Digital transformation initiatives will more than double by 2020, from 22% to almost 50%. But there are no clear-cut results that predict how many of these digital transformation initiatives will succeed or fail.
In today’s current age of digital disruption, enterprises face a cut-throat pressure to emerge out to be more competitive, thereby delivering more value and seamless experience to their customers in a faster, more nimble way. The opportunities are immense, but only for businesses that are willing to transform digitally.
However, one of the biggest challenges for organizations is that transformation does not happen overnight. To make it successful, there are certain parameters– a combination of cultural strategies, business, and IT process changes, and modern technology–that should be in place.
Here are the hallmarks of a successful digital transformation at your organization.
1. Making Data-Driven Decisions
“Data is the new oil…It’s valuable, but if unrefined it cannot really be used.” ~ Clive Humby, U.K. Mathematician, 2006
Today, organizations are sitting on mountains of unrefined data, oblivious about how to store, process, and utilize that valuable resource. Data and analytics are two vital components that drive digital business. And in one of our previous blogs, we mentioned that:
Breaking the traditional data pipelines and introducing a process-oriented data methodology that focuses on collaborative data management practice in your business model is a sign that you are on the right track of your digital transformation journey.
Further, after the addition of a good data strategy, if you are improving at cross-functional communication, integration, and automation of data flows, thereby making informed-predictive decisions; it clearly implies that your organization’s digital transformation journey is succeeding.
Starbucks’ Analytical Journey
Starbucks’ added an innovative data strategy in their digital transformation model. Since 2008, they are using an analytical approach when it comes to setting up their stores. They rely on data like average income, population density, and traffic patterns to identify target areas for a new store.
Moreover, they use exclusive customer data of 14 million users from the Starbucks Rewards loyalty program to make informed decisions and align its menu, product lines and change featured products according to customers’ preferences to drive and increase sales.
2. Introduction of New Cultural Norms
One of the significant elements that will keep you motivated in your digital transformation journey is ‘Survival.’ Technological disruption is considered a vital factor in reducing the average life expectancy of a Fortune 500 company from around 75 years—just half a century ago—to less than 15 years.
Thus, it is becoming more riskier to not proactively disrupt and transform your business than it is to pursue a digital transformation strategy that takes a broad view of innovation.
If you have included disruptive innovation in your digital transformation model and encourage risk-taking in your organization, along with building a culture of openness, knowledge sharing, and continuous learning; it means you are heading right towards a successful digital transformation journey. Rather than just being dependent upon innovation, focus on your competitors and borrow business models from other industries too.
For example, leading manufacturer General Electric (GE) took lessons from IoT pioneers to add digital, remote monitoring and optimization of their industrial machine products. This innovation improved GE’s position among its competitors.
Making such innovations in large, entrenched companies relies on a culture of calculated risk-taking.
3. Mastering Risk Management
Digital transformation pushes your organization to move fast, challenge the status quo, and build new technologies, and operational mindsets. Those who consider these factors as the only signals to successful digital transformation often fail. You can go through plenty of tech news gone wrong.
However, it does not point out that technology is not working or investment in digital transformation isn’t worth it, rather it shows that organizations are rushing headlong into digital transformation without a clear idea of where things could go off course—or how to get back on track.
Thus, if your organization has included a diligent design of risk management and controls—trying small experiments, gathering feedback from stakeholders, planning the next small experiment, and repeating until an effective and sustainable strategy emerges—around the digital transformation effort, means you are more likely to be managing a successful transformation program.
4. Leadership Selling the Digital Vision Across the Organization
Digital transformation needs to be adopted across the enterprise, not just in a few teams that are trying to improve their individual domains. And it requires full support from leadership. According to the Harvard Business Review, digital transformations that don’t have strong leadership from the top tend to be ad hoc and chaotic.
If the leadership of your organization is continuously involved in Active Communication of the Vision: an effective and satisfactory explanation to all the stakeholders about why the change is necessary, it implies you are being successful in your digital transformation journey.
Remember, your digital strategy needs to be interwoven into the business strategy. One of the key tips is to approach the transformation program as a product and brand it.
Angela Ahrendts, for instance, when took over as CEO of Burberry, launched a bold Art of the Trench campaign and an aggressive move towards digital transformation, which signaled her high level of ambition and rejuvenated the organization.
5. Acquiring the Right Capabilities
A digital-driven organization fosters a digital culture in its company across levels throughout all functions, processes, and communications. Thus, acquiring the right capabilities, tools, and talent becomes an important factor in building a digital-driven organization.
Besides hiring a digital skillset, if you have started to invest in the following technology capabilities, essential for digital-driven organization, then your digital transformation journey is succeeding:
- Platforms: A digital platform with integrated data and processes is one of the vital technology enablers for successful digital transformation. For instance, deploying a ‘cloud platform’ enables the flexibility and scalability required in digital transformation.
- Solution Delivery: Becoming a digital-driven organization demands effective methods and strong skills for solution delivery. While most companies have solid development methods in place, most of these seem not to be geared towards emerging digital technologies and practices. DevOps integration is a key component of solution delivery.
- Integration of Business and IT: A robust relationship between business and technology executives and teams is critical for a successful digital transformation journey.
Organizations with a good digital transformation strategy on the table can grow faster. Being digital provides organizations with an opportunity to boost customer experience. However, it requires cross-functional leadership—CMO, CTO, CIO, and CXO—to get it right. In a nutshell, digital transformation is about blending technology around a shared vision with no room for silo mentalities anymore.
Although there are many more factors that signal towards a successful digital transformation, keeping these points into consideration will somehow help you to assess whether you are succeeding in your digital transformation journey or not.
A well-structured strategy laid down with the help of an expert digital experience agency can help your organization sail through the journey of digital transformation, successfully.