How to make Digital Transformation Work

Companies face an array of challenges, how to stay relevant during the evolution of our digital era is one of them.   Everyone wants to go digital but first we need to understand what that means.  For digital transformation to work, the CIO needs to drive change.  It is not just about the hardware and software you are buying but change within your businesses culture and the way you operate, its about your IT becoming a business enabler rather than support function.

According to Jürgen Meffert, co-author of Digital @ Scale, Successful digital transformations require clarity, urgency, and planning.  We have had a look at the challenges businesses are facing and what the experts are saying.

Top challenges businesses face whilst undergoing a digital transformation

Lack of understanding – you need to ask what does digital mean for you and your business in your industry specifically?

Urgency – this is difficult for many to understand if a business is still performing well.  Why should they change? see breaking the habit

Planning – what’s an appropriate plan to do this at scale?

Understanding – your current business setup and how to change it to adapt to the new environment. This includes talent management.

What’s the main trap businesses fall into when driving digital transformation?

As a business you need to look at; What is changing? What kind of new opportunities are emerging? What type of business models are emerging and might bring additional value? And who’s pressing you, possibly with new technologies, and is about to challenge your business model?

By addressing those “what” questions we are naturally lead to a methodical understanding of how digital works with your current business model, end to end.

Doing this requires design thinking, the process should start with you understanding your customer pain points rather than only with a technical idea. Finally, there’s the supply chain.  Ask yourself have you used all the means and capabilities to get what the customer wants, not only in terms of cost, but also in terms of response time?

And finally the how question?  how do we achieve this?  through the process of creating a meaningful plan that recognises its all about the customer.

It’s an end-to-end view. And it’s about recognizing that we must break the functional habits.

Tools and KPIs need to be put in place to create milestones that challenge budgeting, talent and decision making processes.

Once this process is complete and you have your tool set and governance in place it is time to scale, a process that must touch your whole organisation and will include structural changes.

Whilst these processes sound daunting, becoming a fast and agile business utilising different people and different talents will give your business the freedom it needs to grow.







Ref: John Wiley & Sons, June 2017 | Jürgen Meffert and Anand Swaminathan
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