Feb 8, 2018 by Anand Ethiraj

The essentials

In the first part of ‘Steps to Success in Digital Transformation,’ we looked at key steps from a strategic perspective of (a) understanding the digital imperative, (b) having a clear vision & strategy, (c) staying centered on customer outcomes, (d) digitizing for operational excellence, and (e) connecting the dots of people, culture, technology, process, product and customer experience.

In this second and final part, we dig a little deeper into how a digital transformation strategy becomes successful. According to Ashley Friedlein, Founder of Econsultancy, ‘Digital Transformation is the journey from where a company is, to where it aspires to be digital.’ Every journey requires preparation and it can be challenging to know what an enterprise should have in place for digital transformation to work?

Besides, the process differs for B2B and B2C companies, differs from industry to industry and can also be different, depending on size, geography, and operational model.

Beyond Technology

It is first and foremost essential to understand the role of technology. Digital transformation is enabled by technology, but its success is about much more. It is about taking on an enterprise-wide change to evolve an organization’s business and operating models, as well as the way its people work – across departments. It also means integrating high volumes of data to predict, influence and respond to customer behavior. The objective of this transformation is achieving clear business outcomes.

Beginning with clarity and preparation

Hence, before launching into digital transformation ensure that you have: (a) Robust, resilient approach to your market, (b) Strong idea about why you need to transform, (c) Clear strategy which encompasses the whole company, and, (d) People who can execute the strategy.

Some guidelines for preparation

For a Technology and Customer experience-centered approach: “Five Steps for a successful Digital Transformation” – By Hank Stokbroekx, writing in CIO

For a Culture approach: Digital transformation: “The three steps to success” – By James Bilefield is a serial digital entrepreneur and a senior advisor to McKinsey.

For a system of assessing the CIO’s and IT’s readiness for, and progress along, a digital transformation journey – “Step-By-Step, How-To Guide To Digital Transformation” – By Florian Wagner, writing in The Digital

Hitting the infrastructure road

  • Evaluate your software and technology options. Once your strategic roadmap is defined, evaluate potential technological options that best fit that roadmap. Each business will have different needs based on its overall transformation strategy, ranging from ERP systems to SaaS solutions to eCommerce to mobile apps and other technologies. It is critical not to assume that a single system will address your digital transformation needs.
  • As you understand the role of technology, the next step is to build digital capabilities. Your existing talent and technology infrastructure that powers your company’s current operations are not likely to be suitable for a digital and networked future. You will need a workforce with new skills. Your infrastructure will also have to be upgraded to provide the tools your employees need to grow into a digital world.
  • Build your digital assets. Your business may possess or could easily access valuable digital assets. The essential step is to understand the assets your company could build, partner, or acquire, and begin transitioning from purely physical assets to more valuable and scalable digital assets. An important part of this journey is never losing sight of information and cyber security.
  • Use Mobile and Social Media as catalysts. As customers, people and markets use mobile for a wide range of business and personal transactions, as well as rely on social networks, an essential part of going digital is investing in the effective use of mobile and social.

If you are looking for a technology partner who can facilitate the successful journey, do drop us a line.

The change within

  • Once you establish the overall strategy and roadmap for digital transformation and determine how technology will disrupt your business, the next crucial step is to facilitate business process re-engineering. As any digital transformation is a business transformation and will be a material disruption to your current business model rather than an incremental improvement to back-office functions, you will need to spend plenty of time on business process re-engineering. Make sure you invest plenty of time defining and documenting your “to-be” business processes to reflect this new and improved operational model.
  • The next logical step is adjustments to your organization structure. The key to success lies in starting small and then going big. While entrenched systems and practices or talent gaps may stop you from making major shifts, your diligence and commitment in making the changes you can make, no matter how small, helps to build the momentum towards bigger changes.

Mapping the Customer Journey

A logical extension to the strategic step of being customer outcomes centered, the creation of a customer journey map identifies the potential touchpoints between the customer and the organization at all stages, bridging the gap between the company and the customer, and enhancing the experience for the customer.

This map helps in determining where you can digitize your business. What offline processes or products can you digitize or take online? Without such a map on hand, you could be taking your digital transformation journey entirely in a wrong direction.

Key of Digital Transformation

Understanding analytics

Probably the single most important differentiator to successful digital transformation is the use of data. Ask if your IT department is using analytics services to understand the behaviors of customers. One of the most basic data parameters is the number of visits to your site, the length of time spent on what content and most importantly where you are losing your customers. Insights drawn from data analytics help you really compete in the digital age.

If you have taken a digital transformation and have learnings to share, feel free to write to us. Happy to hear from you.

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