Originally published on BetaNews.com.

Companies worldwide across all industries are enacting digital transformation (DX) initiatives—and for good reason. If completed successfully, modern technology implementation drives competitive advantage and makes business operations much more real-time.

However, the journey to the DX finish line is unfortunately sometimes much more of sprint than a marathon, as speed is the currency for organizations to complete the process.

This begs the question: how can business leaders implement swift digital transformation while reaping the success and benefits these initiatives promise? We spoke with Jamshid Rezaei, CIO of business communications at Mitel, to get the answer to this and other DX-related questions.

What advice do you have for organizations looking to develop a successful digital transformation strategy?

First and foremost, understand that any digital transformation effort is about your organization's technology, but it's also about your people and data. Companies need to include and empower their employees when it comes to their DX journeys and make them active participants in this transition. In order to make things clear for these people, you must create attainable goals for teams across all levels. And, most importantly for companies who consider customers their number one priority, ask if this will ultimately benefit the customer. If the answer is no, you should look to reprioritize the initiatives ahead.

You mention companies should look to empower their employees on their digital transformation journeys. How exactly do they do this?

Many think DX is a one-time project, when in reality it's a continuous effort that requires a culture shift in the organization such that employees are open to change. In order to empower employees during this process, companies should first do whatever they can to help them be as productive as possible. Provide employees with the right tools for productivity and collaboration to enable their communications with each other and automate processes that don’t require a human touch to relieve their workloads.

Aligning on objectives seems easier said than done. How can business leaders establish clear goals and communicate these goals to their teams?

So glad you asked this because I firmly believe the industry does not discuss this DX step nearly as often as we should. It’s common for business leaders to jump right into the execution of an initiative, but that could be their biggest mistake. For the strongest foundation and direction, teams need to ask themselves what they are hoping to achieve with their DX. Additionally, what is the focus of the individual projects that make up the process? Fostering customer success? Building partner relationships? While this may create more upfront work, companies will avoid internal friction and have clear benchmarks for success. Identifying the end goal will help to better prioritize projects and keep teams on track.

What mistakes have you seen companies make in their digital transformation that you would caution others against?

More than half of digital transformations are being led by IT teams. This might sound like it makes perfect sense, but it actually might be a company’s downfall. IT is best equipped to handle the technology transformation; however, it’s important to pair these tech-focused people with more business-minded people who understand customers' needs and the organization's goals. To address this during our digital transformation at Mitel, we created an IT Business Technology group that brings together the skills of business-focused professionals with the smarts of IT experts.

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Jamshid Rezaei

Chief Information Officer

Jamshid is responsible for driving Mitel’s information technology (IT) initiatives, as well as developing and executing Mitel’s own digital transformation efforts. A passionate driver of change and innovation, Jamshid has been at the forefront of digital technology implementation in business communications for nearly two decades. In 2017, Jamshid was named an IDG Computerworld Premier 100 Technology Leader, recognized for his exceptional leadership and innovative approach to business. In addition, Jamshid holds an Information Technology Diploma from CDI College of Business and Technology (Toronto, Canada) and is a member of the CIO Association of Canada.

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