Digital transformation: A comprehensive guide

Digital transformation: A comprehensive guide Digital transformation: A comprehensive guide Digital transformation: A comprehensive guide Digital transformation: A comprehensive guide
  • What is digital transformation?
  • Why is digital transformation critical to businesses?
  • Benefits of digital transformation
  • Drivers for digital transformation
  • Challenges in a digital transformation project
  • Steps to ensure digital transformation success
  • Success metrics of a digital transformation project
  • Digitization vs digitalization vs digital transformation
  • Custom apps for digital transformation
  • Digital transformation with low-code
  • FAQs on Digital Transformation

What is digital transformation?

Digital transformation means the usage of digital technologies to create new business models, processes, products, and services for better outcomes. An example of it is, a company wanting to digitally transform its customer service by using digital channels or creating a self-service customer portal.

What is digital transformation?

Why is digital transformation critical to businesses?

Digital transformation is critical to businesses because it allows them to change and adapt their processes and operations to be more systematic and productive. Additionally, digital transformation can help businesses better understand and engage with their customers. For example, a business might use digital transformation to streamline their customer service process by implementing a chatbot. This would allow the business to provide quicker and more efficient service to their customers. Additionally, the business could use digital transformation strategies to create a personalized customer experience (CX) by collecting data about their customers and using it to provide them with targeted content and recommendations.

Why is digital transformation critical to businesses?

Looking for a low-code platform for your digital transformation project?


What are the benefits of digital transformation?

An ideal workflow automation solution should be easy to use, have excellent analytics features, and suit your business needs. We've compiled a list of 6 essential features you should look out for when making your choice:

Increased agility and responsiveness to change:

Digital transformation can help organizations become more agile and responsive to market changes and customer demands. By using advanced technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning and virtual reality, organizations can make better decisions and can adapt quickly to changing conditions.

Better customer experience:

It can help businesses and organizations improve their CX by providing personalized experiences and increasing transparency and communication with the business.

Boosted efficiency and productivity:

Organization's digital transformation strategy raise their efficiency and productivity by automating processes and using data and analytics to make better decisions.

Reduced costs:

Digital transformation efforts can help organizations reduce their costs by automating processes and using data and analytics to make better decisions

Enhanced competitive advantage:

With the help of digital transformation initiatives, organizations gain a competitive advantage by providing personalized experiences to customers, increasing overall transparency and communication, and improving process efficiency and productivity.

Read more about the benefits of digital transformation

What are the drivers for digital transformation?

Having a workflow automation process in place can immensely benefit your business:

Quicker time to market

One of the key drivers of digital transformation in businesses is the ability to bring new products and services to market faster than the competition. This can be a major advantage in today’s fast-paced, global economy.

Better customer experience

Digital transformation can help businesses automate various processes, such as customer service or order fulfillment, which can lead to a faster and more efficient customer experience. It can also help businesses improve their communication with customers—for example, by providing more personalized and relevant communications.

Enhanced operational efficiency

Digital transformation journeys can lead to higher operational efficiency in a couple of ways. First, it can automate and streamline business processes, making them faster and more accurate. Second, it can provide employees with better tools and information, making them more productive. Finally, it can help companies to better understand and manage their data, making it easier to make operational decisions.

Higher revenue and profitability

A great digital transformation strategy leads to higher revenue and profitability by improving operational efficiency and effectiveness and providing new revenue streams through innovative products and services. Additionally, it helps organizations tap into new markets and generate new sources of revenue.

What are the challenges in a digital transformation project?

Lack of standardization and integration:

There is no one silver bullet for digital transformation. It requires a variety of tools and technologies to support different business processes. And this, in itself, can lead to a lack of standardization and integration across the enterprise.

Missing governance controls:

A digital transformation project can quickly become a free-for-all if there is no clear governance framework in place. This can lead to duplication of effort, confusion, and wasted resources.

No buy-in from leadership:

A digital transformation project is unlikely to succeed without the full support of senior leaders. This includes setting the direction for the project, allocating resources, and making sure the right people are involved.

Improper/zero change management:

Even though a digital transformation project can be disruptive to the way an organization operates, it can also lead to resistance from employees who are reluctant to change the way they work. Change management is critical to ensure that employees are on board with new processes and technologies.

Looking for a low-code platform for your digital transformation project?


What are the steps to ensure a successful digital transformation?

Developing a vision and strategy

  • Understand your current situation
  • Start with the end goal in mind
  • Define personnel requirements
  • Influence internal stakeholders

Build your digital team

  • Attract and manage talent
  • Set clear roles, responsibilities, and ownership

Deliver applications

  • Identify the first applications to develop
  • Make data and systems accessible via the cloud
  • Realize value with rapid application development
  • Mine insights and evaluate feedback on applications
  • Involve business stakeholders

Measure your success

  • Build digital use cases
  • Convince business stakeholders of the value of your new applications

Scale by fostering a digital culture

  • Put a governance structure in place
  • Communicate value delivered across the organization
  • Create a culture of collaboration
  • Build fast, fail fast, learn fast, and succeed
Read the step-by-step guide to digital transformation

How can businesses measure the success of a digital transformation project?

A digital transformation initiative or project's success depends broadly on its impact on three main parameters of a business—customer experience, employee adoption, and productivity and financial performance.

For instance, success in terms of CX can be measured by how the customer expectations are met and how the lifetime of customer has improved because of the digital transformation strategies. In the case of financial performance, the same can be tracked by following the changes in revenue generation and the overall level of product/service, enabling innovation inside the organization.

Learn in depth about the KPIs for measuring the success of your digital transformation project

How are digitization, digitalization, and digital transformation different?

Digitization, digitalization and digital transformation—these three terms are basically differentiated by what each of them convert into a digital format. At a very basic level, digitization is when data gets converted into a digital format, digitalization is when a process is converted into a digital format, and digital transformation is when a business is taken into the digital space by using any digital technology. Digital transformation is a superset of both digitization and digitalization.



An individual scanning an analog document and converting it into a digital file, or creating a digital file from scratch is digitization.



A company might use sensors to track the progress of a manufacturing process and then use software to analyze the data to identify bottlenecks or optimize the flow of materials.


Digital transformation:

A company may use a custom sales management system to manage customer data and interactions. The company may also use email campaigns to communicate with customers and promote its products or services.

Digital transformation
Learn more about the 3Ds of digital transformation

What is the role of custom applications in digital transformation?

Custom applications are critical to businesses because they can help them:

01 Digitize processes unique to their operations that off-the-shelf solutions cannot.

02Integrate easily into an organization's existing systems, minimizing the time and resources needed to create and deploy them.

03Scale to meet an organization's needs without compromising data security.

Explore more on how digital transformation is facilitated using custom apps

How does low-code help with digital transformation?

Low-code platforms, like Zoho Creator, are increasingly becoming a crucial part of digital transformation projects, especially post-pandemic. Low-code platforms allow businesses to rapidly develop and deploy applications with little to no coding required. This means that businesses can quickly create new applications and solutions to meet their constantly changing needs.

Additionally, low-code platforms are often more user-friendly than traditional application development platforms, making them ideal for businesses that want to empower their employees to participate in digital transformation initiatives. Finally, low-code platforms can help businesses save time and money by reducing the need to hire expensive external developers or consultants.

Learn how a low-code platform supports digital transformation

Looking for a low-code platform for your digital transformation project?

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Frequently asked questions (FAQs) about digital transformation

Why is digital transformation important?

  • It enables businesses to stay ahead of competitors by leveraging digital technology over legacy technology.
  • It allows organizations to provide personalized and seamless experiences to customers, leading to higher satisfaction and loyalty.
  • Digital technologies enable companies to adapt quickly to market changes, make data-driven decisions, and seize new opportunities.
  • It opens up new possibilities for innovation, enabling businesses to explore emerging technologies, develop innovative ideas, and expand into new markets.
  • Digital transformation initiatives generate valuable data, which, when analyzed, provides insights for informed decision-making, enabling organizations to meet their business strategy goals successfully.

What are the 4 stages of digital transformation?

The key stages of digital transformation provide a framework for organizations to evolve their business processes, strategies, and technologies to adapt to the digital age:

  • Digital foundation: This stage focuses on establishing the groundwork for digital transformation. It involves assessing the organization's current state, including its existing technologies, systems, and data. The key activities in this stage include upgrading infrastructure, adopting modern technologies, and building a solid digital foundation to support future initiatives.
  • Digital strategy: In this stage, organizations develop a clear digital strategy aligned with their overall business goals. It involves defining objectives, identifying areas for improvement, and setting priorities. This stage also involves analyzing market trends, customer expectations, and potential disruptions, to identify opportunities for innovation. Digital strategy serves as a roadmap for subsequent stages.
  • Digital reinvention: This stage involves reimagining business processes, operations, and CX using digital technologies. Organizations explore ways to streamline processes, increase efficiency, and enhance customer relationships through digital channels. This stage often includes implementing automation, artificial intelligence, machine learning, data analytics, and other emerging technologies, to drive digital innovation and improve business outcomes.
  • Digital optimization: Once digital transformation initiatives are implemented, organizations focus on continuous improvement and optimization. This stage involves monitoring key performance indicators (KPIs), analyzing data, and leveraging business insights to make data-driven decisions. Organizations refine their digital capabilities, address any gaps, and adapt to evolving customer needs and market dynamics. This stage emphasizes agility and a culture of experimentation to stay ahead in the digital landscape.

Since it's an ongoing process, these stages are not necessarily linear, and organizations may revisit and iterate on each stage as they progress and adapt to changing circumstances and technologies.

What are the tenets of successful digital transformation?

These tenets encompass various aspects of the digital journey, from strategy and leadership to digital technology adoption and organizational culture change:

  • Vision and strategy: A clear vision and well-defined strategy are essential for a successful digital transformation. The organization needs to define its goals, identify the desired outcomes, and articulate a roadmap for achieving them through digital initiatives. This involves aligning digital transformation efforts with the overall business strategy.
  • Leadership and change management: Strong leadership and effective change management are critical during digital transformations. Digital transformation leaders need to champion the transformation, create a culture of innovation, and communicate the vision and benefits to the entire organization. These practices should be in place to manage resistance, engage employees, and drive adoption of new technologies and processes.
  • Customer-centricity: Organizations need to prioritize CX by understanding their customers' needs, preferences, and pain points to develop digital solutions that enhance customer engagement and satisfaction. Customer-centricity requires a deep understanding of user behavior and continuous feedback loops to iteratively improve products and services.
  • Agile and adaptive culture: Digital transformations require an agile and adaptive culture that embraces change, experimentation, and continuous learning. Organizations should foster a culture that encourages collaboration, risk-taking, and innovation. This involves empowering employees, breaking down silos, and enabling cross-functional teams to foster better business value.
  • Data-driven decision-making: Data is a crucial asset in the digital age. It's imperative to leverage data analytics and insights to make informed decisions, by collecting, analyzing, and interpreting data from various sources to gain actionable insights for improving processes, optimizing operations, and identifying new business opportunities.
  • Technology and infrastructure: Adopting the right technologies and building a robust digital infrastructure are fundamental, which includes selecting and implementing appropriate software, platforms, and tools that align with the organization's goals and requirements. It also involves investing in cybersecurity measures to protect digital assets and customer data.
  • Talent and skill development: Digital transformations require a workforce equipped with the right skills and capabilities. Organizations should invest in reskilling and upskilling employees to enhance their digital literacy, data analysis, and technology proficiency. Additionally, attracting and retaining top digital talent can help drive innovation and accelerate the digital transformation journey.

How does digital transformation impact the workforce?

Digital transformation often brings changes to the workforce. Where some tasks are automated, new roles and skill requirements will emerge. Organizations may need to upskill or reskill employees to ensure they have the necessary digital competencies to get the job done. Additionally, it can enable remote work, flexible arrangements, and new ways of collaborating, transforming the employee experience and the nature of work itself.

What is digital transformation strategy?

Digital transformation strategy is a comprehensive and strategic plan adopted by organizations to leverage digital technologies and capabilities to fundamentally transform to new business models, operations, and processes. It involves a holistic approach to integrating digital technologies throughout the organization, to drive innovation, enhance efficiency, and achieve a competitive edge in this constantly changing environment.