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Digital Transformation

How to approach digital transformation

The goal of a digital transformation programme is to be a truly customer-centric, responsive and collaborative business. The journey to get there is a challenging one but, by focusing on the right enablers and core competencies it is achievable – here’s how:

Key enablers

  • A clear and transparent strategy is required. This needs to include the vision and a roadmap of the practical steps required to move from the current state to a fully digitally capable business. The strategy needs to address both the business and technology changes that are required, and should be co-created by business and IT. Business and IT need to effectively merge into a single delivery team and share the vision, strategy and roadmap from the beginning.
  • Strong, top-down leadership is required from the executive team. They need to live and breathe the principles and values of the culture change required. Collaboration between the leaders of business and IT, means they are all demonstrating and driving the same behaviour towards a common goal.
  • A supportive funding model is required. Service-based funding models lead to multiple separate initiatives that are not aligned. Moving towards an investment- based and centralised funding model allows a business to focus on the roadmap, and deliver the capabilities required to truly transform the business.
  • A collaborative working environment with strong business and IT integration is needed. A cross-functional, working approach should be encouraged where team’s own delivery and are willing to step in and assist in other roles when required.
  • The executive needs to encourage a culture that is open to risk and change. Failure is acceptable but with the proviso that lessons are learnt, and teams always move forward in a positive manner. Successes need to be celebrated and learning shared across the organisation to ensure good working practices are embedded and less successful practices avoided.

Core people competencies

  • Strong leadership skills are required at all levels. Leaders influence others by demonstrating new ways of working, collaborating, communicating transparently and dealing with challenges in a mature and positive manner.
  • Decentralised accountability is required to enable teams to own deliveries and take the decisions required quickly to meet deadlines. This makes strong decision-making skills and personal accountability highly desirable character traits.
  • T-shaped people have a great depth of knowledge and experience in a particular skill or two, and have limited experience in a wide range of other skills. This allows team members to assist on a variety of tasks if required and reduces risks associated with team members being unavailable which in turn alleviates pressure when bottle necks occur.
  • As organisations move to more iterative, flexible and adaptable delivery models, experience in all delivery methodologies is advantageous. This allows people to select the best approach to achieve the desired outcomes most effectively.

Core process competencies

  • The build, measure, learn and iterate approach should be utilised. This enables continuous process refinement and encourages innovation in teams.
  • Data should drive and inform all decision-making processes in the business. This ties in strongly with the concept of build, measure, learn and iterate.
  • Strong feedback and response processes need to be included. This ensures that learnings are shared and insights are acted upon.
  • It is important that silos are broken down and common ways of working are implemented across the organisation. Many deliveries require integration with other teams and areas, by having common ways of working, efficiency is achieved and rapid delivery is possible.

Core technology competencies

  • Invest in flexible and adaptive technology platforms that make internal and third-party integration easy
  • Design and build functionality using Application programming interfaces (APIs), making them available for consumption via API gateways. This enables systems, apps and platforms to connect to each other and share services and data.
  • centralised digital management and optimisation hub allows the business to seamlessly deliver a consistent, personalised user experience across multiple channels.

If you ensure that these key enablers and core competencies are in place, you will give yourself the best possible chance of achieving the organisation-wide change that is required to transform your business from its current state to a truly customer-centric, responsive and collaborative digitally-driven organisation.  If you are needing some assistance with this please get in touch.

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