> BY MUTSUKI TOMONO, PRESIDENT & CEO, FUJI XEROX ASIA PACIFIC PTE LTD

A successful digital transformation journey is like music—fluid, seamless, with every part contributing to the purpose and vision of the piece. The thought of conducting your masterpiece—your digital transformation journey—can be overwhelming. The secret is in the leadership and preparation. How you begin the journey will make all the difference.

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HOW CAN LEADERS LAY THE GROUNDWORK FOR SUCCESSFUL DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION?

A common mistake is to rush into the process, jumping straight into the technological aspect of digital transformation. At Fuji Xerox, to set up our customers for success, we begin with assessments to identify underlying issues, discover client insights, and shed light on the bigger picture.

Digging deep in the beginning and truly understanding the business needs are key to success in the long run. Without understanding what the fundamental issues are, you cannot implement a fluid digital transformation journey.

KEY ELEMENTS TO STARTING THE JOURNEY RIGHT:

  1. PEOPLE-CENTRED CHANGE MANAGEMENT

Digital transformation is a major transition period in the life of your organisation. People have varied responses to change—and most of it will naturally be resistance and hesitation. Plan how to communicate clearly with your workforce to help them understand the vision. Then you will need to prepare them for process change and provide the help needed for them to integrate new technology into their existing systems, as well as manage the impact on working style and expectations.

  1. SETTING YOUR OBJECTIVES

I fly a remote-control aircraft as a hobby. When I buy an RC aircraft, I can choose the most affordable one, or perhaps the fastest one. However, I cannot make the right choice unless I know what I need the aircraft to do.

When starting a digital transformation journey, identify what your objective is. That will allow you to channel your investments toward the right solutions. Digital transformation does not revolve around technology. People are at the wheel, guided by goals and objectives. When we forget the leadership roles we play, we can fall into the trap of blindly investing in the next new thing because everyone else has it.

For example, the rise of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics created a wave of excitement at the prospect of acquiring new technological superpowers. Leaders rushed into investing in new software, without enough evaluation on how they would contribute to the overall goal. As a result, such businesses witnessed an under utilisation of their technology and resources.

  1. CREATING A ROADMAP

Creating a roadmap may take time, but “slow is fast.” When you rush into something without a plan, you are bound to fail and have to repeat the process. But, when you take time to plan, execution flows smoothly. A roadmap will help you get from point to point and to stay on track with each milestone planned. Do not rush into technology, but do not take too long to decide either. Finding the correct balance is one of the biggest challenges for business leaders.

  1. ENSURING AVAILABILITY OF SKILLED STAFF / KEY STAFF

Another common scenario is going all-in in digital transformation, only to realise later on that you are understaffed or that preparations were not made for the team to execute the plan, or to be equipped to do so. Leaders often overlook evaluating whether they have the right mix of people to lead the team through a digital age. You can have the best automation tools, but you need people who are agile and flexible, and who can work in ever-changing scenarios. Building a workforce that can respond to unexpected interruptions, troubleshoot, adjust to what is needed, and innovate as you go is critical in successfully digitalizing a business.

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  1. FIND THE RIGHT PARTNER

Find a partner with the experience and ability to recognise issues, propose the right solutions and provide the capability to support your needs. The road to digital transformation will not be easy, but a dependable partner with depth and breadth will guide you on the right path.

At Fuji Xerox, we are partners who listen. We take time to ask questions and help customers understand the complexities of the process, define, prioritise and scope business issues. We work with them to schedule each milestone. We prepare them for the post-automation impact, and advise on change impact. And we journey with them even further—we stay involved after deployment, proposing ways to improve their business, and set them up for sustainability and greater growth.

Digital transformation is not just about technology—it is about people and partnership. Technology is changing with greater and greater speed. But ironically, to be successful amidst technological change, my advice is to slow down. When you slow down, you see with better clarity and think with greater wisdom. This prepares you to plan with purpose, and ensure that every step your team takes and every decision made contributes to the success of the journey and closer to your vision for the future of the company.

Partnership with APAC CIO Outlook