Explaining the Value of Digital Transformation to Technology illiterate Executives

Written By: Kyler Cheatham
Date: September 13, 2022

As the business world increasingly goes digital, it's more important than ever for companies to have a clear and effective digital transformation strategy. But what if your company's executives are technology illiterate? How can you explain the value of digital transformation in a way that they'll understand?

In many ways, being less tech-savvy can be an advantage when it comes to digital transformation. Technology illiterate executives are often more open to change and more willing to embrace new ideas. They're also less likely to be married to outdated ways of doing things and more likely to be receptive to new technologies that can help their business succeed.

The key is to focus on the business benefits of digital transformation, rather than the technology itself. For example, you might explain how a new digital customer management system can help the company improve customer satisfaction or how a new e-commerce platform can help boost sales. By focusing on the business benefits, you'll be more likely to get buy-in from technology illiterate executives.

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Consider Their Prospective

An executive who began their career in the 1980s probably doesn't have the same level of experience with digital technologies as someone who started their career in the 2000s. As a result, it's important to consider the massive shift in technology that has occurred throughout an older executive's career when trying to explain the value of digital transformation.

An executive who is used to working with analog technologies is likely to be more resistant to change than someone who is used to working with digital technologies. As such, it's important to focus on the advantages of digital transformation and how it can help the company succeed in the modern business world.

Digital transformation can bring massive benefits to a company, but only if it's executed properly. If you're trying to explain the value of digital transformation to technology illiterate executives, it's important to focus on the business benefits and not get bogged down in the details of the technology itself. By doing so, you'll be more likely to get buy-in from decision-makers and help your company successfully navigate the digital age.

Consider Their Job

The role of an executive is to holistically serve the entire company. In other words, they need to make decisions that will help the company as a whole, not just one department or another. As such, it's important to explain how digital transformation can benefit the company as a whole, rather than just a specific department or team.

For example, if you're trying to get buy-in for a new customer management system, don't just focus on how it will benefit the sales team. Instead, explain how it will improve customer satisfaction levels company-wide or how it will help the company save money on customer support costs. By taking a holistic approach, you'll be more likely to get the executive's attention and secure their support for your digital transformation initiative.

Digital transformation can be a difficult sell to technology illiterate executives, but it's not impossible. By focusing on the business benefits and taking a holistic approach, you'll be more likely to get the executive team on board with your digital transformation strategy.

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Use Real-World Examples

When trying to explain the concept of digital transformation to someone who is technology illiterate, it can be helpful to use real-world examples. This will help them understand the potential benefits of digital transformation and how it can be applied to their own business.

For example, you might explain how Amazon used digital technologies to transform the retail industry or how Uber used digital technologies to disrupt the taxi market. By using real-world examples, you'll be able to more effectively explain the value of digital transformation and help the executive see how it can benefit their own company.

Explain what digital transformation is in simple terms. Talk about how it can help the company achieve its goals and improve its bottom line. Use real-world examples to illustrate your points. Once you have the executive's attention, you can start to get into the details of how digital transformation can be implemented at their company.

The Devil is in the Data

Come to the table armed with data that support your need or the problem you are solving with any new technology. The best way to engage an executive, or anyone for that matter, is with proof. Data does not have to be boring, it can be beautiful. Find a way to make your data pop and tell a story with it.

To make a compelling case for digital transformation, you'll need to have data that supports your claims. otherwise, you'll just be talking theory.

For example, if you're trying to get buy-in for a new customer management system, show the executive team how much time and money the company is currently losing due to inefficiencies in the current system. This will help them see the concrete benefits of digital transformation and how it can help the company save money and improve its bottom line.

Don't try to sell digital transformation to an executive team without having solid data to back up your claims. Otherwise, you'll just be talking theory and you're unlikely to get the support you need for your initiative.

This should include forecasting and future KPIs that will be positively impacted by digital transformation. Show them what the company could achieve if it implements your proposed solution. Help them see the potential benefits of digital transformation and how it can help the company reach its goals.

Digital transformation can be a tough sell, but if you have data to back up your claims, you'll be more likely to get the executive team on board.

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Alignment with Core Company Goals and Culture

Showcase the full journey to achieving the maximum business value and strategic goals. Define what success looks like and how you'll get there.

Most importantly, make sure that your digital transformation initiative is aligned with the company's core goals and values. This will help you get buy-in from the executive team and other stakeholders.

For example, if the company's goal is to improve customer satisfaction levels, then your digital transformation initiative should be focused on improving the customer experience. Similarly, if the company values innovation, then your initiative should be focused on introducing new technologies that will help the company stay ahead of the competition.

Create a roadmap on how these new systems or processes will support the achievement of company cultural shifting and business objectives. Do this by having a clear goal, and then reverse engineering the steps necessary to get there. This will help you get buy-in from the executive team and other stakeholders.

Be Honest, and Set Clear Expectations

Being transparent that digital transformations and new technology can be challenging, and that changes will need to be made for the company to fully benefit, will help set the right expectations with the executive team.

It's important to be transparent about the challenges of digital transformation and new technology. Set clear expectations with the executive team so they know what they're getting into. Explain that changes will need to be made for the company to fully benefit from the initiative.

Be honest about the potential risks and challenges involved in digital transformation. But also highlight the potential rewards and benefits. Help the executive team see that the risks are worth taking if it means achieving the company's goals.

In Conclusion

You can achieve digital transformation success with executives that are not the most tech-savvy, but you need to be able to explain the business reasons and objectives for why the change is needed. Be clear, be transparent, set expectations, and most importantly – have data to back up your claims!

If you have any questions or want to brainstorm how to best talk about digital transformation to your executive team, please feel free to reach out to me at kyler.cheatham@thirdstage-consulting.com. I am happy to be an informal sounding board and support your technology journey.

I also highly recommend you download our newly released 2023 Digital Transformation Report which goes into more detail about the digital transformation landscape.

Author:
Kyler Cheatham
Kyler Cheatham is a digital artist and innovator who is always thinking of new ways to improve the world around her. As the Global Marketing Director at Third Stage Consulting, she uses her creativity and tech-savvyness to help businesses reach their target audiences. Kyler is also a thought leader in the digital marketing space, and she loves sharing her knowledge with others. She is also a mother of two young children, which has given her a unique perspective on balancing work and family life.
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