Debugging Digital Transformation: 5 key challenges

Debugging Digital Transformation: 5 key challenges

Digital transformation is no longer just an idea. It’s happening everywhere.
These are the top challenges companies face, and how leaders can handle them.

Digital transformation is happening all around us. While in recent years it seemed like something that would slowly happen “in the future”, COVID-19 in 2020 has forced us to go through the digital transformation process in a few months. Well, not all of us. Not to sound cheeky, but at Near Partner we boarded the digital transformation bandwagon years ago, because we are geeks like that. But for most companies the world over, Covid-19 was in fact the biggest driver of the digital transformation. Ever.

And what do businesses get from a rapid adoption of all things digital? For one, enhanced data collection will increase agility, provide data-driven customer insights, and allow greater resource management. Also, companies benefit from an increased profitability powered by a jump in productivity. The advantages of embracing (rather than just accepting) the digital transformation are many, but they all translate to one thing: the ability to respond to market demands and customer needs. And thus, staying ahead of the game.

But just because we are living it, it doesn’t mean everything is running as smoothly as it should. Some businesses, big or small, are struggling with either implementation or maintenance, since digital transformation is not a one-off process. In fact, the entire purpose of digital transformation is to create flexible organisations that are ready to embrace relevant digital tools as they emerge. A company that fully embraces digital transform should keep up with technological progress rather than stagnate after a breakthrough.

Digital Transformation is that sweet spot where People, Tools and Processes meet. Source: Intel

Digital Transformation is that sweet spot where People, Tools and Processes meet. Source: Intel


Expecting the benefits of digital transformation to come overnight is naïve and might set you up for failure. It will take some time, some effort and multiple adaptations before your company gets the results. If we could use a metaphor, we’d say digital transformation is the journey, not the destination. It is important to keep the “bigger picture” in sight and drop the short-term wins and gains. A patient but paced approach is key for digital leaders–and also a great way to tackle all the challenges that come with digital transformation.


What are the challenges with digital transformation for companies?

Every company feels some challenges, regardless of size. These are the 5 key challenges stemming from digital transformation, and how to confront them.

1.    Digital Transformation is a seismic cultural shift

Digital transformation is not just about software upgrades and fancy tech in the office. It is about transforming the way we work, making the most out of digital tools and embodying a digital-first mindset. Most companies with doing all the above without losing sight of the human experience. Digital transformation requires significant changes, some of which might end up being resented by employees, or even customers. And what is the best way to avoid this? Simple: communication. Always communicate with your teams and explain how the entire business will benefit. With your teams on board, this ship sails smoothly.


2.    Friction in digital adoption is bound to happen. Deal with it with communication

It is tempting to assume that today’s workforce comprises only digital natives, but that’s not always the case. Senior employees and those unaccustomed to digital tools such as field operatives, may encounter hiccups in the adoption of new tools and technologies. The solution here is to increase fluency in technologies and tools your business deployed, be it through formal or informal training. Investing in your workforce is investing in your business’ success. After all, it is people who fuel the digital workplace. With that in mind, here at Near Partner we have a ‘no man left behind policy’. That means our experts provide training to make sure no one feels excluded from the process. Digital transformation may feel like a seismic cultural shift, and thriving requires involving everybody, every day.


3.    Going nowhere fast is a problem. Develop a digital transformation strategy

Not having a digital transformation strategy is one of the biggest challenges so far. Because of market pressure, companies need to deliver software applications faster to their customers. As a result, there is a tendency to focus more on the tools than on the performance improvements that markets and customers crave. While choosing the right tools is important–check out some app development trends for 2021 and beyond–so is to have defined goals and metrics. With a data-driven digital approach, metrics and strategy matter more than ever. Ever heard of low code? This is what you can build with it.


4.    No dedicated IT expertise? No problem

Not all businesses and organisations can afford a full-fledged IT department. And a small, dedicated, in-house team is likely not versatile enough to address every challenge. Besides, in the ever-evolving world customer needs, developing internal skills to keep up to with market demands is a serious challenge. Once leaders factor in costs and budget constraints, the whole endeavour risks being written off as a pipe dream. But fear not, one way to avoid this challenge is to consider hiring expert software consultants to supplement and guide your in-house team. This is exactly what we do here at Near Partner. Long story short, we can help make your business development vision come true in a few days or weeks, rather than months.

5. Overcome budget constraints with simple yet effective development
Finally, digital transformation typically requires investing. Be it purchasing hardware like new PCs or tablets for the office, network equipment, or servers, cloud services, DevOps, technical support, training, it has associated expenses. So, you and your business need to plan–if only there were a digital transformation strategy in place, hm?

One clever way to bypass some of the challenges in this area – we mean, drastically cut down costs – is precisely by taking advantage of the recent trends in business and technology, such as low-code platforms. At Near Partner, we can’t recommend Outsystems and Salesforce enough. These are two of most powerful yet simple low-code technologies to get your project off the ground.


Making Digital Transformation easier

Some of the challenges of digital transformation might seem overwhelming and the absolute end of your project. Allow us to disagree. With the right tools in place, as well as the right guidance, your business can thrive and overcome whatever challenges the transition to a digital-first world may throw in its way.

That being said, this transformation is not optional. The only choice is whether your business embarks in the transition train and embraces the changes, or if it fights it and trails behind along with the slow-moving peers. So, do not let challenges stop or hinder your business and your project.

If the journey becomes too overwhelming, call us. At Near Partner, we are used to tackling challenges, help our customers implement new tools in their evolving businesses, and also to brainstorm the best way to make this transition to digital-first happen seamlessly. Our team of OutSystems developers, Salesforce experts, and software developers is always ready for a new challenge.

Don’t know exactly how we can help? Talk to us and let’s figure it out together.

Patrícia Peixinho

With an insatiable appetite for challenges, I dove deep into the captivating realm of Project Management while puzzling management processes in Near Partner’s Salesforce team. My passion for marketing and communication shines through into every facet of my work. I'm curious, imaginative, ingenious.