital Transformation
  4. Overcoming Digital Transformation Challenges
  5. Roadmap for Digital Transformation

Introduction to Enterprise Digital Transformation  

Digital transformation means using technology to change individual business processes or remodel entire business models. At the enterprise level, the scale at which these systems must evolve is significantly greater than that of smaller companies, which naturally increases the complexity of planning, implementation, and measuring ROI.

Because of this increased scale, it’s important to undertake enterprise digital transformation with clear goals and a straightforward technology roadmap for achieving them. An enterprise’s strategy for change implementation typically involves numerous departments across several organizational levels and requires multiple pieces of software.  

Enterprise digital transformation must be approached thoughtfully to be successful. Enterprise businesses that properly select and implement digital strategies stand to see benefits for customers and employees. Customers will enjoy an improved experience, and team members will see increased efficiencies—the combination of which optimizes an enterprise’s costs and enhances its profitability.  

Yet, while the benefits of digital transformation are great, many enterprises are simply too large and complex to undertake this process on their own. Enterprise organizations may want to consider partnering with a vendor expert to create a digital transformation roadmap that will adapt to today’s changing markets and evolving technologies.

The Urgency for Change in the Digital Age  

Forty-nine percent of respondents to Insight’s 2023 Intelligent Technology Report revealed that “the ability to keep up with technological innovation compared to competitors is one of the greatest threats to their organizations over the next 12 months.” Eighty-two percent of respondents to this survey feel that “companies must invest in digital transformation or be left behind.”  

These weighty responses reveal that leaders believe digital transformation is no longer optional. For companies that want not only to survive but thrive, digital transformation is essential. Digital transformation enables enterprises to shift quickly as market and customer demands change, adapt immediately to supply chain disruptions, and respond promptly to continuing technological advancements.  

And external forces aren’t the only factors businesses must respond to. As hybrid and remote work becomes more commonplace, managing enterprise employees as they cross state and national borders requires digital solutions as well.  

Core Elements of Digital Transformation  

For enterprise organizations, every aspect of digital transformation (DX) is simply greater. The scale of such businesses belies legacy systems that are more widely used, a deeper org structure that may need redesigning, increased demand for regulatory compliance, and a bigger lift when considering change management.  

To undergo a successful transformation, enterprises must balance the cost of such changes with innovation and ROI. They will want to capture data from customer interactions to make better business decisions. And they must look to organization-wide stakeholders to ensure increased operational efficiency.  

How a $2B Enterprise Integrated Digital Technologies for a 17% Revenue Increase

As a nearly $2 billion supplier of branded academic, consumer, and business products, ACCO Brands is an excellent example of enterprise transformation. ACCO needed an e-commerce platform that could scale to support its over 20 brands. With legacy systems, siloed data, and redundant websites, both customers and internal teams were met with challenges affecting purchases and performance.  

To solve these problems for their B2B and B2C audiences, ACCO Brands partnered with The C2 Group to create a digital transformation strategy that unified their disparate companies and could scale to support enterprise goals. To be successful, ACCO had to undergo four types of digital transformation: process transformation, business model transformation, domain transformation, and cultural/organizational transformation.

Such a large-scale rollout would take months and significant capital investment had they forged ahead with one-off systems. Instead, their partnership with an expert in the DX field significantly reduced development time and increased speed to market while considering individual brand needs. ACCO Brands’ new sites were handed off as quickly as 60 to 90 days after project kickoff, saving ACCO hundreds of thousands of dollars on development scope.  

By personalizing product and checkout experiences, optimizing brand storytelling, and ensuring effective integrations, ACCO simplified its martech and e-commerce stack, reducing expenses and averaging a 260 percent order value for some brands to grow overall revenue by 17 percent annually.  

By aligning individual business activities and forging ahead via the help of an expert in enterprise digital transformation, companies can deliver efficient and effective customer and team member solutions, bringing as-of-yet unforeseen value to the organization.  

C2 elevated the digital experiences of numerous brands under the ACCO umbrella.

Customer-Centric Approaches and Data Analytics  

Successful digital transformation helps organizations better respond to evolving customer needs for increased profitability. Using tech, companies can collect, analyze, and store customer data to adapt to changing consumer demands. Enterprise companies employing data analytics to create a responsive customer-centric approach stand to gain a competitive advantage in today’s marketplace.  

Strategic Benefits and Organizational Impact  

To create a successful enterprise digital transformation, an organization must consider the key areas of enterprise digital transformation: internal digital implementation and customer-experience-enhancing digital strategies.  

The three key benefits of digital transformation are increased productivity, enhanced team member collaboration, and a better customer experience. Thus, some enterprises may begin transformation by focusing on certain business processes, such as automating manual procedures. Others look beyond process transformation to model transformation, wherein they reimagine an entire business segment or operation. Others still choose an in-between approach that improves specific processes to address a variety of employee and customer concerns.  

Enhancing Customer Insights and Experience  

Regardless of the scope of a digital transformation, enterprises will want to emphasize customer data collection as part of their strategy.

Partnering with an expert in enterprise digital transformation helps businesses know which data to collect to evaluate customer needs alongside the development necessary to address them. These data collection and storage steps rely on appropriate tech for enterprises to efficiently analyze the massive collection of customer insights available. Enterprises can use data analytics to create highly personalized service that fosters increased customer engagement, loyalty, and retention.

Streamlining Operations for Increased Profitability  

Redundant and manual processes slow day-to-day operations and lead to increased labor spend and a higher likelihood of errors. Automating these operations frees team members up to work on higher-value tasks, streamlines operations, increases productivity, and opens up new opportunities for innovation.  

Digitizing operations also incorporates centralized data into decision-making. With real, measurable data gathered using digital processes, enterprises gain a comprehensive view of the entire organization to reveal new avenues for increased profitability.  

Empowering a Global, Agile Workforce  

Concurrent with technological evolution is the rise of remote and hybrid work. As much as digitization is about adapting to customer expectations and using data to increase efficiency, a key benefit is its ability to empower team members to work globally while embracing the agility necessary to meet changing circumstances. Without cloud-based systems, centralized data platforms, and digital technologies, the people who make up an enterprise workforce would be tied to single locations and slow, siloed communications.  

This agile approach helps enterprises future-proof their businesses to create the responsiveness necessary to remain resilient and competitive. It considers the enterprise today and positions it to adapt to market changes, consumer trends, and unexpected circumstances tomorrow.  

Overcoming Transformation Challenges  

Enterprises face challenges during digital transformation, including cost, implementation timeline, stakeholder buy-in, and even legal hurdles. A successful DX strategy considers and embraces the agility necessary to respond to such challenges.  

But a strategy is only as effective as its implementation. Enterprises must allocate sufficient time and resources to getting team member buy-in and delivering the training necessary to implement the transformation successfully.

Timing and Resistance to Change  

In addition to on-the-ground team members, some CTOs, CIOs, and CFOs may need time to see the value creation possible using enterprise digital transformation. An expert transformation partner will have numerous success stories across a range of industries to help all stakeholders understand why the process's benefits outweigh its costs.

Once on board, scheduling a transformation presents yet another challenge, particularly for large enterprise organizations. The process, no matter how swift, impacts the entire workforce and requires diligent management. Companies that take a long time to implement a digital strategy are more likely to see increased resistance to change that negatively impacts company culture.  

Leaders who partner with a DX expert have support creating a culture where uncertainty fuels innovation and improvements based on agile strategies are a way of life. Getting enterprise-wide stakeholder buy-in increases collaboration and enables the continuous learning necessary for effective digital implementation. Enterprises that fail to do this first may find they’ve sunk ample capital into modern processes that simply aren’t effective because the organization itself has failed to change how it operates.

Compliance, Legal, and Contractual Hurdles  

Enterprises that embrace innovation and create an agile culture must also understand they face compliance, legal, and contractual hurdles. To mitigate this, enterprises and their expert vendor partners will want to undergo a risk assessment so unknown issues do not impact project development.  

Remember also that the process implemented may require relationships with various vendors, each with its own terms and conditions. An expert in the DX field can help streamline these contracts so enterprises can ensure all regulatory requirements are met.  

Roadmap and Readiness for Transformation  

Creating stakeholder buy-in, selecting which processes to digitize, and collecting and analyzing data doesn’t happen on its own. Like driving to any new destination, time saved and accuracy of arrival both improve when aided by a map.  

Assessing Current Infrastructure and Readiness for Digital Transformation  

Enterprises that know where they want to go must also know where they currently are. To point itself in the right direction, a company must assess its current infrastructure and business state.

With the help of an expert vendor, enterprises will want to look at things like productivity tools and their CRM. It will also be incredibly helpful to talk with stakeholders to understand relevant workflow issues and customer pain points before discussing how transformation can help solve such problems. Involving stakeholders in the assessment phase goes a long way to creating the buy-in large-scale enterprises need to implement their strategies.  

Post-assessment, organizations and their expert partner will develop a digital transformation roadmap that considers the objectives of the process and what’s necessary to achieve them. A roadmap takes these big-picture plans and breaks them down into actionable steps built on best practices. It helps enterprises understand any obstacles in place as well as the timeline and changes necessary to overcome them.  

Most enterprises will deploy their strategy in phases by taking smaller steps first to reduce risk and realize quick wins. As they move forward, they can begin automating manual tasks to increase efficiency before moving to cloud infrastructures and scaling their digital tools. The final step in digital transformation (though it is an ongoing process) is monitoring and tracking changes using relevant KPIs.  

Setting KPIs and Monitoring Progress  

Part of creating a digital transformation roadmap is understanding how the enterprise organization will measure progress and success. To do this, the company will want to work with its vendor expert to create a set of KPIs that measure customer response, business operations, and ROI.  

Whether individual metrics are focused on operational efficiencies gained, rate of innovation, outbound marketing performance, or revenue from new e-commerce platforms, KPIs are the best way to determine how the enterprise digital transformation has impacted a company’s overall profitability. An expert in these processes will be incredibly helpful in determining which KPIs are relevant; gathering, storing, and analyzing the data needed to monitor them; and adapting strategies as needed to ensure they are met.  

Enterprise Digital Transformation

Enterprise digital transformation should not be undertaken lightly, yet the market demands that companies that wish to remain competitive embrace it. The key to DX success is creating a measurable, actionable plan informed by data, communicating with and training stakeholders to improve implementation, and evaluating strategies based on metrics that bring revenue to the bottom line.  

The Imperative of Adopting Digital Transformation  

Today’s digital age includes machine learning and AI development at unprecedented rates. Enterprises hoping to weather these digital storms will want to automate repetitive and low-value tasks to free team members up for more complex and higher-ROI work. As physical workforce boundaries continue to expand, enterprises are uniquely positioned to harness agility and global understanding to propel their businesses into new realms of innovation and growth. Given their large scale, most enterprises will want to partner with an expert in the digital transformation field to ensure their efforts have successful outcomes.  

Steps Forward for Enterprises in the Digital Landscape  

To move forward in the ever-evolving digital landscape, enterprise organizations must create a roadmap that considers their current technological infrastructure alongside customer and employee pain points to increase operational efficiency and improve customer experience.  

By working with the right expert vendor, enterprises can invest in a digital transformation strategy that optimizes costs and enhances profitability. Using its experience and skills, The C2 Group can facilitate a streamlined transformation roadmap that incorporates data-driven decision-making and remains agile amidst an ever-changing digital landscape.