The world around us is changing at a rapid rate. Manufacturing is growing through the addition of new digital technologies and because of that, the need to focus on quality is ever so important. You can’t carelessly implement technologies and processes without quality teams being involved. While the argument for cloud security is also valid in terms of driving digital transformation, quality is the fundamental first step in achieving digital transformation.

Almost daily we see people in our LinkedIn feeds stepping onto the soapbox with “digital transformation” how-tos and tips. But do companies understand the biggest takeaway concerning digital transformation?

We’ve all heard the tales of the companies that fell victim to digital transformation and didn’t embrace new technologies. But what we aren’t talking about are the companies that are doing digital transformation haphazardly. The companies that want to do “digital transformation” but don’t know where to start. Or worse, the companies whose teams aren’t working collectively to digitally transform.

In order to effectively achieve digital transformation, everyone within the organization needs to be onboard. Of all the internal teams, quality and IT teams must work closely together to manage risk and maintain the company’s mission.

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It’s one thing to be fast and quick to market but in doing so, sometimes quality is sacrificed. Efficiency and speed are just one piece of the digital transformation puzzle. Most IT teams are responsible for automation and innovation, while quality is responsible for managing that change.

When quality is at the forefront of your digital transformation initiatives you increase your chances of truly succeeding with digital transformation and by doing so, you ensure the likelihood of successful products, you make your customers happier, and you boost revenue.

Let’s dive into an example.

Imagine you work for a company that makes carabiners and you sell to the REI and Dick’s Sporting Goods of the world. Your IT department already started digitizing processes and got most of the teams using the “cloud” by way of Google Docs instead of Microsoft Office. But, the quality team isn’t fully onboard and they still keep a lot of data on personal team member’s DropBox accounts and laptops. Not to mention, half of the company uses Slack to communicate while the other half is communicating important product and company decisions via email chains.

While this is a “small potatoes” example, it can be a domino effect for a lack of communication between IT and quality teams going forward.

If quality isn’t working hand in hand with IT to steer innovation then who’s to say that quality will be involved in other initiatives, such as building manufacturing practices. When quality and IT aren’t working together there is a significant risk that quality issues might arise. If IT does not leverage the knowledge of the quality team they may not set up proper quality controls for any new systems or processes and as a result, the CEO’s promise of digital transformation might die before it truly even begins.

In dire, although real-world examples, the products themselves could suffer and bear the same fate of the Samsung Note 7.

In order to successfully achieve digital transformation, quality teams should manage planned strategic organizational change for the company and the products themselves. Quality needs to be involved in the planning and execution of any digital transformation strategy — including software implementations.

Carry on with your day.