Over the last few years, DocuSign’s leadership team has used its annual MOMENTUM conference keynote speech as an opportunity to introduce attendees to the company’s newest and most innovative ideas and tools. At MOMENTUM’14, DocuSign announced the creation of the xDTM Standard, which offered DocuSigners and all electronic signature users enhanced security standards for digital transaction management. During MOMENTUM’15, the firm revealed the partnership between its DocuSign Impact Foundation and the Special Olympics. This past April, the keynote speech at MOMENTUM’16 focused on the power of transformation and introduced the five ingredients necessary for a company to overcome Failed Transformation Traumatic Syndrome, or FTTS.
The DocuSign team understands the benefits of a company undergoing digital transformation, but it also knows the effects of failing to make the transition successfully. To remain competitive on the modern market after a failed digital transformation, companies should make sure that they have the following five ingredients in place in order to overcome the effects of FTTS and get back in the game:
Without strong, visionary leaders, companies will fail any attempt at digital transformation. The process of making the switch to digital requires much more than just putting new tools and technology in place—it also requires an overhaul of the way that a company conducts its business and interacts with its customers.
According to a study conducted in 2015, the top-five most important characteristics in a digital leader include determination, boldness, an innovative approach to business, the ability to disrupt productively, and finely honed social and interpersonal skills. When a company is trying to prevent itself from coming down with a case of FTTS, it needs the direction of a leader that is willing to make the big changes necessary in spite of uncertainty. It also needs a leader who can clearly communicate and engage with his or her staff in order to make sure all employees are prepared to undertake the transformation process, and that they understand the value that going digital provides.
Digital transformation is about altering the way that a company does business in order to increase business velocity and customer satisfaction. To attain these desired results, a company must first make investments in carefully chosen technologies that support its specific needs. Some companies that find themselves faced with the effects of Failed Transformation Traumatic Syndrome mistakenly think that digital transformation is about simply updating archaic internal hardware and processes, but this is false.
To surmount FTTS, a company must choose technologies with the goal of digital transformation in mind: to enhance the customer experience through speed and quality products and services. For example, Microsoft used DocuSign to facilitate its transition to paperless operations, but found itself incorporating the DocuSign Digital Transaction Management platform directly into its Microsoft Office program within the last two years. This investment in DocuSign technology allows Office users to employ digital signature directly within the program—a feature that directly benefits Microsoft customers.
In order to fight back against FTTS and promote a company’s prosperity into the future, digital leaders must also adopt the right mindset for making real, transformative change happen. Executives who lead businesses through true digital transformation need to have a mindset that is driven to find simplicity in even the most routine processes. All leaders within the company must not only be willing to change the procedures and processes that have kept the company running in the past, they must also be willing to redevelop any company culture that is resistant to change.
Change is at the heart of digital transformation, and only those willing to embrace this concept will be able to harness the power that going digital can yield.
With so many changes happening at once, trust plays an integral role in the successful transition to digital. Especially when faced with the pressure that comes with falling behind or losing market position, having trusted leaders, employees, and partners to depend on can be what makes or breaks the entire endeavor. Company leaders must have trusted employees that they believe have the ability to think and act in a way that is conducive to digital transformation. Without the support of employees, change can’t happen, because they will be the ones who implement the changes that leaders lay out for them.
Simultaneously, employees must trust in the vision of company leadership and believe in the change that these executives want to make. Confident leaders who clearly communicate plans and goals inspire staff members to undertake a project as sizeable as digital transformation without holding too long onto traditional processes. At the same time, the company as a whole needs to trust in the business partners that it chooses to aid in the process of digital transformation.
Finally, one of the most important aspects of fighting off Failed Transformation Traumatic Syndrome is speed. Speed is the new currency of business, and digital transformation enables a company to do more, using fewer resources, in shorter periods of time. Leaders must implement speed into a company’s operations in smart ways that yield significant results and eventually deliver to customers the products and services they want in less time than ever before.
To avoid FTTS, companies must also consider speed when starting the process of digital transformation, because those who put off the project might end up succumbing to disruption. Taking steps to digitize is an imperative in the digital age, and those who choose to disregard the need for speed in the transformative process, as well as in business, will not remain competitive.