Digital Transformation and Project Management

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A rainbow digital network web

Project managers must laugh when watching old movies that are set in a workplace: … A warehouse owner gets an urgent call on the landline in his grim little office, stands up after barking some orders, throws on his coat, and stomps out to “deal with things.”

Fast forward to today. There’s often no dedicated landline, conversations are happening via text or another real-time app, and most likely there’s no grim little office or physical site where management goes to “deal with things.”

Most professionals would agree that the flexibility, creativity, and exciting pace of today’s virtual work world is far preferable to yesteryear’s slow-moving, manual environment until it dawns on them that they are probably handling more decisions and tasks in one day than most people born a generation ago handled in one year.

In fact, on average adults make more than 35,000 decisions per day. Imagine what that number of decisions could be for a corporate leader or project manager?

Welcome to the era of digital transformation. Not a trend, false hope, boogeyman, or instant savior, the current tech revolution is instead a transformative force that is pulling every last organization in America out of ye old times and into the modern era. From whippy dips and dollar stores to Amazon and Walmart, transformative technologies are now integrated at all levels.

In this post, we cover how the digital transformation is changing how organizations address strategy optimization, why it is important to harness the power of tech, how digital migration impacts project managers, and why selecting the right solution is the key to realizing significant business upsides.

What is Digital Transformation?

Digital transformation is the integration of digital tech into the business functions of an organization. It leverages the accuracy, accountability, and precision of digital technology to improve business systems and foster efficiency and operational agility throughout an organization.

A successful digital transformation strategy is an important characteristic and helps foster a synergistic environment that focuses on successful outcomes and projects, efficient business processes, and seamless interaction among team members.

Why Is Digital Transformation So Important?

Digital transformation is an easy concept to understand but a tough one to implement. These struggles come from a lack of activating the entire business. According to IDG’s recent MarketPulse survey, almost 1 in 5 line of business users who could be involved in digital transformation are not doing so.

The first step is to seamless integration is to understand why digital transformation is important.

The simple truth is that companies that create and implement a digital transformation plan see higher revenues, increased performance, and better customer retention due to on-time project delivery.

Accenture’s Technology Vision 2021 report found that the top ten percent of companies leading tech innovation achieve two to three times the revenue growth compared with their competitors. The same survey also revealed:

  • Nine of ten businesses (90%) and IT executives agree that to be agile and resilient their organizations need to fast forward their digital transformation with cloud at its core.
  • Two-thirds (63%) of executives report the pace of digital transformation for their organization is accelerating.
  • Better than nine of ten (93%) executives say their organization innovated with urgency and a call to action in 2021.

Another plus for integrating tech can be found inside the organization. Digital transformation helps make communication more streamlined and improves collaboration among team members and the chain. At the same time, it shifts the focus from business processes to measurable results.

By layering tech onto a company’s traditional processes, management is giving a green light to its employees to spend more time on creativity, experimentation, and future-facing goals—and less time dealing with old-school project forms and reporting.

Is Your Operation Ready for a Digital Transformation?

It’s easy to see why a company would want to engage in a digital transformation but many falter just outside the doorway to success by not preparing properly.

According to the Technology Vision 2021 report: “For years, enterprises have been optimistic in their self-assessments, thinking they’re further along in their digital transformations than they really are.”

Why is this? Because while tech is developing and being integrated into company processes by leaps and bounds, leadership and gumption lag.

“Leading in the uncertain future will require companies to become Experts at Change. … If businesses continue to have a clear-eyed perspective and sharp focus on their expedited digital transformations, reimagining everything from their people, to data, architectures, and ecosystems, they can emerge as leaders.” says the report’s authors.

Preparing for digitization starts with company leadership deciding to make a comprehensive business shift. This isn’t a decision that is made lightly because the transformation could cause disruptions in the way the company does business—from how it sources its breakroom coffee to how it manages line items in multi-million dollar contracts. The transformation could potentially upset employees who dislike change or cause hiccups with suppliers and partners.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Changing project management to accommodate more automation doesn’t have to alter a company’s culture, changes must be carefully thought out and communicated throughout the company before rolling out a comprehensive change.

Perhaps most important, project managers and other key members of the management team must be identified and given the time and tools to migrate the entire organization to a new digital era.

Digital Transformation in Project Management

Digital transformation is changing how project managers work. While project managers have always been responsible for planning, procurement, and execution of projects, they are also on the front line of adopting new project management solutions.

In fact, most project managers have already adopted process automation and workflow tech, even if it is just in a few areas, like reporting or scheduling. And most of them understand that their project management role can be enhanced by the use of digital project management platforms.

Digital Transformation’s Impact on Project Management

Here are six ways digitization is escalating the move to additional tech-based solutions and is changing project management roles. Many organizations now find:

1. Collaboration Is Hyper-Streamlined

New digital tools allow real-time collaboration among all members of a project without faulty email chains or excessive Zoom meetings. A higher level of collaboration driven by project managers fosters better relationships, more time for creative blue-skying, and higher employee retention.

2. Communication Among Project Team Members Is More Efficient

Virtual communication is here to stay, thanks in no small part to COVID-19’s impact on physical gathering and remote work. The former star of communication, email, is now being supplanted by real-time communication tools to facilitate instantaneous communication from physical office buildings to remote offices.

3. Allocating and Managing Resources Is Easier

Project managers need to see what is happening instantaneously. Digital tools with sophisticated interfaces allow this. They can manage resources, assign tasks, and check any number of project-related stats via digital tools.

4. Results Now Trump Process

Gone are the days when a project manager would spend the majority of the day trying to make people adhere to their processes and reports. In today’s digital world, it’s all about supporting work that delivers quantifiable results.

5. Decisions Are Made Via Data, Not Guesswork

The more digitized a company, the more big data and key performance indicators it commands to make decisions. Once data is in one location and easy to access and analyze, it represents a gold mine of information for project management, labor analyses, and budget projections.

This valuable information can also be used when changing project management processes related to reports, compliance documents, and other information-related assets.

6. Project Teams and Team Members Show Ownership

Collaboration is a key perk of enhanced digital capabilities, and it does more than just help the internal project team or company, it imbues a sense of ownership in every person who has a seat in the tech platform. Once users understand how their individual cog impacts the company wheel, they will more likely see areas for improvement, be able to forecast and schedule their project workloads more effectively, plan future initiatives, and feel more integral to the project management team as they see the successful project outcomes achieved by the company.

What Role Does Tech Play In Successful Digital Transformation?

Digital transformation requires a deep level of planning by upper management. While the transition to new tech may feel inevitable, transforming traditional organizations into digital powerhouses will not happen by sheer executive muscle or by relying on off-the-shelf digital capabilities. And here’s where leaders who want to keep up with the digital revolution need to tread carefully with their digital transformation strategy.

First, choosing the right tech path requires an intimate understanding of corporate processes and culture and marrying that important knowledge with the right platform that can work seamlessly within it. The leaders and experts of any business are best suited to lead the digital transformation charge and achieve high success rates.

The best way to do this is to rely on the concept of citizen developers. These people, who are essentially leaders and stakeholders in a field, are the most likely to dream up, create, and integrate solutions that can work within their given area of expertise. Putting tech directly into the hands of these citizen developers will pay big dividends when it comes to the successful digital transformation of traditional businesses.

No-code solutions like Quickbase give the power to citizen developers in a way no other legacy or ERP solution can. Quickbase allows users to create flexible custom solutions that can evolve as a business morphs and can be automated across digital channels, connecting people, data, and systems.

Quickbase has long understood that digital transformation is changing how workflows and management needs, including these three important areas:

Customizable Dashboards

The ability to organize dashboards enables project managers to see in real-time how it is impacting projects, budgets, personnel issues, and more. Being able to set up these dashboards to see only the information that is relevant to the team simplifies and streamlines processes and fosters smart decision making.

A Single Source of Truth

Quickbase provides a single source of trusted information by gathering the information of projects into one place. Siloed technologies exist in all companies to some extent, but a good software solution will allow you to connect them into an easy-to-access, real-time portal that is accessible by all team members.

Flexible Workflows

Digital transformation means ultimate flexibility. If your project management solution doesn’t enable you to build out custom workflows and tools easily and quickly–and just as quickly dismantle or change them–you are not participating in the digital future.

Conclusion

One statistic from the Technology Vision 2021 report underscores the impact that the digital transformation is having across all industries: 83 percent of executives agree that their organization’s business and technology strategies are becoming inseparable—even indistinguishable.

This indicates that companies acquiring technology solutions with robust capabilities that allow them to flow with business changes and technological innovations will have more successful outcomes and emerge as undisputed leaders in their industries.

FAQs

What are the 4 main areas of digital transformation?

The 4 main areas of digital transformation are:

  1. Process transformation – changing the elements of an organization’s process to achieve new goals, harness data, and make a positive business impact.
  2. Business model transformation – reinventing and augmenting a businesses model to take advantage of new opportunities and customers.
  3. Domain transformation – redefining or blurring industry boundaries that allow non-traditional competitors to compete in a new market domain.
  4. Cultural/organizational transformation – bringing the traditional values and behaviors of a business seamlessly along with digital adoption.

What challenges are associated with digital transformation?

The biggest challenge to digital transformation is aligning new technology to the traditional culture, tools, and processes of an organization.

Why is digital transformation so important?

Digital transformation is important to remain competitive. Critical strategic decisions can help companies implement a transformation plan that puts more focus on successful projects, customers’ interests, positive team interactions, higher revenues, and better customer retention.

What are the 6 core elements of digital transformation?

The 6 six core elements of digital transformation are Analytics, Customer Experience, Governance and Leadership, People and Operations, Tech Integration, Digital Literacy.

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This post was originally published on the Quickbase blog.

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