Digital transformation is upon us. Organisations are moving towards digital at a rapid pace, with 87% of businesses are considering digital transformation in their capital-allocation plans for 2017.

And for good reason. Digital transformation is set to have a huge impact on the way businesses work and deliver services to their clients. So what can businesses expect when they embark on their digital transformation journey?

In this post, five experts share their experiences of the challenges their organisations have faced undergoing digital transformation, and how they have overcome these challenges and succeeded in bringing the benefits of digital transformation into their organisations.

Sacha Ferrandi, Founder and CIO of Source Capital Funding, Inc, experts in real estate investing, operating in Minnesota, California, and Arizona.

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Resistance to change is one of the biggest problems during a digital transformation. This is especially true for companies with employees that have been in the same role for many years.

One of the best ways to encourage a digital transformation of any kind is by positioning the change in a way to include employee "Perks" that are associated with the digital change. Of course business owners can force their employees to make a change, but the process will go over much smoother and have a better impact on the company if the employees are engaged and ready to participate.

These perks can come in the form of financial incentives, additional time off for training, or even a flexible work from home set-up. The digital transition should remove stress from your employees and positively impact your bottom line. Just make sure to give back to your employees for making the change!​

Brett Cortese, founder, president and CEO of Universal Mind, an independent, digital consulting and services firm focused on enhancing human experiences and solving problems through technology.

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Now more than ever, businesses are recognising they need to evolve digitally in order to survive in a competitive marketplace. Many companies were built before the digital age and some still need to transform in just a few areas or company-wide and may find the idea daunting.

What steps need to be taken to begin a solid digital transformation?

  1. Create personalised and value-centric experiences for the customer on demand. Examples: A new app that helps a customer make a purchase or get customer support; Delivering an email with deals on their favourite products.
  2. Address friction points of your employees and your customers. It will help you prioritise digital solutions to create company efficiencies like data collection, but also deliver a seamless, 360-degree user experience.
  3. Understand the connection between people, business and technology. One cannot survive without the other two. How do they work together for your company? Your answer to that can help put your company on course for its digital evolution, which will drive business value.

Kean Graham, CEO of MonetizeMore, a leading ad tech firm that is a Google Certified Partner.

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Our business is transforming from an outsourced ad operations company (mostly manual processes) to an ad technology company. We are automating our manual processes and improving our company's performance for our clients with technology that can increase the frequency of optimisation, the granularity of calculations and improve the innovation of optimisation tactics.

This has been ground breaking for us because our scalability has grown and we are outperforming our competitors significantly. I would advise other entrepreneurs that go through similar transformation to be careful what you automate. Do not compromise on performance or quality just to automate something. Be clever with your automation and what you choose to automate.

Liesha Eggink, User Adoption Manager for Microsoft O365. She has been working in change teams moving organisations such as Unilever, Burberry, Aviva Insurance etc to the digital workplace for the last seven years.

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I’ve seen some organisations embrace digital transformation and make dramatic and successful changes, and I’ve seen others who have not been as successful.

The main thing that sets them apart, in my opinion, is vision from senior leadership. Adopting the digital workplace is an organisation-wide change. It’s not something that can be IT led and be successful.

Changes that the digital workplace brings are wider than IT. There are HR, facilities, financial and strategic implications and opportunities to name a few.

Organisations that realise that it needs to be a ‘whole of organisation’ change make the change more successfully as everyone is ‘walking the talk’, the change messages are clearer to employees and the new way of working get embedded faster and in a more positive way.

Dmytro Moroz, Digital Marketing Strategist at Kanbanize - the most advanced Kanban board software.

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Ironically, our team works on an advanced digital Kanban board solution - the very same tool that drives the digital transformation in our company and helps many others. However, building the product that helps organise work, automate and optimise business processes, does not save us from some challenges that come with the digital transformation.

Initial Adoption Challenges

A mere fact that you have a system now doesn't mean much. People need to embrace the change, not just accept it. Your digital systems have to be used and used to the fullest. Transition period might be a bit turbulent as people will keep forgetting to click some buttons but you need to be patient. Lead your team through the adoption process and teach them to make the most of your systems.

Engaging remote employees

With digital workplaces come remote employees. To keep your remote workers engaged and committed, you need to literally schedule in your calendar some intentional personal communication time (either in-person or online) to give and collect feedback, discuss ideas, current state of things and just socialise.

Knowledge Management

Having distributed teams means managing and sharing knowledge within the team gets even harder. To avoid having to answer the same questions again and again and to help newcomers onboard faster, we started our own discussion boards. This way we share everything from answers to FAQ, how-tos about processes and tools we use, to harder and department-specific questions on development techniques, best practices, and expert knowledge sharing.