Awareness of the benefits of digital technology to create a competitive advantage is high among business leaders, but acting on that awareness is often challenging and requires the development of both technological and leadership capabilities.
The risk of falling behind in this new digital landscape is increasing; digital transformation is becoming more complex but also the possibilities are growing with advances in network speeds and availability, internet of things and virtual and augmented reality. If a business is not making the most of these new capabilities, they will lose to a competitor that is.
However, just playing with new technologies will not cut it. To truly succeed, you need a systematic and structured approach to both the strategy and execution, and a clear vision of what you hope to achieve.
So how do you measure DX success? Ultimately increased revenue and market share are is a primary indicators, but the delivery of better customer experience, improved productivity and compliance, the elimination of inefficiencies and business innovation are the horses your success will ride in on.
These seven tips for digital transformation success will help you to build your strategy and plan:
- Research digital transformation systems and technologies:
Learn as much as you can about what is new and who the vendors are that provide the technologies, plans and systems for Digital Transformation. You will want to discover all you can about advanced managed cloud services such as SaaS (Software as a Service) and PaaS (Platform as a service), AI and machine learning, data analytics and sophisticated algorithms, as well as how the ‘internet of things’ will completely change the way we gather and use information and manage and maintain remote, intelligent devices.
- Identify and analyse the specific ways DX could improve the business.
Consider what your business does, for example how you currently interface with your customers. What kind of information are you gathering; where is it stored; then what do you do with it? Brainstorm, with business leaders and management, the improvements you could obtain by changing to a digital experience.
To improve collaboration and productivity, find out how employees currently interact. Map workflows and examine how existing technologies and systems help or hinder the process. Identify the changes a digital transformation could provide.
Set new metrics and analyse how new technologies, or enhancements to existing technologies, will improve business performance.
- Share the results of your initial research with senior management.
A presentation to senior management outlining your findings is an important step in getting buy-in from the top down. Include information on:
• Risks and opportunities
• Objectives and the strategies to achieve them
• Estimates of cash, people and time investments required
• The time needed to transform the business
• The impact of digital transformation on employees and the culture of the company
• How these initiatives will be rolled out to key stakeholders
- Ask senior management to authorise the preparation of a 3-5 year plan and budget.
Obtain senior management approval to prepare a strategy, budget and plan for implementing a business transformation program. Consider a three-year to five-year planning horizon as part of the overall strategy.
- Collaborate with key stakeholders to create a DX strategy and vision
The digital transformation strategy needs to be built from the ground up. Senior management and business unit leaders can identify the company goals they are wanting to achieve, and the CIO and CTO and teams are there to implement it, but if it doesn’t suit the ‘man on the ground’, then adoption is much harder to ensure.
The digital transformation vision describes your aspirations, but the strategy captures the key activities and aims them toward the final goal. Understanding the endgame will help to get employees on board and engaged.
- As business activities change, so must your project plan and budget be adaptable
Whilst you are deploying new technology, the business continues to operate and change. Your project plan must recognise the nuances of business processes and not impact them negatively during the deployment and migration phase. If additional costs emerge, ensure senior management is quickly made aware to that budgets can be upgraded as required.
Choose technologies that align with business priorities
Keep an eye on the big picture and ensure different systems, applications and network resources are fully evaluated in context with business priorities, and the entire transformation journey. Whilst implementation can be run as an agile project, knowing what you are going to implement needs to be fully thought through in advance.
Your technologies must help the company achieve its business goals, whilst providing the best experience for employees and customers. The application must be adaptable to current and future business requirements and ideally you should be able to make use of AI and machine learning technologies to really understand the kind of data you will begin collecting.