Businesses looking to grow are increasingly turning to the idea of becoming more digital. What they really want, is to make a step change in the way they provide their products and services, and with that increase value to their customers. Their aim is to reduce time to market, scale sales conversion rates, to flex with the market and to reduce their costs.
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 wants. For this approach to work, you need to:
- Stop talking about digital and start talking about what the business wants to achieve. Focus everyone’s minds on a single goal. Get the first one right, see how your business reacts to it and then emulate for the future. Instead of digital, talk about 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-toend delivery cycle – refine and scale as you progress. Measure and celebrate success, learn and apply the lessons for the next phase.