Stages of Digital Transformation

Disrupt or just be disrupted! Today digital technology is driving the business environment which puts executives under constant pressure to build, execute, and attain a successful digital transformation strategy. Today requirements are forcing companies to adopt new business models and approaches. The businesses are left with no choice in the present marketplace, where digital transformation is an integral part of staying relevant.  For an enterprise, budget optimization, maintaining company culture, and taking the best out of people needs to be a number one priority beforehand going into any transformation. Digital transformation is a necessity for businesses to remain viable in today’s world that is increasingly moving towards mobility and agility. Two-thirds of the CEOs have recognized their companies need to digitize by the end of 2020 to remain competitive in this digital innovation and data-driven world of business and commerce. Before venturing into the digital transformation, CEOs need to ensure the organization is ready for a change. Being change-ready goes beyond being able to deploy new processes and tools. CEOs must be ready to adopt new operational models and make sure the digital transformation strategy deployment doesn’t change the company culture.  A foundation for any successful change, effective personalized communication should be the CEO’s top priority along with implementing the right structure positions. Also, implementation of the right approach to becoming more proactive, agile, and scalable to any opportunities and challenges that come your way.   In this age where digital transformation is a necessity, CEOs are more likely to embrace it just for the sake of adopting it. A huge mistake that most commit. Plan, get ready, set your goals, build a roadmap, and then embark on the digital transformation journey. 
A digital transformation is a complex and precarious exertion. When done fittingly, it can lead to astonishing results, but when done the wrong way, it can be costly and agonizing for the business. Climb the ladder of stages carefully to attain the vertical limit in the digital transformation process with an Agile approach.

 1. Goal Setting and Planning

Before launching a digital transformation, businesses must identify their end goal. Beyond the clear need to stay competitive and increase market share, some businesses may choose to transform digitally to serve their customers better, by presenting new products or services. Others may digitize to rationalize core procedures or free up their employees’ time to do less routine jobs. Take the time to shape these preferred outcomes, as this will outline the nature of the digital strategy you should be implementing.  Organizations, CEOs, and CIOs need to ask themselves these following questions for and shall set their Goals and plan accordingly.
  • Does the planned transformation use two or more of the following: exponential technologies, outcome-based models, or exponential ecosystems?  
  • Is the goal of your transformation to revolutionize or to create an incremental business operational model?  
  • Is the objective to deliver one or more of the following: new business model, new automation integrated technology for products and services, or maximize the operating efficiencies? 
  • Is the intent of the transformation to drive an everlasting culture of change?  
  • Is the planned transformation enterprise-wide, based on an officially recognized strategy, and determined from the top?
By finding the affirmative answers to the above questions, you can make sure the first stage of your digital transformation is correct. 

2. Setting Foundation

The foundation of digital transformation is the integrated automation or the digitization of processes. It provides businesses, enterprises, or organizations value by using technology to operate more efficiently and lays out the foundation for advance transformation. The reason why businesses fail to execute the foundation stage of the digital transformation effectively is that they either execute poorly or lose sight of the intended business value. 

Committed Leadership

Digital transformation is fast-evolving and new, which needs unique and committed attention from the leaders for its success. The need for committed leadership starts from the initial stages of digital transformation, but it becomes a must-have before moving on to the next stage.   The digital transformation shall always be led at the top by the CEOs, CIOs, or the Business Owners.  However, digital literacy for many leaders comes as a challenge. Digital literacy at the top-level of any business is a huge issue. Most importantly, at the board level. Less than 20 percent of board members have the digital literacy needed for large-scale digital processes like digital transformation. 

Iterative Execution

Each entity of digital transformation will have various levels of risk and return factors, and hence each of them shall be treated through Iterative Execution. Iterative execution can be taken beyond the software development cycle. Iterative execution provides speed and acceleration while complementing each other to help reduce the risk failure of the whole digital transformation process. So, while the digital start-ups are already on it, it is high time the enterprises adapted to the Iterative execution.  Innovation velocity is a key metric in identifying the speed of innovative processes that can be adapted for digital transformation processes. Evaluating a large funnel of ideas, each of which executed at high-speed and low-cost, can be the best approach.  Successful companies like Amazon, Netflix, and Alphabet have successfully achieved it. Start-ups are excellent at low-cost and high-speed iterations while working on huge projects and ideas. Agility is the motivation for the start-ups. The main goal for these enterprises should be to set up a model for processing ideas quickly and iteratively that works equally well for large, medium as well as small enterprises.

3. Siloed or Not- Siloed Approach

Siloed or not-siloed is up to the committed leadership to decide given the nature and structure of their organization.  The siloed approach means to drive the digital transformation in products and services but only in parts of the organization. This way, the leaders can make sure that the failure of one doesn’t affect the other. The siloed approach is also viable when you have identified only a few parts or products of your company that need digital transformation. For instance, P&G reworked on its failed digital transformation strategy to make it a successful project.  If the company is of nature where the whole company has a scope of digital transformation, it should be approaching the not-siloed approach. The leaders should make sure that each department in an organization is on the same page. Everyone should know what their role is and how and what to achieve for the implementation of a successful digital transformation. A study shows that “70 percent of siloed digital transformation initiatives will ultimately fail due to insufficient collaboration, integration, sourcing, or project management.” Well, not if you have planned for a siloed approach effectively given that it is a favorable method to your organization’s structure. 

4. Living DNA

This stage is where you implement the processes as a part of perpetual transformation. Constant innovation and an agile culture should be the second most prioritized process after the actual initiation of the digital transformation process. Agile culture consistently supports the evolution cycle of the incremental business mindset.  At this stage, you identify the risk that may come in the future. The agile approach of constantly evolving will help prevent the organization from threats that may come upon the businesses due to the digital transformation process. This stage is all about maintaining scalability and future proof evolution. A culture that is convivial of new concepts, even to the point of pardoning misdirected zeal, will always progress faster. An enhanced customer experience while also maintaining a good company culture for their employees should be the main goal or the DNA for any organization. Agile culture helps create customer-focused innovation in an adaptive environment with a shared purpose. A culture that always puts customer and employee experience first will always be open to scalability to achieve better employee and customer experience.   
Leapfrog helps small and medium businesses envision and execute digital transformation and innovation. Leapfrog has developed the digital flywheel that accelerates automated digital transformation and innovation. Book a Free 30 minutes consultation about how Leapfrog can help you bring digital transformation to your business.

Pravesh Mishra

Pravesh Mishra is a Digital Transformation Consultant at Leapfrog Technology. He helps businesses and enterprises with Digital Transformation.

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