Digital Transformation – Shaping Your Strategy
By Joshua Dinneen, President of Strategic Services
In our most recent blog post about digital transformation, we introduced some of the many elements businesses need to consider before embarking on the process. Every organization’s needs are different; a variety of macro issues and external forces will impact your company’s strategy and plan for executing that strategy. In this third blog post in this series, we will continue to explore the key elements that will frame and shape your approach.
Where our last blog post focused on external factors, this post will look more at internal elements. To develop a strategy that is successful for your organization, you will need to perform a deep, detailed, and unbiased examination of your motives and desires, appetites and commitments, and review key areas of your business. This is the “discovery” phase, as discussed more fully below.
You will also need to consider your company’s ability to develop an honest and accurate assessment of where you are today. When you can clearly outline your current state, you’ll be in a better position to develop and launch your digital transformation strategy.
Discovery is your organization’s opportunity to look inwardly, exploring your existing strategies, business and operating models, products, client interactions, sales and service methodologies, human capital, finances, current projects, and more. It’s your opportunity to evaluate your current business strategy and explore how–and why–you want to change it.
Explore Your Motives
Every successful business transformation hinges on the depth of the discovery process. Ultimately, you need to explore why you are considering digital transformation. Do you have the skills and appetite to really drive substantial and enduring change in your organization and its culture? Put another way, are you looking for true, radical change, or do you simply want to modernize your business model, renovate and modernize your technologies, spice up your product offerings, and reduce cost?
If it’s the latter, there’s nothing wrong with that. In that case, recognize that you don’t need to put yourself through the rigors and risk that comes with digital transformation.
If, however, you do want to effect true change, consider the following:
- Discovery Preparedness. Do you have the skills needed to perform an objective and timely discovery, or do you need to hire a company to help? There are firms that have the experience, technologies, and assessment tools to handle your discovery quickly, accurately, and with complete objectivity. Experience matters, so if you hire a business to help with discovery, make sure they have a background and track record of helping other businesses. Hiring a firm to help with discovery can also help with benchmarking, comparing your organization to others, and assessing your maturity levels and the skill sets of your team members.
- Risk Analysis. There are risks of not engaging in a digital transformation, or not doing enough to transform your organization. Those risks include execution risk, financial risk, operational risk, regulatory risk, client risk, etc. Are you prepared to address those? A third party can help you evaluate risks that apply to your organization.
- Technology Assessment. What is your organization’s current level of maturity with technology, business processes, and agility? You should have a current, detailed inventory and assessment of your technologies and processes. Consider how you envision using technology in the new model. Chances are good that you will need to make significant changes to your infrastructure, and adopt consumption and cloud-based models. Ask yourself whether, and to what extent, a digital transformation will allow your business to benefit from artificial intelligence (AI), the internet of things (IoT), and other new technologies.
- Status Quo Evaluation. You’ll also need to generate data and metrics on your current models. Evaluate what types of data your organization uses today, and how you manage that data. Do you have good data analytics and data governance processes in place? Do you have data specialists on your team? After digital transformation, data and data specialists will be the lifeblood of your company, so it’s important to look closely at your data security protocols and mechanisms.
- Business Lifecycle. Where is your organization in the business lifecycle today? If it is an established company, you will need the resources to continue running much of your existing model while you build and grow the new model. This takes discipline and a commitment from senior management. You’ll need to sharpen efficiencies and savings from the old models to fund this change. If you’re looking for support with this process, there are firms specializing in helping organizations manage this type of dual model.
- Change Readiness. Is your team ready to embrace change, and do you currently practice continuous improvement? Do you have documented repositories of artifacts and change experiences? Talk to your clients and staff, gather ideas, and empower them to help be part of the solution and the long-term innovation process.
Define New Models and Paradigms
After conducting discovery, you’ll be ready to conduct an analysis and define new models and paradigms that make sense for your business, while managing risk. From there, you can create a strategy that is ambitious and inspiring, one that focuses on growth and revenue–not just cost, and design a blueprint to guide the execution of that strategy. You’ll need a detailed plan with a lot of thoughtful milestones and metrics to help you track progress.
One aspect of digital transformation that some organizations struggle with is the fact that it will not have an endpoint in the traditional sense. With digital transformation, you’re moving to a model of constant change, improvement, and business agility. You’ll need to remain flexible throughout the transformation process, as you will undoubtedly encounter challenges along the way.
When to Consider Retaining Help with Digital Transformation Efforts
Consider hiring an experienced digital transformation firm to help. Working with skilled advisors and practitioners can be invaluable as you work through these challenges.
Ask yourself these questions to evaluate your ability to tackle digital transformation on your own:
- Do you know what enablement changes are required for your organization to move forward, increase vitality and relevance, and reduce various types of business and execution risk?
- Do you have the skills, time, and expense to do your own discovery? And, do you have the resources to conduct a brute force, manual discovery effort?
- Do you have an independent internal strategy and process assessment team that can lend objective help?
- Do you have access to specialized tools that can provide analytics, technology-driven assessments, and benchmarking to factual data?
- Can you identify and analyze anomalies and deficiencies?
- Do you need help assessing potential new tools, capabilities, services, data and analytics, and emerging business models?
- Can you define and assess new types of client and employee interaction models and their implications?
- Do you know how to create a fresh and honest baseline of people, processes and technologies in your organization, as well as in your industry and within your competitive profile?
- Finally, are you willing to make a commitment to be more data- and analytics-driven?
If you aren’t sure you can answer all of these questions, it may be time to bring in experienced digital transformation professionals. GreenPages Technology Solutions can help.
Be sure to watch for the next blog post in this installment, where we will examine the key role of data in the digital transformation process.
Digital transformation involves looking inward, assessing whether your organization is truly ready to evolve. Hiring experienced digital transformation professionals can help organizations assess their readiness.
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