How Do You Start Your Digital Transformation?

How Do You Start Your Digital Transformation?

You may have decided that you want to undertake digital transformation, but embarking on this whole journey is something you need to get right from the start.

There are various reasons for why digital transformations fail , and these are largely to do with not understanding what digital transformation is, and not preparing for it properly.

When you use a business analyst (BA) to support and guide you on the journey to digital transformation, they will help you set off in the right direction first.

But where does this journey begin?

Ask Yourself Why You’re Doing It?

Companies get into constant cycles of creating, monetising and defending value. But just because these cycles are repetitive, doesn’t mean they shouldn’t change over time.

One way of effecting this change is with digital transformation.

Digital is changing how companies compete, and those that fail to adapt and evolve risk losing out, or even disappearing altogether.

Therefore, the first stage on the journey to digital transformation is understanding why you’re doing it.

And the reason shouldn’t be one of technology for technology’s sake. Digital transformation needs clear, strategic business objectives from the start.

Once you examine and assess what digital transformation will mean for your enterprise, you can move to the next stage.

Assess Your Current Digital Capabilities

What digital capabilities do you currently have? Assess your various systems and software, and how you’re using them.

This is often something companies fail to do when looking at digital transformation. But it’s an important step, since you’ll need to consider things like data transfer and platform compatibility.

Also look at what your employees’ current tasks and roles are regarding the use of technology.

How Will You Go Digital?

If you’ve got a clear picture of your objectives and your current capabilities, you can then move on to how you intend to go digital.

There are likely to be various alternatives open to you, such as back-end transformations or improving the customer experience.

The practical measures you take to go digital should align with your objectives for adopting digital transformation in the first place.

Examples include:

  • Product redesign
  • Better harnessing of big data
  • Creating a more convenient online customer experience
  • Transforming your operations with AI or other forms of automation
  • Building a resilient IT infrastructure.

The various elements of your strategy need not be mutually exclusive. You could transform both inward and outward facing characteristics of your business.

The important thing to bear in mind is that digital transformation should always be the means to an end, not the end itself.

Get the Necessary Buy-ins

Without the right support behind it, digital transformation will not have the impetus or achieve the momentum it needs to succeed.

The buy-in has to come from two directions: top to bottom and bottom to top.

Firstly, you need the full support and commitment of your CEO and any other senior management; but secondly, you also need the support of employees.

Digital transformation represents a cultural shift, and for this to be successful, it needs the support of the people who will encounter it on a daily basis.

Plot Your Roadmap

Digital transformation cannot happen instantaneously, or comprehensively, in one go.

It is a process, and therefore you need to plan this process carefully. Your roadmap should show you how digital transformation will work in practice, and what stages it will need to take.

There needs to be clear milestones, as well as proper division of key tasks into actionable and achievable projects in their own right.

Your digital transformation roadmap is both a navigational tool and a timeline, and it’s also a useful way of selling the concept or reinforcing its benefits.

Put the right skills in place

Digital transformation will require various skill sets, with a clear understanding of how to apply these in the pursuit of specific goals and objectives.

A major reason for failure in digital transformation projects is that there are gaps in the skills required to deliver the project.

This is especially true where organisations decide to keep everything in-house.

Digital transformation requires that you have the right technical and digital skills to draw on, but also that there are people with fresh and clear perspectives to drive the project forward.

Therefore, it’s a prerequisite to starting digital transformation to have these skills in place.

Prepare Your Entire Enterprise for Digital Transformation

Clear communication is critical to the success of digital transformation, and you should embed it into your transformation project from the very start.

Because digital transformation is so much about cultural change, you need an intrinsic buy-in from everyone involved in the business (see above). The key to getting this buy-in is in explaining the benefits of digital transformation, and why it is necessary for ongoing or future success.

Employees will require transparency from the very beginning, along with a clear structure and plan, and the right training to prepare them.

Where Do You Start?

For more information about digital transformation, and how to start your journey, please contact me.

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