How to Manage Digital Transformation

Business Insights

In today’s hyper-competitive business environment, embracing digital transformation is a requirement rather than a luxury. Digital transformation enables organizations to open up new sales channels, find new markets and opportunities, increase their revenues, and improve their efficiency. But to fully embrace digital transformation, enterprises must start with capturing, integrating, and utilizing quality data. With a steady supply of quality data, the enterprise can fully embrace and reap the benefits of digital transformation.

While Digital Transformation is primarily driven by rapidly changing technologies, its successful adoption depends on having a sound strategy.

Businesses that have successfully embraced Digital Transformation do not simply adopt individual technologies to solve their individual problems. They often have a defined strategy and clear objectives for digitalization in place that aim to guide the transformation of their overall business.

Maturing digital businesses are focused on integrating digital technologies, such as social, mobile, analytics and cloud, in the service of transforming how their whole business works, while businesses in early stage adoption tend to be more focused on solving discrete business problems with individual digital technologies.

Simply put, the true benefits of Digital Transformation do not lie in the strength of individual technologies; rather, they are dependent on how these technologies are integrated to bring out the most in each technology and transform entire businesses.

Enterprises need to define what they want to accomplish through Digital Transformation, including establishing what a successful transformation might mean for their overall business and for their customers, especially in terms of customer engagement and experience.

Defining the overall objectives aligns and drives transformation at every level of the organization, even reaching the customers, enabling the enterprise to create a lasting competitive advantage. Furthermore, it provides a reference point for assessing and determining specific actions to take and initiatives to act upon in the transformation process.

Enterprises need to decide on the desired experience and outcomes for their customers and employees. Digital Transformation prioritizes and values user experiences as much as it adds and introduces new functions and capabilities.

Next, the overall transformation objectives are laid out into more detailed goals. These goals can include how an employee’s work can be made simpler and easier through new software, applications, or functionalities or how a customer can have better access to a company’s catalogue and also a better shopping experience through a web or mobile app.

Another example is how employees can better collaborate, engage, and interact with each other and with customers through new digital platforms and technologies. Again, the focus is not on the new technology or application but on the experience it will provide.

Once a business has outlined what it wants to achieve through Digital Transformation, the next step is to define where they are currently, and the gaps they need to fill in their processes in order to be reach their goals which will enable the strategy to stay grounded and workable.

This includes taking stock of the enterprise’s existing software, applications, and technologies. The enterprise must determine, based on the objectives they established and the design they created, which of these specific technologies need be retained, upgraded, automated, or retired.

It helps to match the technologies with the outcomes they deliver or the problems they solve, to prioritise the technologies that will need to be updated as part of the transformation and align them with the objectives and the desired experience. The next step in the Digital Transformation strategy is assessing and selecting possible solutions to meet the established objectives, provide the desired experience, and fill in the gaps of existing technologies.

This step requires the enterprise to perform a careful and thorough review of possible solutions and offerings from different vendors. Aside from the capabilities and functionalities of the solutions they offer, the vendor should have a proven track record and should be easy to work with. The vendor should also be able to provide the necessary after-sales support in a timely manner, as problems may arise after the development and implementation of the chosen solution.

A comparison chart of solutions and vendors can provide enterprises with an objective tool for making an informed choice.

Finally assemble the overall business objectives, desired experiences, existing technologies, and possible solutions and unify them into an actionable plan.

A Digital Transformation initiative takes time and resources, both human and financial. That is why it is often done in stages. It is critical to carefully plan when each action — such as a technology assessment or a vendor meeting — should be taken to ensure that human and capital resources are available. A timeline will help enterprises ensure the seamless implementation of the Digital Transformation initiative.