What? Digital Transformation is a 360-degree program that addresses employing technology to cut through complexity, shorten time to market and improve the connection to customers and other constituents.
Situation: The Coronavirus pandemic has greatly accelerated the advancement of information technology such as supporting remote workers and Cloud technology into the workplace. Recent surveys have shown that small to middle market organizations are failing in their attempts to implement Digital Transformation programs. The primary reason cited has been the lack of a comprehensive program that incorporates not only information technology but also the impact on people and processes that must be optimized.
Rapid advances in technology including the Internet of Things (IOT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Business Intelligence (BI), Cloud security and most recently working from home have placed Digital Transformation on the priority list of every chief executive. These items along with the need for increased attention to Cybersecurity matters are now on the board-level agenda.
Complication: Many senior executives place the responsibility for implementing a digital transformation strategy upon the shoulders of their CIO believing that since this is digital it must be driven by IT. This tactic misses the importance of engaging all constituents in the process of transformation. The demands of customers need to be factored in to the model along with employees/business partners, improvements to products/services and related business operations. The digital transformation must incorporate all dimensions of people, process and technology to effectively move the organization to a true, transformative business model.
Solution: If you do not have the impact on people and customers at the core of your digital transformation program, you will end up making investments in information technology and wonder why your business is not reaping the expected benefits.
Information Technology is the enabler but not the driver of successful digital transformations. Regardless of size, embarking on the digital transformation journey is a major undertaking for any organization. This should be considered a company-wide program on the scale of implementing a new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. Lessons learned from two decades of implementing ERP systems that failed to live up to their expected benefits have taught us to employ a holistic approach for embarking on a Digital Transformation journey.
Plan: Establish goals. objectives and timing for the Digital Transformation.
Allocate funds and personnel resources to the program.
Strategy: Answer the question - We will have accomplished full digital transformation when…..?
Expected impact on people, customers, products and services.
Tactics: Create a program management office to control the investment.
Establish interim goals along the path.
Establish Board-level reporting to monitor and measure results.