Before we delve straight into this series of blog articles, I feel as though I need to begin by answeringanot-so-simple question: ‘What is digital transformation?’
What is Digital Transformation?
It’s a good place to start because often the answer can be over complicated – so let’s get back to basics. Digital transformation is all about integrating technology into areas of the business to drive fundamental change to how the business operates and delivers value to its customers.
So, plain and simple, for a digital transformation to be successful it must contain two elements. The first is, it must be aligned to the business strategy – how it operates. The second is, it must create measurable business outcomes – drive value to your customers.
What Does a Well-Defined Strategy Look Like?
A well-defined strategy provides direction and focus. It should answer our Why, What and How. This focus allows you to prioritise because, fundamentally, any digital transformation program, at any organisation, comes up against the same key problem – resource availability.
By resource I mean people, time, and money, and if you had an unlimited source of those, you’d like to think you probably would have delivered the majority of your transformation years ago. But the reality is, you don’t. Strategy alignment is essential for giving you an ongoing, dynamic plan for allocating your scarce resources effectively.
But what does ‘effectively’ mean? This is where your measurable business outcomes come in. It’s all well and good saying you’re aligned to your business strategy, but can you prove it?
Why Do You Need to Continuously Prove Yourself?
Let’s go back to the definition of digital transformation that I started with. The key is that you are seeking to deliver ‘fundamental change’. Change at this breadth and depth is going to require wholehearted buy-in from senior stakeholders within your business for it to even get off the ground.
Why? Transformation can't be seen as a project but a new approach to doing things. It needs a lot of resources and focus and it's not going to take shape overnight. It's going to take continued investment for the long term. This will naturally cause conflict and roadblocks at a level and on a scale that only a fully inspired senior stakeholder is going to be able to smooth out for you. But you need to arm them for success.
If you can prove how your transformation fundamentally changes the way the business operates for the better, and if you can demonstrate the value that it creates for your customers, then it will go a long way to ensuring your senior stakeholder is ready for battle.
But remember, this isn’t a one-and-done activity. Any organisation is a dynamic beast. How it operates, and the customer-base it serves, are constantly evolving, so make sure you’re keeping pace along the way.
What Can You Start Doing Today?
Start with defining your strategic vision. What’s the big goal here? This should be your ‘North Star’.
Next, define your strategic drivers. These can be the big projects or programs of work that will support the strategic vision. And underpinning your strategic drivers are the business outcomes. A business outcome is the measurable outcome from the transformation activity.
So, your alignment might look something like this:
IT strives to provide the tools and services to support the business goals. It looks to drive new technical innovations to make work-life easier for all employees.
To provide the business with a cloud-first strategy.
50% of all infrastructure to be cloud-based by Dec 2023.
Does that help? I hope that this article has given you some useful insight – and I look forward to seeing you for the next instalment of our series. In the meantime, feel free to reach out if you have any questions, comments, or opinions to add.
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