By Vlad Collak, PDI

We’re all talking about it. Digital Transformation.

The problem is, if you don’t take the time to talk about the end goals at the start of the digital transformation journey, you’re setting your business up for disappointment.

Businesses should approach digital transformation with as much care and planning as all other aspects of their companies. While it’s a hot topic, don’t give in to the peer pressure without taking some time to evaluate the ‘why’ behind your decision.


Setting Clear Expectations

Let’s start with a few quick questions—what are you expecting out of digital transformation? Is it retaining your current customers or attracting new ones? Increased customer loyalty? Time savings? Money savings? Without a clear picture of the outcome you want to achieve, you’ll be falling into the category of businesses who “do digital transformation” but are never sure if their efforts were successful.

To ensure your efforts reach the goals you’re aiming for, it’s important to understand how closely tied your digital transformation journey should be to your customer’s journey. So, take a moment and consider, how do you imagine the customer journey? Or, in other words, how do you want customers to perceive your business?

After you’ve defined your customer journey, it’s important to align your vision and mission to this path as well, which in turn informs your strategy and goals. But remember, the customer journey doesn’t start the moment a consumer walks through the door of your convenience store. From the ads, mobile interaction, personalized promotions, and every customer touchpoint, you have to evaluate the customer’s needs and determine the best way to answer.

Without the proper consideration, be prepared to fall claim to the following pitfalls.


A Few Risks to Consider

  • It’s not the answer to every problem. While it may seem like it, digital transformation is not an end-all-be-all solution for your business’s potential problems. The success of your business depends on various factors. Your company’s digital ability and capability are just an important piece of the larger puzzle. Success depends on many pieces coming together to build the final image that is presented to customers.
  • It must be well-planned. Executing a digital transformation requires input from leaders across your business and a tight collaboration with your IT team. And keep in mind that the changes you implement are part of a larger evolution of your business, not a revolution. Small changes and improvements over time are critical for a strong transformation.
  • It should be tied to value. It’s not about having the newest and latest innovation, despite how appealing that sounds to all of us. Digital Transformation should be directly tied to your business outcomes and customer experience. It should take into consideration the readiness of your industry, as well. You don’t want to implement changes that ultimately aren’t beneficial.
  • It should be a balanced effort. Investing in new technology is critical but remember that you still have existing systems and processes in place. It’s important to understand the right balance of necessary updates and changes alongside optimizing the procedures and technology that work well for your business today.


How to Start the Digital Transformation Journey

After considering the above risks, it’s time to begin your digital transformation journey. Only, it can be difficult to know when and where to start.

It’s vital that you find a partner to help you through the process. To reiterate, digital transformation isn’t a plug-and-play or one-size-fits-all type of solution. It’s an ongoing process that requires well-planned goals and strategy, well-thought-out implementation, and a balance of technology and people.

Your ultimate goal should be end-to-end visibility through integrated systems with ease of access to visibility across your operations and business. With access to data at this level, you’ll have the ability to optimize your operations through business insights and execute strategies that provide customers with the exact experience they’re looking to have with your brand.

Just remember—digital transformation is a journey. It’s not a destination. It’s no longer something that IT invests in to help ‘keep the lights on’ for your company. It’s an important part of your business and how you can thrive in a digital economy.


Vlad Collak is the vice president of Engineering, Innovation and Platform for PDI. PDI is a leader in enterprise management software for the convenience retail and petroleum wholesale markets, delivers solutions to connect to intelligent business. For more information: