Ben Revill, Business Consultant at Xpedition, highlights a five-step strategy that your organisation can follow in order to achieve a successful digital transformation transition and evolve with customer demands in 2020
A great digital transformation will allow you to be more modern, unified, intelligent and adaptable to the industry’s future needs. But likely, you don’t need me to tell you that – it’s a fine minority of people that need convincing of the benefits of a digital-first, cloud strategy. In fact, an overwhelming 90% of IT decision-makers are tasked with digital transformation and implementing new business innovation opportunities.
In 2020, organisations will need to grow and evolve to meet the changing demands of customers. There is little to no room for legacy equipment anymore. And you only need to turn on the TV to see how technology is shaping next year’s summer of sport.
The Olympic Games in Tokyo will boast 3D athlete tracking and analytics software to track the behaviour of people, crowds and vehicles. UEFA, which will be holding the Euro Football Championships, has appointed a Head of Digital Transformation, and Wimbledon is constantly bringing in new digital experiences.
It’s not just technology that is important in a digital transformation, it’s an entire cultural shift that is just as important as any software or device that’s introduced.
Meeting customer demands
To undertake digital transformation is to redesign your business model, embrace new, different ways of bringing together data, people and processes to create value for your customers, no matter the industry you’re in.
Customer retention and acquisition is more important than ever, and what used to work for years on end won’t now as the demands increase. You can’t stick to the status quo anymore – you must have innovative, intelligent business applications to support you.
Getting stakeholders on board
But while recognising that things can be done better or smarter is a start, for decision-makers, transforming a whole company is no easy feat. From internal communications to getting stakeholders on board and knowing what systems to change, it’s can be a minefield.
To help you negotiate this often tricky path, we have devised a five steps process to provide clarity and help you on your Digital Transformation journey:
1 – Assess your current position
The biggest driver of digital transformation is new innovations and ways of working in the industry changing, but your operations, culture and business staying parked or in the slow lane.
We’ve all seen the huge high-profile companies fail to recognise the need to innovate digitally transform in recent months and years and becoming extinct, but there’s also a whole host of success stories. Some of the UK’s most valuable digital firms like ecommerce giants Missguided and Made.com or financial services providers Monzo and Revolut are 10 years old or less, not to mention global brands like AirBnb and Spotify.
Evaluate your current position, and any challenges you’re facing. How do you and your systems digitally align? Can you honestly say that you provide an industry leading customer experience? Customers, partners and suppliers expect to interact and transact digitally these days, and that’s one of your main business challenges.
Explore your pain points. Is anything stopping you from addressing these challenges? Very often, this will be due to legacy systems and processes that were implemented as point solutions at the time – usually as a short term fix. Outgrown systems that no longer provide for your requirements or are not compatible with new technology may need a transformational approach.
Think about any infrastructure contracts that are coming to an end too, such as on-premise servers and data centre contracts. Do you need to renew them? And what about your people? One of the top three business challenges for companies is addressing the employee generational gap. Millennial or Boomer, it’s important to retain your people in this tight labour market, but some don’t like change. How can you prevent any backlash whilst also providing technology that younger staff will expect you to have adopted?
2 – Review your resources
To become a digital-first company, what resources do you have to work with? Evaluate your existing systems, and assess the capabilities you have vs what you could have and your future potential. Taking stock will allow you to move into the next stage more effectively.
For what you want to achieve, do your current resources enable you to do this? Are any future-proof or upgradeable, or will they face obsolescence soon? Evaluate if you have any IT debt or underutilised technology that’s costly and would benefit from being removed.
Take a look at your personnel resources, too. You will need people to rely on to embrace and execute a digital transformation, to all departments and at all ends of the spectrum. Will you need to hire anyone new? Define your project team and ensure they too embrace your digital transformation vision.
3 – Define your roadmap
Firstly, look at timelines and align calendars. Are there any particular dates where things need to be in place by? What else does the company have on its plate, and are any key staff unavailable in specific periods?
Following your assessment of your business and pain points, you know what systems need replacing by now, and what the biggest priorities are. For the implementation, you should understand any prerequisites across your whole business. Does it need to be launched with a big bang, or can you take a lower-risk approach by introducing new technologies and business practices in smaller phases?
Your business case also needs to be firmed up, with the value of the transformation clearly identified to the business. Explain to all stakeholders the challenges you’ll be overcoming, the new, more efficient and collaborative ways of working which will be introduced, the better customer service that they will see, and ultimately, the Return on Investment.
The right approach can then be identified at this point. Depending on what you want to implement and develop, you may take a Waterfall approach, which is a more linear, structured method for things such as data migration. Or, for a collection of different projects, you will likely want to take an Agile, team-based approach to development. There’s a lot of analysis and planning to be doing, but it is necessary if your digital transformation initiative is too succeed.
4 – Unite your team
Communicate your transformation vision to the rest of the organisation. With the need to involve all stakeholders throughout the business, you will need to cultivate a digital mindset. Whilst there will always be people less willing to change, you need to demonstrate what a transformation can achieve.
Undertake activities in the organisations which will unite your company and show them potential of the transformation project. Don’t keep it behind closed doors as they will want to have an input and a contribution to the outcome.
Using a proof of concept to show how you’re going to unlock the art of the possible with actual business processes will reduce user apprehension. Take advantage of demonstrations and business workshops to validate the benefits of the new technologies, and prove that new objectives can be met and their way of working will benefit.
5 – Embark on your journey
Choosing, adopting and earning the right approach for the business is key as you plan to embark on your journey. But there are three features that any strong digital transformation plan should have.
- Clear goals and approach for project profile
- Commitment from the business
- Experienced guide
The latter hasn’t been touched on yet, but this is important as an experienced guide will support you. Seek people who share your ethos and understand your business. It’s even more beneficial if they have experience of working in your sector, or have consulted on these transitions before. After all, it is well known that a successful partner helps to ensure a successful transformation.
By migrating to cloud-based technologies, the total cost of ownership (TCO) is 77% less than that of an on-premise infrastructure. You always have the latest updates and releases without having to purchase new products, and you can grow the system easily and quickly as the business evolves.
Digital transformation is the ultimate digital feedback loop – better tech, leads to better data, which leads to better decisions, which ultimately feeds back to making better business processes.