A is for Alignment

The ABCs of Digital Business Transformation

When it comes to digital business transformation (DBT), why do some organizations succeed and others fail?

We explored this question at length in
The Journey Towards Digital Transformation, the latest white paper published by Elite Program Management (EPM). Since then, business leaders have been reaching out to learn more. Their inquiries usually focus on three main themes:

Aligning DBT with an organization’s  strategic vision 
Business change enablement
• Complex technology integration

This blog is the first in a series that highlights the ABCs of digital business transformation. 

A is for Alignment

DBT goes hand in hand with strategic vision

By Waseem Sinjakli

When freight trains travel along a track, one misalignment can set the entire mission off course. And the same is true in business. 

Each organization has a distinct culture, value proposition and strategic vision. These attributes have the potential to set them apart from the competition, enabling them to thrive in a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) economy. 

That’s why aligning DBT with an organization’s strategic vision is a fundamental prerequisite to success. Failure to do so can impede progress and potentially send the wrong message to the workforce – that the need to digitally transform is not critical.

The EPM team has experienced this first-hand when working with clients. We’ve helped organizations to effectively engage their employees by positioning them at the core of their DBT journey, which allows employees to make individual contributions and realize collective results. This proves to be effective because the DBT road map aligns with the company’s existing strategic vision – something they are all familiar with. 

DBT starts from the top and bottom

Successful clients often follow an approach that includes both top-down and bottom-up components. At the outset of a DBT journey, the top-down elements give the board of directors and C-suite personnel an opportunity to set the tone. This allows them to underscore the importance of the initiative to the organization, aligning it with the company’s strategic vision and goals. 

In addition, a comprehensive Organizational Change Management (OCM) framework can drive business change in an organization. This enhances the ability of executive sponsors and leaders to communicate regularly, proactively and effectively. Moreover, the board of directors can also reserve a regular time slot in quarterly meetings for updates and to lend support. This demonstrates continued engagement and sends a clear message of the company’s commitment to success.

Town hall meetings are another way that business leaders can reiterate key messages and highlight the importance of realizing DBT goals. These meetings also give employees the opportunity to ask questions and engage in robust dialogue with company leaders, which help to build relationship and trust.

When it comes to rolling out a DBT plan, the bottom-up components have the power to energize the workforce. They allow employees to efficiently define and plan the various work streams, ensure effective engagement and ownership right at the start, and help to customize a delivery approach that reflects the brand of the organization. 

People strive to learn, grow and prosper. DBT programs and projects offer many opportunities for employees to broaden their skill sets, move to the next level or a different role that aligns with their career aspirations. Recognizing and rewarding change agents, while providing ample opportunities for employee development, will deliver and maximize impact on DBT initiatives. 

Are you embarking on a digital transformation journey? The following enablers will ensure your DBT efforts effectively align with your strategic vision:

1. Employee engagement 

Employees are the prime custodians of change – effectively the owners of the final product of the digital transformation. Knock down the barriers to DBT success by effectively engaging employees throughout the process. Business strategy in the digital era creates more opportunities for staff to work towards the same objectives and share a common goal.

2. Governance structure

Good governance supports successful DBT that aligns with the strategic vision of an organization. A proper structure maximizes results through the steering, operating and working committees. This promotes collaboration and rapid decision-making across all organizational levels. 

3. A compelling digital strategy story

Why is digital transformation important, and what could it do for your company? Figuring out how to answer that question – while making it meaningful for everyone involved – is a major step in your digital transformation journey.

Once you know your digital strategy story, make sure that other company leaders know how to tell it through the lens of your strategic vision. Sometimes, it helps to incorporate relevant illustrations. What would a typical day look like for an employee working in a digital environment?

4. Strong OCM capabilities

It is important to assess the strength of your organizational change management (OCM) capabilities. Do you need to acquire these services externally? 

Everything about digital transformation and disruptive business models goes against the traditional concepts of risk containment and controls. DBT is about moving fast, challenging the status quo, and developing and scaling new technologies. 

A well-structured OCM initiative enables a successful business change that stays on track with an organization’s strategic vision. This approach supports leaders in customizing strategies that can propel the change forward. 

5. The critical piece: preparing for a culture shift

Laying the foundation for the culture shift is a critical step in the DBT process. Find ways to energize your culture, and incentivize stewardship of change and good behaviour. Success can only come through a careful orchestration of organizational capabilities in light of a clear transformational vision. 

It is paramount to align digital business transformation with the strategic goals of an organization. Without a doubt, this is the best way to start your journey in the right direction. Ready for the next step? Watch for the next blog in this series: B is for Business Change Drivers.

Are you planning to embark on a DBT journey? Contact us at info@eliteprogrammanagement.com for a more in-depth discussion related to your business.

Waseem Sinjakli is the founder and Managing Director of Elite Program Management.

© 2021 Elite Program Management. All rights reserved.

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