Digitize to survive and thrive? Digital transformations account for 40% of all business technology spending, and the digital transformation era is expected continue well into 2023. As enterprises become digital-at-scale, building on strategies and investments to meet new demands, drive growth and enhance customer experiences, businesses may wish to appraise how digital transformations are executed and advanced.
How can you, as a leader, lead differently? What new approaches does your organization need to adopt in order to ensure that you aren’t missing opportunities, that you’re get the most out of your transformations, and to ensure that your tech and capabilities will compete with or outperform those of competitors? In the following article, discover 10 secrets for successful digital transformations.
10 key elements: Successful digital transformations
Digital transformations can be more difficult to execute than traditional change efforts. These practical guidelines can help improve overall outcomes.
1. Alignment of digital programs with enterprise strategy. Technology implementation decisions should be calibrated against larger strategic business needs and priorities. By aligning IT initiatives with broader business goals, an organization can be more agile, efficient, resilient and innovative than it would be otherwise. Work with senior business leaders to establish a shared digital transformation vision.
2. Establish a technology roadmap. The cutting-edge tools can be enticing, but may not help your organization achieve strategic objectives, or address functional needs. A technology roadmap enables an organization to integrate short-term goals with longer-term objectives and plans and helps leaders determine how a new IT tool, process or technology contributes to progress along the roadmap.
If your organization has yet to develop a technology roadmap, there are hundreds of templates available online. Templates typically cover everything from computing requirements, to testing, to integrations. Consider updating your roadmap every 3-6 months or as needed.
3. Effective use of dashboards to monitor value. Dashboards represent an element of a well-executed metrics management strategy. Businesses that leverage dashboards effectively are more likely to succeed in digital transformations, according to the MIT Center for Information Systems Research. Dashboards provide enterprises with a comprehensive view of how new infrastructure or tools are impacting the organization.
Although some businesses may see hesitancy around deploying dashboards, the cultural shift can ultimately lead to increased accuracy, transparency, improved risk management, better alignment around achievement of objectives, and greater visibility into how a given technology investment has or hasn’t affected business growth.
4. Invite your existing IT talent to take on larger challenges. High IQ individuals have the capacity for and the interest in learning new skills and in innovating around new services and programs. Aggressively invest in your employees in order to free up technology resources (by automating manual tasks), improve processes and technologies, avoid turnover costs, and to polish your organization’s reputation.
5. Develop a strategic partner ecosystem. Partners play diverse roles in facilitating an organization’s innovation, growth and goal attainment. Account for the partners that you have in your ecosystem, make sure that any partner programs or contracts are not hindering your transformation initiatives and consider including entirely new partner types if current partners cannot help you achieve new goals.
6. Vet both product and the company. Identify providers that offer high-quality products and that maintain a track record of proven performance. An efficient vendor vetting process can assist your business in ensuring the reliable delivery of goods and services, can assist your company in mitigating third-party cyber security risks, and can help your organization deal with complex international laws, regulations and protocols.
7. Collaboration through digital mediums. The coronavirus pandemic forced businesses to shutter their offices, to do away with business travel, and to instead rely on Zoom or similar applications for business development deals.
While video conferencing will never be able to replace a handshake or a quiet side conversation post-meeting, according to a Bloomberg survey of companies in the U.S, Europe and Asia, 84% intend to spend less on travel post-pandemic as compared to pre-pandemic.
Over time, video conferencing can save companies millions in foregone travel expenses, and can increase returns on information technology investments.
8. Invest in cloud experimentation. In some businesses, teams have moved away from provisioning cloud services due to business impediments related to finance and knowledge/skills needed to implement cloud effectively. At least one innovative enterprise has created a program allowing employees to request ‘seed’ resources for cloud investments. In turn, this has led to the creation of new tools that have replaced manual efforts, enabling employees to focus on more valuable, higher-level tasks.
9. Leverage cyber security as a transformation enabler. Build confidence in your programs by accounting for cyber security risk. Anticipate security risk while laying the groundwork for new programs. Incorporate and embed security measures into the tools of transformation. Savvy business professionals recognize that bolting cyber security on at the end of a project can increase costs, and can lead to unnecessary product and revenue risk.
10. Make space for continuous improvement. A complete digital transformation is a long process that can require substantial capital investment. When starting a digital transformation initiative, ensure that the resources exist to sustain the technology and any personnel shifts that you are putting into place.
As your digital transformation initiatives meet milestones and achieve intended outcomes, remember to communicate the success to your peers, the C-suite and other relevant parties. Successful completion of a digital transformation journey will build trust, potentially lead to new opportunities and rewards, and of course, advance an organizations’ broader digital journey.
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