Digital Transformation in the Post-COVID Age: A Comprehensive Guide 

What it takes to build a strong foundation for continuous digital transformation guide – from ERPs and AI to security, and more.

Table of Content

    Intro

    Digital transformation has always been about using technology to drive innovation and growth. 

    Not long ago, digitalizing business processes or moving them to the cloud was enough to blow the competition out of the water. Today, companies face new challenges and rising expectations — and yesterday’s transformation tactics no longer cut it. 

    Digital transformation has changed. 

    Where DX once was about process improvement and optimization, it’s now about unlocking entirely new business models and enabling new ways of working. It’s reimagining everything about how organizations operate. 

    Business Leaders Guide to the New Digital AgeBusiness Leaders Guide to the New Digital Age

    And – crucially, it’s building a strategy that supports continuous improvement and charts a path toward becoming the kind of future-ready org that raises the transformation standard for everyone else. 

    Our goal with this series was to shine a light on what’s driving digital transformation as it stands today and what that means for business leaders as they plan for future transformations.  And guide digital transformation for business leaders.

    You’ll learn about current trends, best practices, and what it takes to build a strong foundation for continuous transformation – from ERPs and AI to security, data management, and more.

    Guide to Digital Transformation Table of Contents

    1. What exactly is digital transformation?
    2. The current state of digital transformation
    3. What’s driving digital transformation today?
    4. The business benefits of digital transformation
    5. Digital transformation for SMBs
    6. Digital transformation for enterprise
    7. Digital transformation readiness assessment
    8. The seven key components of digital transformation
    9. Developing a digital transformation strategy
    10. Key KPIs for measuring digital transformation progress
    11. Top Digital Transformation Challenges and How to Mitigate Them
    12. Digital transformation best practices
    13. Fostering a culture that embraces digital transformation
    14. Why digital transformations fail
    15. 6 change management strategies for digital transformation
    16. Data management: setting the foundation for digital transformation
    17. The role of ERP in digital transformation
    18. Driving digital transformation with CRM
    19. Why your digital transformation needs a platform
    20. How the Microsoft ecosystem enables digital transformation
    21. Digital transformation with Microsoft Dynamics 365
    22. Accelerating digital transformation with the cloud
    23. Powering digital transformation with Azure and Azure DevOps
    24. Power platform + self-service analytics increasing the speed of digital transformation
    25. The growing role of AI in digital transformation
    26. How digital transformation improves the customer experience
    27. Security transformation: the role of IT security in digital transformation
    28. Five proven ways to accelerate digital transformation
    29. Digital transformation maturity model
    30. What to look for in a digital transformation partner
    31. The future of digital transformation
    32. Industries benefiting from digital transformation
    33. CFO’s guide to digital transformation

    1. What exactly is digital transformation?

    The term “digital transformation” gets thrown around an awful lot these days. But what does it actually mean? The short answer is, digital transformation describes the process of leveraging digital technologies to create or improve processes, products, services, or experiences.

    In this article, we’ll go beyond the buzzword and try to provide a clear definition of DX, as it stands today. Additionally, we’ll share real-world examples that provide more context and meaning to a term equal parts vague and expansive.

    2. The current state of digital transformation

    With digital transformation, the game is always changing. Initially, it was about digitizing processes, but COVID upped the ante, pushing companies into the cloud when we all went remote. Now, amid supply chain challenges, inflation, and the beginning stages of a downturn, DX is going through another round of big changes. In this blog post, we look at the big picture – examining emerging trends, established patterns, and disruptions on the horizon.

    3. What’s driving digital transformation today?

    So, we’ve discussed some of the broader trends shaping digital transformation today — from M&A to remote work to increasingly sophisticated cloud strategies. Here, we explore five key factors driving digital transformation right now, and what that means for business leaders as they navigate this increasingly complex digital landscape.

    4. The business benefits of digital transformation

    Digital transformation streamlines operations, improves user experiences, and powers lasting growth. It’s the key to unlocking a competitive advantage and boosting the bottom line through revenue gains and cost-savings. Still the benefits of digital transformation are as vague as the term itself. This piece looks at some of the high-level, industry-agnostic benefits DX brings to the table – with real-world examples that help put them in context.

    The Right Microsoft Partner Can Drive Business SuccessThe Right Microsoft Partner Can Drive Business Success

    5. Digital transformation for SMBs

    Today, DX is a matter of life and death for all organizations — from five-person operations and boutique firms to mid-size companies eyeing expansion opportunities that bump them into the “enterprise bracket.”

    While digital transformation is no longer a luxury reserved for enterprises with massive IT budgets, SMBs face some unique barriers due to their size and limited resources. This time around, we zoom in on SMBs and the challenges and opportunities smaller orgs face as they embark on their DX journeys.

    6. Digital transformation for enterprise

    Compared to SMBs, enterprises have a harder time with agility due to their size and all the red tape that comes with the territory. But –they can also be slow to act for several reasons: complexity, contracts, policies & procedures, and, of course, inertia.

    While these elements protect enterprises from risks and enable consistency at scale, they represent some of the biggest barriers to transformation. Here, we’ll look at digital transformation from an enterprise perspective.

    7. Digital transformation readiness assessment

    A digital transformation readiness assessment helps business leaders identify gaps, barriers, and underdeveloped strategies that will prevent them from achieving critical DX goals. Typically, this evaluation measures readiness across three core dimensions: people, processes, and technology — all of which must meet a certain standard in order for business leaders to move forward with planned initiatives.

    This article breaks down the criteria found in a typical DX readiness assessment — in checklist form — and provides a list of red flags that indicate it’s time to go back to the drawing board. 

    8. The seven key components of digital transformation

    There’s no real consensus on how many “essential components” go into making a successful digital transformation. Some experts say the magic number is three – people, processes, and technology. Others say it’s more like six or even nine. Really, it depends on several factors: data maturity, infrastructure, culture, and so on.

    For this piece, we ultimately settled on seven critical elements we believe all organizations should include in their strategy.

    9. Developing a digital transformation strategy

    Developing a digital transformation requires you to consider everything from end-user requirements and emerging opportunities, to processes, culture, and how to navigate change. Our goal with this blog post is to give you a general framework for building out your digital transformation strategy. In it, we go over some of the key things to include in your roadmap to ensure it delivers the desired outcomes.

    10. Key KPIs for measuring digital transformation progress

    Clearly-defined metrics are a critical part of any digital transformation strategy. Without them, you can’t measure progress toward critical objectives, nor can you say for certain whether you’re on the right track. But, it’s important to understand that you can’t rely on legacy KPIs to measure the impact of DX investments. A new strategy calls for new metrics — and a new mindset. Here, we’ll outline some basic criteria for what makes a “good” DX KPI. Then, we’ll shift gears and look at seven examples all orgs can benefit from tracking. 

    11. Top Digital Transformation Challenges and How to Mitigate Them

    Whether you’re forcing legacy platforms to run processes they weren’t built for, struggling to lock down ever-expanding threat surfaces, or facing tough decisions about budgeting or innovation, digital transformation can be rough. It doesn’t help that every transformation is unique — therefore making it impossible to follow some official playbook based on real DX wins. 

    Read the full post to learn more about the biggest challenges today’s businesses are up against — and what you can do to overcome them.

    Business Leaders Guide to Dynamics 365Business Leaders Guide to Dynamics 365

    12. Digital transformation best practices

    Unfortunately, digital transformation is just one of those things where there’s never a definitive answer to your most pressing questions. Nor is there any one roadmap you can follow to ensure key initiatives generate the returns you were hoping for. 

    Pretty much everything about DX comes with an asterisk or an “it depends.” But, there are a few exceptions. In this piece, we’ll go over some general best practices that apply to transformations across the board — and explain why and how they can help your team succeed.

    13. Fostering a culture that embraces digital transformation

    While the term “digital transformation” might conjure visions of workforce automation, cloud-based collaboration, and AI-fueled… everything, it’s culture that determines whether initiatives succeed or fail. 

    But, what does it take to build the kind of culture that not only embraces digital transformation — but accelerates and sustains it on a continuous loop? In this post, we’ll answer that question and offer some actionable advice for tackling the culture challenge within your own org.

    14. Why digital transformations fail

    Some reports suggest that as many as 70% of all digital transformations fail, whereas others suggest that most projects fail to achieve all DX objectives. Meaning, most don’t fail completely – they just don’t deliver the kinds of returns stakeholders were expecting. 

    While the stats are all over the place, one thing experts agree on is the fact that digital transformation is extremely hard to pull off. But that doesn’t mean the odds are stacked against you. This blog post highlights the most common mistakes that cause digital transformation initiatives to fail. But, quick spoiler: they all link back to a common root cause – poor planning.

    15. Six change management strategies for digital transformation

    Digital transformation fundamentally changes everything about your business. It’s little changes like getting used to new interfaces and workflows, as well as big, sometimes existential changes like how you generate value in a new economy, what skills are considered most valuable, and how you measure performance. Even when people support change in theory, transformation introduces a lot of uncertainty that, in many cases, is really jarring for employees. 

    At the same time, DX initiatives are doomed to fail if you can’t convince people to break up with old habits, confront fears, and tackle change head-on. Here, we look at six strategies for driving and sustaining change across your entire org chart.

    16. Data management: setting the foundation for digital transformation

    Digital technologies have completely altered how companies manage and work with data. So, as orgs embark on these multi-phased DX journeys, effective data management becomes an ever more vital part of the overall digital strategy. Like the cloud, the CRM, and the ERP, data management is one of those “foundational” elements that must be in place before pursuing even the most basic digital initiatives. 

    This post looks at the essential ingredients of any modern data management strategy — as well as some of the opportunities an effective data strategy can unlock.

    17.  The role of ERP in digital transformation

    Digital transformation can’t happen without the ERP. Or, rather, digital transformation can’t happen without a cloud ERP.  The ERP is your core foundation for all digital business operations — a launching pad of sorts for your DX journey. In this article, we’ll explain why this platform is so vital  — and why the “cloud part” matters more than you might think. We’ll also explain that while the ERP is essential for any DX project, there’s nothing inherently transformative about the platform itself. 

    Enabling the Modern Worker with the Microsoft PlatformEnabling the Modern Worker with the Microsoft Platform

    18. Driving digital transformation with CRM

    While the ERP typically gets all the credit for “enabling transformation,” the CRM is no slouch. In fact, both play an essential role in any org’s DX journey. 

    A CRM organizes all customer records and communications in one place — allowing users to understand customers in context and use insights to make profitable decisions and drive targeted outcomes. In this piece, we’ll look at some of the unique ways that CRM will directly guide digital transformation. 

    19. Why digital transformation needs a platform

    A digital transformation platform is an all-in-one solution that spans all core business units, functions, and processes. Typically, it includes ERP and CRM features, baked-in intelligence, and advanced data management capabilities.  While every platform is different, the main goal here is bringing everything an organization needs to succeed together in one place. Read the full piece to learn more about DX platforms and how they serve as a solid foundation that, ideally, will support your transformation journey for years to come. 

    20. How the Microsoft ecosystem enables digital transformation

    Look, the Microsoft ecosystem was built with digital transformation in mind. It’s composable and easy to customize – designed for quick pivots, responding to new needs, and scaling up, down, or in a totally different direction as strategies and circumstances change. We’ve covered the key members of the Microsoft family pretty extensively, so here, we’ll focus more on some of the ways that combining different MS solutions – from D365 to Azure to the Power Platform – helped real organizations achieve their DX goals.

    21. Digital transformation with Microsoft Dynamics 365

    Microsoft Dynamics 365 is a cloud-based ERP solution that serves as the ideal foundation for your DX journey. It unifies critical data and core processes, supports remote work, and is designed with agility, resilience, and growth in mind. 

    That said, D365 customers stand to gain the biggest returns when they address cultural challenges, fill skills gaps, and upgrade aging infrastructure before implementation. In this blog post, you’ll learn about the relationship between the Dynamics 365 ERP and digital transformation.

    22. Accelerating digital transformation with the cloud

    On-prem legacy systems don’t just slow down digital transformation journeys — they prevent them from happening at all. In other words, without the cloud, DX doesn’t happen. Now, while the cloud is part of the foundation that enables transformation, the best cloud strategies go a long way in moving things along — and creating a competitive advantage.

    This blog post examines the cloud’s role in driving — and accelerating — digital transformation. And, we’ll also discuss how cloud strategies are evolving in response to changing conditions.

    23. Powering digital transformation with Azure and Azure DevOps

    Microsoft Azure and Azure DevOps give organizations a powerful set of tools for solving problems and reaching critical DX goals. Boasting over 200 apps and services, Azure enables developers — both citizen and pro — to rapidly design, build, and deploy new solutions — without sacrificing quality or security.  In this post, we’ll explore how Azure and Azure DevOps can be used to power digital transformation.

    24. Power platform + self-service analytics increasing the speed of digital transformation

    The Microsoft Power Platform and self-service analytics can play a big role in driving digital transformation. See, it’s no longer enough to rely on data science and IT experts to build reports and custom solutions. Today, everyone plays a role in solving problems and developing innovative solutions. 

    In this post, we’ll explore how these tools can be used to modernize operations and help orgs become more agile and responsive to change. We’ll also share some real-world examples   across a variety of industries to give you a better sense of how you might use these accessible solutions within your own organization.

    25. The growing role of AI in digital transformation

    Artificial intelligence has morphed from futuristic fantasy (or, for some, nightmare) into a mundane reality of doing business in the digital age. AI-driven tools have gotten better, faster, and cheaper in just a handful of years — and have allowed savvy orgs to get more from the resources they have. 

    As DX demands put more pressure on businesses, learning to effectively leverage AI, ML, and NLP capabilities is the only way orgs can get ahead. Read the full post to learn more about AI’s key role in driving transformations, how that role is evolving, and why, increasingly DX can’t happen without it.

    26. How digital transformation improves the customer experience

    Whether we’re talking about efficiency gains, new business models, or enabling remote collaboration, digital transformation should always be driven by the customer. This article explains the tight connection between the customer experience and digital transformation — and why DX success hinges on letting the customer take the lead.

    27. Security transformation: the role of IT security in digital transformation

    Digital transformation represents a huge opportunity for cybercriminals. Shadow IT, remote work, IoT devices, and the ongoing explosion of big data has introduced new vulnerabilities — on a scale never before seen. 

    So, while it’s clear DX and security go hand-in-hand, many organizations still fail to treat IT security with the urgency it deserves. And that’s a huge mistake. One that could undermine DX initiatives — and your entire business. Read the full article to learn more about where security fits into the DX roadmap.

    28. Five proven ways to accelerate digital transformation

    In today’s challenging business landscape, it’s the companies that manage to fast-track digital transformation that will come out on top. Now, we should note: when it comes to digital transformation, there are no shortcuts. But, there are some things you can do to get high-impact results faster and set the stage for lasting success. Here we explore five strategies that can help you move through your DX journey just a little bit faster.

    29. Digital transformation maturity model

    Digital transformation maturity models — DMMs for short — allow organizations to benchmark progress toward DX goals and plan the next phase in their transformation journey. DMMs provide a baseline understanding of where your digital strategies, systems, and processes stand in the moment. They’re designed to serve as a tool for diagnosing problems and measuring DX progress — offering up critical insights that can then be used to inform the next stages in your journey. That said, DMMs are far from perfect and won’t make up for poor decision-making, bad data, and other pitfalls that plague planning, execution, and your ability to get results from DX investments. Check out the full article to learn more about DX maturity models — and why, when, and how to use them.

    30. What to look for in a digital transformation partner

    One of the key themes of this series is that nothing about digital transformation is easy or straightforward. And, finding the right partner (or partners) to support that journey is no different.

    While you might understand that your organization can’t go it alone, identifying and evaluating potential partners is a total minefield if you don’t know what you’re looking for. In this piece, we talk about selection criteria — from experience and technical capabilities to communication habits, methodologies, and how they approach long-term support.

    31. The future of digital transformation

    Technology has come a long way in these past few years, but it still can’t predict the future — though predictive AI models have gotten scarily close. Still, there are a few things we can count on. The business landscape will continue to evolve at a break-neck pace. Customer expectations will continue to rise. And — the bar for what qualifies as “transformative” will only get higher. All that in mind, the only way to stay competitive is to make sure you’re ready for all future outcomes. Read the full post to find out what’s next for digital  – and what that means for your long-term plans. 

    32. Industries benefiting from digital transformation

    Every business has different needs, goals, and priorities that define their digital transformation guide strategy. Things like digital maturity, legacy tech, data management strategies, and more will determine the course of their DX journey. But, while every transformation is unique, there’s a ton of overlap between companies operating within the same vertical. Each group has a shared set of challenges, pain points, and opportunities — specific to that space.

    Here, we provide a high-level overview of how digital transformation is impacting different verticals — specifically the ones we work with at Velosio. Then from there, we’ll link out to a series of deep dive blog posts for each industry group — professional services, field services, CPGs, distributors, nonprofits, and agribusiness. 

    33. CFO’s digital transformation guide

    CFOs are perfectly positioned to lead the charge on digital transformation thanks to their financial expertise, business acumen, and C-level influence. It’s on the top finance boss to optimize business performance and drive growth — two things that digital transformation can help with in a big way. But how? In this article, we discuss some key strategies CFOs must embrace to bring their organization into the future.

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