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01 Mar 2019

Digital Transformation

What are the Biggest Hurdles?

Mark Abbas - CMO

Technology Digital Engagement

As waste management & recycling organizations move through the various phases of digital transformation, they often find it necessary to shift their focus at certain stages. Since many of these shifts, and the hurdles encountered, tend to be similar for a lot of organizations, understanding what others are focused on can serve as a source of inspiration for when your own organization is stuck for ideas about what to do next.

The waste management & recycling industry is in a state of transformation. As the cost of waste continues to rise and require better efficiency, and digital-savvy customers expect more and more digital solutions in every aspect of their lives, including waste collection and recycling, the urgency for waste management organizations to transform to a digital business model becomes greater and greater.

This sense of urgency is important, but it can lead to decision paralysis and stall progress if the organization loses its focus for channeling the energy and commitment to change in the right direction. Digital transformation is an evolution rather than a revolution, but this also means momentum naturally ebbs and flows during the process. Fortunately, since many organizations encounter similar hurdles as they implement digital innovations, the challenges and priorities of the organizations we surveyed for the AMCS Digital Transformation Benchmark 2018 also provide a helpful list of possibilities for where to focus and keep moving forward.

Antonis Mavropoulos

ISWA President

“In this digital age of ‘overnight’ success stories such as Facebook and others, the long, hard path to success is easily ignored. But in reality, the digital transformation of a company or municipality is not something that happens overnight and it’s not something that can be created simply by administrative decree. It requires the gradual introduction of multiple layers of digitization and the ability of management to build upon each new digital layer.”

Top priorities on management agendas

Like other industries, most organizations in the waste management and recycling industry naturally have priorities such as improving customer loyalty and increasing efficiency and productivity high on their lists. The results of the benchmark survey also revealed a remarkably high number of organizations that have given a high priority to topics such as sustainability and digitalization.

For the survey, we asked a wide sample of municipal and private sector organizations in the waste management industry which priorities are currently at the top of their management agendas and what they are focused on right now. For other organizations that are working toward a digital transformation, this list of the top 10 priorities is a good place to take a cue for shifting the project focus and getting things moving toward the next level:

  1. Customer satisfaction and loyalty
  2. Increasing productivity and efficiency
  3. Improving sustainability
  4. Digital transformation (digitizing processes)
  5. Cost reduction
  6. Employee satisfaction and loyalty
  7. Legal and regulatory compliance
  8. Safety
  9. Increasing corporate social responsibility
  10. Adapting IT architecture to the business strategy

The most common hurdles in digital transformation

Interestingly, while digitalization ranks very high in the list of priorities, it also turns out the be the biggest hurdle most organizations say they face. And it is probably no coincidence that what is probably the most obvious goal of digital transformation, the harmonization and optimization of business processes across the organization, ranks second on the list.

  1. Digitalization and automation of business processes
  2. Harmonizing and optimizing business processes
  3. Managing business growth and complexity
  4. Creating a culture that embraces change
  5. Customer retention and engagement
  6. Business performance analytics and revenue assurance
  7. The Internet of Things
  8. Complete, correct and timely invoicing
  9. Paperless operations
  10. Legacy IT systems

According to our survey, those organizations that have achieved the most success in their digital transformation tend to struggle most with legacy IT systems, the application of Internet of Things solutions such as sensors for bins and containers and the transition to paperless operations and digital invoicing.

The 2018 Digital Transformation Benchmark Report

For our 2018 Digital Transformation Benchmark, we surveyed organizations in the waste management and recycling industries in various geographical locations to uncover how the most successful are using technology to radically improve their performance, and which technologies add the most value for efficiency and productivity in their day-to-day operations.

The survey asked these key questions:

  1. How do waste management organizations innovate and stay relevant?
  2. What steps are waste management organizations taking toward digital transformation?
  3. Which technologies are waste management organizations most interested in?

Want to see how your own organization rates against our 2018 benchmark? Download the full report here and test yourself!

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Digital Transformation Barometer

What is the impact of digital innovation on your organisation?

Interested in what your own next steps in the digital transformation might be? Download the benchmark report to find out!

Download the Benchmark Report