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 last in a three-part series that highlights the ABCs of digital business transformation.
The first two blogs focused on the strategic and change management aspects of DBT by sharing pragmatic insights on tying digital road maps to the organizational vision and goals.
These blogs also include tips on effective communication channels, stakeholder engagement, governance, cultural change readiness, paving the path for embracing DBT, and the key role of organizational change management (OCM) in maximizing success.
Business leaders across various industries can use this information to ensure positive outcomes and avoid costly pitfalls, which can easily derail their DBT journeys. Visit eliteprogrammanagement.com/blogs/ to view the full series.
C is for Complex
The integration of complex technology is the cornerstone of DBT
By Waseem Sinjakli
Over the past few decades, business leaders have turned to technology for various solutions: to transform their business processes and operations, increase resiliency and accelerate innovation.
Technology has become a cornerstone to unlocking incremental efficiencies and effectiveness. It also plays a crucial role in reducing operating costs, minimizing risk, ensuring business continuity and increasing data reliability. Many boards of directors have come to appreciate the value of DBT. In fact, some mandate that at least one member of the board and/or the company executives have the required digital acumen and experience to support digital innovation.
When Nike was searching for their next CEO, one of the key criteria for candidates was an established track record in technology and championing innovation, as well as a deep exposure to digital transformation. It is no wonder that John Donahoe, the former CEO at an enterprise software company, ServiceNow, was hired.
There are various ways to acquire technology, including the procurement of “off-the-shelf” solutions, customizing new products from scratch and developing incremental capabilities for an existing solution. But no matter which technology option you choose, there is one determining factor for successful DBT – integration.
Nowadays, it’s uncommon to hear of DBT initiatives failing because the technology did not address the business needs. Through proper due diligence and stringent technology qualifications, business leaders can often mitigate this risk at the beginning of the procurement or Request for Proposal (RFP) process.
Successful DBT initiatives hinge greatly on achieving integration across business processes, people and technology – while preparing the organizational culture to sustain the acquired product.
Have you positioned your DBT initiative for optimal complex technology integration? Here are key enablers that will help keep you on track:
1. Business and technology
DBT requires a radical change to your business strategy, processes and culture. Organizations need to account for both the reality of new digitalization across business departments and the high likelihood of elevated customer expectations.
Without a doubt, integration of complex technology is an inevitable component in your business’ re-engineered strategies and processes. Remember to position technology as a business enabler and a by-product of achieving transformational outcomes.
2. Minimum Viable Product (MVP)
An MVP should have just enough features to satisfy early internal and/or external customers and provide insights for future product development.
Properly established digital road maps and business priorities set the stage for embracing the MVP concept, prototyping and continuous improvement.
Producing an MVP promotes consensus and helps to define the basic product features the technology will need at the outset – to deliver the most value to the business community.
An MVP can also help to achieve the following goals:
- Reduce implementation costs
- Test the demand for your product (before releasing a full-fledged product)
- Avoid failures and large capital losses
- Gain valuable insights on what works and what doesn’t work
- Work directly with your business stakeholders to analyze their behaviours and preferences
- Gather and enhance your user base
3. Demonstrating progress through early wins
Focusing on results and achieving early wins are critical steps in the DBT process. This is a significant way to ensure stakeholder engagement and showcase progress.
Successful DBT always ensures that the organizational change management approach incorporates early wins into the training strategy, various communications, and overall campaign plans to promote achievements and rally the workforce.
Early wins can take many forms: This includes delivering a prototype, addressing high value business challenges through automation, unlocking competitive advantages without months of planning and developing a robust solution. Enabling out-of-the box capabilities that can achieve high business impact – while working in the background on a more tailored solution for a greater outcome – could also be an early win.
4. Capitalizing on iterative feedback and lessons learned
Organizations often identify lessons learned late in the process – most commonly during the project close-out phase – which can be applied to future initiatives. While this might be beneficial for certain types of projects, DBT is vastly different: lessons learned need to be captured regularly to gather constructive feedback and adjust the course.
Integrating complex technology involves a high degree of risk and uncertainly, diverse stakeholders and a cross-functional impact. Therefore, the ability to conduct a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis, identify lessons learned and realign throughout the process are key drivers for success.
5. Prioritizing integration for your DBT
If your business is embarking on a DBT journey, plan for integration to serve a key role. If you are continuing a DBT initiative, you may be realizing that integration looms larger than you had originally planned for.
Remember, the success of DBT hinges greatly on integration across business processes, people and complex technology. Leaders at the helm of DBT initiatives should be vigilant in ensuring proper integration to maximize success.
6. The critical piece: agility in decision making
Bring the Silicon Valley start-up culture inside. Silicon Valley start-ups are known for their agile decision making, rapid prototyping and flat structures. The process of digital transformation is inherently uncertain: changes need to be made quickly, and groups from across the organization need to get involved. As a result, traditional hierarchies may get in the way.
Establish turnaround times and a decision-making RACI (responsible, accountable, consulted, and informed) early on – especially if traditional hierarchies are a known constraint.
When done right, DBT is a powerful tool that can unlock tremendous opportunities and organizational potential. The complex and disruptive world we live in, the need for organizations to stay competitive, and the heightened focus on value for money all lead to one thing: the need to leverage complex technology to solve business challenges and attain success.
Are you planning to embark on a DBT journey? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a more in-depth discussion related to your business.
Waseem Sinjakli is the founder and Managing Director of Elite Program Management.