The 3 keys to a Digital Transformation Roadmap

Oliver Descoeudres from Logicalis Australia looks at the steps that any organisation setting out on a digital transformation journey must take and outlines 3 keys to a digital transformation roadmap.

Digital technologies have been thrust on organisations from all angles: Marketing introduced social; finance, marketing and operations all championed their own versions of analytics; employees turned up with their own mobile devices and various departments bought in to SaaS solutions based in the cloud. Meanwhile IT was trying to manage and secure the whole mess in to one cohesive strategy to make the organisation truly and wholly digital.

Getting that tidy-up job right means drawing up a digital transformation roadmap, which defines and manages the whole process in a structured way. The best roadmaps are those aligned with business strategy from the top-down and the bottom-up. From the top-down, the big picture goals need to be broken down into executable tactics and translated into real business outcomes. And from the bottom-up, user insights need to be fed back to executives who can monitor progress and make necessary revisions.

Mapping the journey

A digital transformation roadmap is divided into three stages: vision, strategy, and execution.

A Digital Vision

The digital transformation roadmap begins with an assessment of the digital maturity of the organisation today, and moves on to a definition of a digital vision. In order to know where you are going, you need to know where you are.

Questions to ask at this stage include:

  • How can we improve internal operations to transform the customer experience?
  • Does the business model need reworking?
  • How can the business units work in a more connected way?

Digital Strategy

The purpose of this stage is to identify the gaps between your current state and the vision. The investment in digital technologies required to fill those gaps can then be identified and mapped. The focus here is on building an integrated information infrastructure, which serves as a foundation for integrating data across silos.

Questions to ask at this stage include:

  • What current assets will be valuable in a digitally enabled business?
  • Are we getting full value from existing technology and platform investments in ERP, analytics, or collaboration tools? If not, what is needed to get the foundations right?
  • Where are the key investment areas that will maximise the contribution to the new vision?
  • Can we “de-risk” some of the investments through experimentation and controlled testing?
  • What skills are missing in our digital transformation initiatives? Do we need to hire new staff, retrain frontline employees, or partner with an IT services firm to gain digital capabilities?

Digital Execution

Only now can the leadership team start to talk about implementing technologies and business processes, hiring people with the right skills, and building organisations. This stage is about maximising organisational efficiency and achieving scalability for the new digital business model. In addition to the customer experience, you should also focus on business processes and internal customers. An understanding of workflows and data flows leads to better operational integration, and mining the data for business intelligence leads to more productive knowledge workers and better business decision-making.

Questions to ask at this stage include:

  • How do we communicate the vision and engage the organisation on a large scale? How do we monitor engagement?
  • What process do we have in place to iterate the digital vision and strategy?
  • How do we coordinate investments and activities across silos? What is the best organisational model to coordinate digital initiatives in parallel to the core of the business?
  • What KPIs and metrics do we need in place to monitor the progress of our digital transformation towards our strategic goals?
  • What mechanism do we use to make the necessary adjustments?

Making the Digital Transformation Roadmap Work

Quite simply, to achieve successful digital transformation, organisations must build a digital vision, develop a strategy, and design information architecture to guide technology choices and fully leverage investments.

Make no mistake, digital transformation isn’t meant to be easy, but it’s made even harder if there is friction between IT and the business, or if you’re a large traditional enterprise with decades of history and legacy. In these cases, it’s best to partner with a managed IT service provider, who will work with you to develop a practical digital roadmap that ensures technology investments are aligned with business outcomes.

Tags Digital Transformation, Digital