The key takeaways to keep in mind for digital transformation in 2021 and beyond.

Digital transformation (DX or DT) will continue into 2021. And the COVID pandemic has served to accelerate this already established technology trend. Organizations, especially large enterprise companies, will benefit from embracing this new reality and maintain focus on three key areas: (1) Technology, (2) Processes and (3) People.

Technology & Digital Transformation

Technological advances will always continue to accelerate in an exponential fashion as we move forward in time. There is no escaping this fact and this can sometimes feel overwhelming, even for the technology-types that live and breathe technological evolution daily. 

Beyond the obvious fact that it is important to keep tech-savvy and current, C-level management and their key IT reports need to keep three critical priorities front and center in all their decision-making processes. Their Telecom Expense Management provider should be working hand-in-glove with the internal company management team to focus on the following areas:

  1. Best-in-class technology: Organizations naturally need to give significant thought to their overall business strategy and the underlying corresponding tactics that they intend on employing. As an extension of this planning, truly competitive organizations will ask themselves a few key questions relative to their Technology Expense Management efforts:

    a. What is the right technology to leverage to best support our business approach?

    b. Are the devices and services that we are purchasing hitting the right balance between best-in-class requirements and our core communications needs? (You may not always require best-in-class technology, but if you do not, you will want to know what will suffice because of thoughtful consideration rather than by random default. Wherever critical, you will want to go with the best-in-class choice.)

    For example, is my Managed Mobility services team optimizing for the right types of devices and best-in-breed plans available?

  2. Technology Implementation: It is not enough to select the right technologies for your organization, you need to make the proper investment of resources to ensure that you implement the technology properly. It is more common than many would realize, just how many organizations take the time to research technology but then fall short in terms of proper implementation and subsequent use of said technology.Again, the best organizations ensure that the technologies that they choose align to their overall business objectives; they do not simply choose a product/service because it is in vogue. Finally, they also do not lose sight of the fact that the chosen technologies can only be as effective if they are properly implemented and supported by adequate resources. If you are partnering with a Telecom Expense Management company, lean on them for their expertise.

  3. Right/Strong Partnerships: The focus here needs to be on quality, not quantity. Some organizations delude themselves into thinking that the more relationships they have the better off they will be. This type of thinking is a big mistake. The wrong partners can waste time for all parties involved and – even worse – they can potentially damage your brand by your involvement and/or association with them if they are not properly vetted and reveal themselves to be bad actors.Partnerships can add tremendous value to your organization but only if there is real solid fit and genuine alignment across all key considerations relative to performance and brand integrity. This is especially true when considering a TEM provider to partner with; it is important to proceed with caution and do your proper due diligence.

Processes & Digital Transformation

Effective use of powerful technology is key to business success, but this is not enough. Without effective and efficient business processes to leverage the technology properly, you will not extract maximum value from the technological investment. Strong business processes are the second of the three main levers that management must deploy properly to be successful in any complex business operation, especially an endeavor as nuanced and complex as digital transformation. Considerations for your internal team and/or current TEM provider if you have one:

  1. Existing Processes: Clarity around the current state must be achieved to determine the best path forward. Clearly identity the current state, interim state, and more ideal future state. Map a plan for forward movement and then work through it. There will be mistakes and fumbles but do not make much of it. Learn and then get up and keep advancing. Make this part of your daily process and digital transformation will take on a speed that may surprise your entire team.

    For example, if you are working with a TEM provider that is providing Wireless Expense Management (WEM) services or Mobile Device Management (MDM) support, are they leveraging best-in-class proactive processes?

  2. DX Priorities & Automation: Prioritize processes that span multiple departments and teams. We believe that cross departmental data flow stands to gain the most from workflow automation. It is worth the effort for your internal team to huddle with your Telecom Expense Management firm to confirm how they are tackling this important digital transformation area.

  3. Low Hanging Fruit & DX Automation: While it is imperative to understand and align overall business objectives, focus on the easy wins first. Automation of specific labor-intensive and mundane tasks will help kickstart and maintain engagement for successful digital transformation.
    For example, are your Telecom Audit teams automating first-level reviews of your company invoicing?

People & Digital Transformation

It is a cliché but cliches are often cliches for a reason. You can have the best technology and most sophisticated business processes, but if you do not have the right people, it is all for not. In the end, any organization can only be as good as its people. Three areas to consider top-of-mind:

  1. Engage: It is critical that management consistently engage with all employees, partners, and customers. It is this feedback which will drive the best decisions around digital transformational change and the most effective Technology Expense Management.

  2. Adoption: Keep very close to your employees and seek to solicit their input whenever possible. They will be on the front line here so their honest input will be key to iterating and pivoting most effectively with respect to DX / DT organizational changes. 

    You will find that much of their honest input can be truly invaluable to your newly acquired TEM Provider that is in in the process of learning best how to implement the most effective Managed Mobility solutions for your organization.

  3. Resistance: There will always be some that will want to do things the old way because “that’s always what we’ve done.” Encourage these folks to embrace change and growth, for themselves and the Telecom Expense Management provider your organization may be partnering with. Gently remind them that it is better to surf the wave of technology change than to be crushed by it.

In sum, the future is amongst us. It is now. Organizations can maximize their agency and live best in the present by leaning forward and fully embracing digital transformation.

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