Article

Are You Overlooking These 3 Crucial Steps to Digital Transformation?

Digital transformation is a major undertaking that requires your entire organization to be in lock-step from start to finish. In today’s market, it’s also practically a requirement if you want to remain competitive and provide rewarding consumer experiences.

However, as many as 70% of digital transformations fail. Many of these failures are the result of teams skipping crucial steps in the areas of planning, management, and operations. 

These are some of the most often overlooked steps that, when skipped, spell failure for any digital transformation—along with tips for success within each area.

Set the Direction Early

Digital transformation points your business in a new direction by making it easier to provide value to customers and employees. It’s like sailing a ship with cutting edge navigational equipment versus only an analog compass. And just like with sailing, the sooner you set your direction, the faster, easier and more efficiently you’ll reach your destination.

Set the direction and scope of your transformation as early and clearly as possible. Questions you should be able to ask before you ever start digital transformation are:

  • Why do we need digital transformation?
  • What business outcomes are we trying to achieve?
  • What happens if we are not successful?

By understanding the business drivers behind digital transformation, you give yourself a map to help understand when you’ve arrived at a successful transformation.

Manage with Intent

A digital transformation is unlike any other project an IT team will undertake. And managing it like any other project underestimates the synchronicity required for success. 

It’s not uncommon for a team to attempt to manage a transformation program much like any other initiative they embark on. They count on the PMO to run individual projects and assume that they will line up for the transformation. Time and time again, this approach results in digital transformation failure. 

Digital transformation requires a completely in-sync approach across the organization. I always recommend creating a Transformation Office staffed with people who have a deep understanding of technology, change management, and emerging disruptive elements. This team’s focus is on steering profound and disruptive change and the goals, strategies, and approaches paving the path toward transformation. They actively engage stakeholders within the organization to create change and can provide the CIO with at-a-glance visibility into key metrics of the transformation.

Communicate Changes Within Your Organization

Organizational change management (OCM) is possibly the most overlooked area of the digital transformation journey. OCM refers to educating staff on the whats, whys, and hows behind a transformation. 

Employee buy-in is critical to ensure technology changes are adopted and consumed internally to achieve the desired business outcomes of a digital transformation. If the organization doesn’t adapt, the transformation fails.

Because profound change means jobs change, processes change, and skill requirements change, transformation can be an unsure and confusing time for employees if OCM isn’t approached properly, 

Employee-facing aspects of your digital transformation needs to be planned and managed, and most importantly communicated.  Some of the questions your digital transformation management team should be able to answer are:

  • Are we exiting a technology? 
  • Are we adopting new technology? 
  • How does this affect our people?
  • How will we communicate these changes?

Is digital transformation in your organization’s future? Download our Labs and Briefings Catalog to learn how AHEAD’s digital experts can help guide you to success.