Businesses looking to grow are increasingly turning to the idea of becoming more digital. What they really want is to make a real step change in the way they provide their products and services and with that increase value to their customers.

The beginning of the digital transformation journey

Many start by initially focusing on a digital vision, a digital business strategy and a digital transformation roadmap. They define a vision of what their business will be, in say five years’ time, and work out the steps they will take to deliver their digital transformation. The result is often a large programme or portfolio of work.

Where it can come unstuck

Here’s where the problem can lie – such programmes can quickly become bogged down in the detail, wrapped around the axel of the methodology used to implement and often costs can spiral. All of a sudden, what felt like a vision of digital glory, and a step into pastures new, turns into a tedium of nightmares, a daily grind of slipped time frames, suppliers not delivering, lowered staff morale and a lack of credibility in the eyes of the board every time someone mentions the word digital.

Making your digital transformation a success

It does not need to be like this. In our experience, your chances of digital success are increased if you kickstart your digital transformation with a ‘digital silver bullet’ – a focussed and targeted plan of action.

Yes, define your vision and strategy, but start your digital journey with the single digitally enabled project or initiative that will quickly set the scene, expectations and pace for the rest of your digital transformation. This plan should be the corner stone of your digital transformation and should deliver a “night and day” or paradigm shift in the way your organisation operates – leading to either major revenue growth, cost savings or both. Ensure your plan is 100% focussed on delivering what the business actually wants. For this approach to work, you need to:

  • Stop talking about digital and start talking about the business outcome. Focus everyone’s minds on a single goal, a single focus on the desired business outcome. Get the first one right, see how your business reacts to it and then emulate for the future. Instead of digital, talk about the outcomes, the benefits and nothing else. Digital means nothing without the description of what will tangibly be achieved. For example, ‘the ability for my customers to buy from me in three clicks on a mobile app’, or ‘the ability to save 30% of human effort in an on-boarding process’. Talk about the things that will actually achieve this and don’t be shy about it.
  • Make sure that you organise yourselves in the right way. Many organisations (often due to the experiences of the people they hire) try and replicate the way they organise digitally by looking at the success they or their staff have had previously – “the answer is to offshore” or “the answer is to use start-ups” or “it’s all about agile”. Boards are often led by this previous experience. But, very often the approach that worked well in one organisation will not work so well in the next. You must implement the approach that works well in your organisation. If you need to, build or adjust your end-to-end delivery cycle – refine and scale as you progress. Measure and celebrate success – learn and apply the lessons for the next phase.

So where do you start? How do you find your ‘digital silver bullet’? How do you even agree what it should be and how do you organise around it without impacting the rest of your business?

At Project One we have helped and worked with many clients – leveraging the extensive experience of our team of change professionals – to help them deliver their goals. We have a simple and pragmatic approach that helps our clients through every step of their own bespoke journey and we’d be delighted to help you through yours. To learn more about our Information Management service, read more here.

This article was written by Steve Calder.

POSTED BY: Steve Calder - Consultant

CONTACT: steve.calder@projectone.com

View the author's team profile page

Find out more