“Engaging in digital transformation”, “Taking the business digital”, “Digital business transformation”, etc. all sound like trendy phrases and buzzwords these days, but is there any merit to the hype?
It depends who you ask. It turns out that if you ask anybody (or everybody), the answer is yes.
For many organizations, taking the business digital is currently the most effective method to open new opportunities for growth and profitability. But this isn’t a lottery ticket; it’s a strategic business choice that requires changes to the operating model.
What kind of changes are we talking about? First, there’s a mindset issue that may need to be addressed. In an MIT Sloan Management Review and Capgemini Consulting 2013 Digital Transformation Global Executive Study and Research Project, participants were asked to name the most significant organizational barriers to Digital Transformation in their organization. The top three were:
The same study asked participants to name the most significant cultural barriers to Digital Transformation in their organization. The top three were:
These sound like the things people say when asked why they don’t go to the gym.
We’re talking about growing your business. Staying ahead of the competition (… or in some cases, catching up). Staying relevant in a customer-centric world.
There’s no doubt that there are challenges to taking your business digital. But, let’s focus on the legitimate ones so that we can take action, overcome these obstacles, and get to the side of this where we’re creating new business opportunities.
So, where do we start?
1. Aligning Business & IT
It sounds cliché, but a real question we hear CIOs struggle with is:
“What are the goals of the business and how do my current (and planned) programs, applications, software lifecycles, and investments contribute to the business achieving those goals?”
Ah, now we’re talking about questions that, when answered, will allow us to transform how we operate.
To overcome this challenge, we’ll need a clear picture of the IT landscape and how it supports the business and strategy. We’ll also want the power to gather, analyze, and share requirements for IT transformation.
What are some other challenges to digital transformation?
2. Planning Transformation
“What are my most costly, risky, and critical applications? Where do we need to implement changes first?”
For this, we need the ability to describe and compare transformation scenarios. We also need to identify, assess, and manage risks … AND, after we do that, we’ll want to calculate impact by polling users on things such as business value.
A lack of understanding and prioritization of factors that need to be changed can lead to a failure to deliver the digital transformation.
3. Assess Digital Skills
“Do I have the right skills in-house? How do I acquire new skills while ensuring business continuity? Should I outsource, partner, and/or upgrade internal skills?”
Let’s map our required skills against our existing competencies as a starting point. A lack of resources and relevant skills can lead to a failure to deliver transformation, and/or a failure in business continuity.
4. Managing Transformation
“How do I deal with the unexpected during the transformation, and contemplate alternatives?”
Great question. This is a big deal because we all know that the unexpected is going to happen. The only way to prepare for the unexpected is to approach the landscape with a clear view … a map or GPS … to understand alternate routes, availability of resources, and risks associated with each decision. Then we can navigate the transformation with confidence.
Your company isn’t succeeding with guesswork, it’s succeeding with confident decision-making and hard work. If we can increase visibility into your company’s ecosystem and the surrounding environment, as well as how each piece is related to the others, we can improve the already-strong decision-making and ensure that everyone’s hard work is driving the company toward achieving business goals.
Speaking of driving, the team looks like they’re ready to get going. Let’s grab the GPS and figure out our next destination.