Digital transformation is one of the often-mentioned topics in business nowadays – and for a good reason! Through digital transformation, you’ll be able to fundamentally change your organization and set it on a path to success.
The entire digital transformation journey is a difficult one to go on alone, so we’d like to offer you a helping hand. With over 15 years of hands-on experience in digitalizing numerous world-renowned organizations, we’ve got the right skills and tools to help your company fully go digital.
This entire process will require you to answer a handful of complex questions, but in this article, we’ll provide you with a structured 7-step process to help you start with your digital transformation journey as soon as possible.
Before we dive into the article, just a short call to action. Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s talk about your next business idea!
Now, let’s start!
Step 1) Determine what digital transformation means for your organization
Even though this may seem to you a bit redundant at first, you’ll need to strongly determine what digital transformation means for your organization and what you’re trying to achieve in the long term.
Have in mind that every single process of digital transformation is unique, hence there is no universally accepted definition of digital transformation that can apply to every single process.
There are many different factors you’ll need to count on and several stages of digital transformation you’ll need to go through. So, before you go in headfirst, make sure that you know exactly what you’re aiming to get out of digital transformation.
Look at the big picture and identify all the novelties it can bring to your company.
Here are some of the main factors you’ll need to think about before starting your digital transformation journey:
- Industry and its maturity
- Your competitors and their activities
- Your customers and their demands and expectations
- Value chain
- Challenges you’ll need to overcome
Once you’re completely confident about why you want to start your digital transformation journey, you can move on to the next step. Having a clearly defined idea of your end goal will help you more accurately calculate your budget and create more specific goals.
A quick note – We’ve written an in-depth article on the role of digital transformation in business growth that will help you precisely point out what you’ll be able to gain from digitally transforming your entire organization. Be sure not to miss it!
Now, let’s move on to the next step.
Step 2) Analyze your current state of the organization
Once you’ve decided what are the main reasons to start your digital transformation journey, you’ll need to analyze the current state of your organization, including each and every component.
To do this a bit more easily, we’ll help you analyze your organization with a set of predefined questions.
There are 6 crucial areas of your organization we’ll go through:
- Strategy and company leadership
- Data management
- Customer experience
- Company culture
After you’ve answered all these questions, you’ll be able to start devising your digital transformation strategy.
Strategy & company leadership
Here, you’ll need to think about the big picture. So, here are a few questions to get you started:
- Do we already have a digital transformation strategy?
- Do we have an implementation plan?
- How much will digital transformation cost our organization?
- Where are we currently – where do we start?
We’ll talk more in-depth about digital transformation strategies in this article and help you clarify this third step. There is a great number of factors you’ll need to take into account when planning your digital transformation journey, and the strategy & company leadership aspect is only one of many.
The current state of technology
We can’t deny the impact of technology on digital transformation. It’s essential to every single outcome of digital transformation. More accurately, it is a catalyst for change.
Technology allows organizations to actively form the new business environment, regardless of the industry.
Here are 5 questions you could answer to better analyze the current state of technology:
- Have we updated the technologies we’re currently using?
- Do you see any space for improvement?
- Which exact technologies are we using now?
- Which technologies could we use in the future?
- Do we have a dedicated team for updating and improving our technology?
Changes usually don’t happen overnight. The changes in your technology will also happen gradually. The whole point of this chapter is to ensure that you’re thinking about the right things at the right time.
For example, if you haven’t updated or implemented some of your basic technologies (such as project management tools, accounting platforms, intranet, internal communication tools, etc…), then there is no need to jump onto advanced technologies like big data analytics, AI and machine learning.
Ideally, you’d progress through certain levels. You simply can’t jump from technology level 1 to technology level 5 without any repercussions. Every single change you make needs to be carefully planned and gradually implemented.
You can count on Lumen Spei to provide you with a clear roadmap, tailored to your organization, and end-to-end support with all your digital transformation efforts.
Operations and processes
The overall success of your operations and processes highly depends on your current state of technology. We won’t list several questions you could answer here, but only one:
- Are our processes efficient? If they are, how can we improve them even more? And if they aren’t, how can we change that?
The key to solving this issue lies in the automatization of repetitive manual tasks – which in turn requires a specific level of technology implemented. For example, here you could find great use of both artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies.
Crafting new efficient workflows is a time-consuming process – and we’ll gladly help you create new processes from the ground up and enhance your existing ones! Contact us and let’s talk about your organization’s priorities!
To continue, the next crucial area we’ll cover is data management.
Nowadays, data is the most valuable asset an organization can own. Especially if you’re trying to start your digital transformation journey, you’ll need to have clean and accurate data at your disposal anytime.
Here are 5 questions you can answer to analyze the current state of data management in your organization:
- Is our data organized? If it is, how is it organized? If it isn’t, how we can organize it?
- Are we analyzing our data and what methods are we using?
- Do we have dedicated data analysts working on our data?
- What kind of tools and technologies are we using to analyze the data? Do we need any new tools and technologies for this purpose?
- Do we have all the needed data? If not, what data is missing?
You can notice that all these questions we’re writing down are completely straightforward. If you manage to take some time to answer all the questions we’ve cited in this article, you’ll find yourself in a situation where you’ll have almost everything prepared to properly start planning your digital transformation journey.
Have in mind that data is the primary resource of your organization. From obtaining new data to delivering it via any kind of distribution channel you choose, you’ll need to take care of data quality.
To be aware of possible new issues, be sure to read our detailed article on data silos and their negative impact on organizations. Besides data silos, there are numerous challenges of digital transformation you’ll face, so feel free to reach out to us whenever you need any help.
Next, let’s talk about company culture and how it affects your digital transformation efforts.
We’ve already said – digital transformation is more people-focused than technology-focused. Even though new tools and technologies are a prerequisite, your digital transformation efforts will be in vain if your employees can’t keep up with all novelties.
To assess the current state of your company culture, here are a few questions you’ll need to find answers to:
- Did we clearly define goals for every single employee?
- Do we have a system in which we keep all our employee information?
- How can we reward our employees for their achievements?
- Which skills do our employees have, which skills do they need to have, and which skills can they obtain?
Knowledge-sharing between employees is crucial. We can’t stress this enough – all your employees need to function as a single unit, like a single great mechanism consisting of numerous cogs and wheels that keep the mechanism functioning flawlessly.
Once your employees feel that they have more to gain by sharing their knowledge than by keeping it to themselves – you’ll see a shift in your employee relations, even on a personal level.
When you’ve considered the current state of your company culture, the last thing you’ll need to assess is the customer experience you’re providing.
The ultimate goal of digital transformation is to provide your customers with an incredible experience. We’ve been saying that people are at the center of digital transformation – and it couldn’t be more true.
After all, your company exists because of your customers and their needs and wants. We can freely say that providing the best possible customer experience is not just the responsibility of one or two departments. Every single employee is responsible.
Let’s just shortly expand on this. Even though not every employee works in a domain that directly affects the quality of customer experience – their work might impact other employees. And in turn, those employees may be the ones designing and creating your products.
To assess the state of customer experience you’re providing, here are 5 questions you can try answering:
- How are we communicating with our customers?
- Are we adequately responding to their needs and wants?
- On how many offline and online channels are we present?
- How much effort are we putting into communication with our customers?
- Are we actively and continuously launching and monitoring offline and online campaigns?
Make sure that every decision you make works to the benefit of your customers – and you’ll see how quickly your customers will notice the effects of your decisions.
Here’s a quick reminder on 6 areas of your business you’ll need to focus on before getting down to strategizing.
You’ve been reading this for a few minutes now – and we’re finally at step 3!
Step 3) Craft a digital transformation strategy
Now, you know what digital transformation means to your company and you know exactly where you are now regarding several aspects we’ve mentioned in step 2.
It’s time to get strategic.
On your quest to find valuable information on digital transformation strategy, you’ll find that various sources will offer you some kind of generalized digital transformation strategy template, allegedly to save you some time.
But keep in mind that there is no universal roadmap to digital transformation. Luckily, we have prepared for you a list of questions. Try to answer these questions and you’ll see yourself soon holding the first draft of your digital transformation strategy.
So, let’s jump in.
What goals do we want to achieve?
- What is the long-term objective?
- What are the intermediate objectives?
- What do we need to do first?
- What knowledge do we need?
- What needs to be connected?
- What skills do we have and what skills do we need?
Which resources do we need?
- Why do we need to transform our organization?
- Who can validate this?
- Who do we need to involve?
- Who do we have and what capabilities do they have?
- What other capabilities do we need from whom?
- Who can connect what?
Who can help us with “what”?
- Who can help with gathering insights?
- How do we bring various “informers” together?
- How is the customer involved?
- Who does what? Who takes the lead for what?
- Have we involved the right “external” parties?
- Who can help with the building blocks and barriers?
- What ecosystems can augment our goals?
- Who signs off the strategy, means, and KPIs to achieve the “what”?
At first, these questions may seem a bit hard to answer – and you’d be correct to assume that. Each question requires a substantial amount of time and effort, so it’s not surprising that the digital transformation journey can last for several years.
Now, why does the digital transformation journey last for that long?
As we mentioned earlier – digital transformation is not an end goal, it’s a journey. More accurately, it’s a continuous cycle of transforming both internal and external processes.
It may sound a bit confusing – but the main goal of digital transformation is to enable future digital transformation efforts.
New technologies such as blockchain, AI, and ML are rapidly taking over the business environment. By the time you implement these new technologies, newer ones will follow and there will be room for improvement.
Keep this in mind – change is a constant!
Step 4) Get the necessary executive buy-in for digital transformation
You’ve assessed the current state of your organization and crafted a winning digital transformation strategy – now what?
Now it’s time to “sell” your strategy to your executives and ensure that they provide full support during the entire digital transformation journey. This is a necessary step and an extremely crucial one to get the process of digital transformation started – but also to secure the necessary funds.
It may sound pretty straightforward, but you’ll need to take some time to plan your pitch and make sure that every single executive understands exactly what you want to achieve, how you’ll do it, and what resources you require.
Now, after strategizing and securing executing buy-in, it’s time to create a tactical plan for the implementation of new tools, processes, and technologies.
Step 5) Create a tactical plan
You’re already fully aware that digital transformation isn’t an overnight process and that you’ll need to have a detailed tactical plan for your strategy.
Let’s name a quick example. If you’ve identified an opportunity for implementing new technologies – consider doing it regularly and continuously raising the level of digitalization in your organization.
Your strategy will provide you with accurate and detailed guidelines upon which you’ll devise tactical plans and continue with your digital transformation efforts.
Step 6) Get your human resources right
The fact is that many digital transformation projects fail. Most often, the reason for failure is the lack of needed skills.
This doesn’t come off as a surprise because not all your employees are ready from the start to use these new tools and technologies. In many cases, your employees won’t even know how to use all these new tools.
So, providing your employees with the right education and ensuring that the right employees are working on your projects is of paramount importance.
In 2017, The Prophet issued a report in which 31% of participants said that their biggest digital transformation challenge was a lack of skills and expertise.
Additionally, LinkedIn and Capgemini carried out research a few months later stating that among more than 1200 HR executives, 54% of them say that the gap in digital talent is slowing down the progress of their digital transformation efforts.
We can say that top digital talent is vital in order to carry out digital transformation successfully.
Claudia Crummenerl, Managing Director of People & Organization at Capgemini Invent, says that it’s people, not just new technology, who bring digital transformation to life. In the video below, find out more about how you can approach the human resources aspect and ensure you have the talent you need to carry out the digital transformation.
And finally, we’ve arrived at the last step of your preparation for your unique digital transformation journey.
Step 7) Prepare the entire organization for digital transformation
Now, it’s time to let all your employees and team members know what’s about to go down. You’ll need to take care of internal communications to ensure that everyone is on the same page.
And be prepared – it’s not an easy task to do. You may even want to prepare a communications plan that will stretch out for quite some time. Not every employee will fully understand the need for digital transformation right from the start.
If you’re not communicating the value of your upcoming digital transformation journey to your employees, the chances are that you won’t have their buy-in. And let me remind you that having all your employees on board is essential.
After all, they are the ones that will be involved in new processes and will use new tools and technologies. So, providing your employees with a detailed tactical plan is of the essence.
Also, you’ll probably want to organize additional internal training sessions so that all your employees are fully prepared for what’s coming next – target market domination.
Finally, when your employees are prepared and have everything they need – it’s time to start!
You’re looking for help with digital transformation?
Once everything is prepared, it’s time to launch your digital transformation project.
And to ensure everything goes without any serious issues or setbacks, you’ll definitely want to partner with proficient experts in the field of digital transformation.
Our team at Lumen Spei has more than 15 years of hands-on experience with high-profile clients and challenging digitalization projects. We’re fully prepared to provide you with complete end-to-end support to ensure your digital transformation efforts end up successfully.