The important thing to know is everyone’s journey will be different, but one thing is for sure, if you think it is an IT transformation you will be sadly mistaken. To break into the digital world, it must be a whole of business transformation, but you can find some tips on steering clear of trouble below.
Know Your Business Outcomes.
Why are you doing this and what are you hoping to achieve? Hot tip: The answer to this question has nothing to do with technology, and everything to do with how you are looking to transform your business outcomes. Clear problems you are looking to solve as a business, this is how you will ensure you are on the right track and measure success.
Set Guiding Principles.
If there is one thing for sure with a digital transformation and that is you will never know everything at the start of the project. Setting the vision and guidelines on how we will get there is important to ensure the team buys into the journey. With a clear vision and guiding principles when a difficult decision arises, the team will automatically know what the right decision should be without you in the room.
Get Executive Buy in.
Remember how we said this was a business transformation not an IT transformation? To be successful at this you need the business owners support, it will be a long journey and the support of the business is an absolute must.
A cross functional team that is not part of the operational day to day is essential. If you think the team will be able to take on the rigors of a digital transformation while still doing their day to day operational tasks, you may need to rethink that strategy. It is also important that the team make up includes a mix of people who can see the big picture and vision across business units, right down to people in the detail and operational level and people who can bring new ideas and challenge the status quo.
Architect from the Start.
Don’t wait until you are too far down the road to worry about your governance of the information and security risk component of your transformation. It is always more difficult to retrofit information and security frameworks after the fact. You need to know the businesses frameworks you want to adopt, know the company risk appetite, and spend the time to implement from the start, it can be very costly to complete later.
Fund as an Investment.
A Digital Transformation is not a normal operating expense of the business, so don’t treat it like one. It is a long term investment, not a short term operational expense. Separate funding will ensure you can clearly define a business case with clear ROIC and be measured on its success.
Don’t forget to be aware of the future state operating model costs; they may be higher than you anticipate.
Get the Foundations Right.
Moving things to cloud allows you to accelerate your speed to market, but if you don’t get your foundations right, you will accelerate to disaster. The core functions of IT don’t change and you should get them right first, otherwise what is a small problem now will become a massive problem in the cloud. Consider things like Security, Network, Identity Management, Data Management and Integration, know your capabilities and gaps in these spaces and make sure they are solid.
Choose the Right Cloud for your Business Model.
People throw the term cloud around pretty loosely these days. Amazon, Google, Azure, Public, Private, Hosted, SaaS/PaaS/IaaS, what does it all mean? Know what they all are and what is going to work for you is important, not all are the same. Know where your data is located and how secure it is, how much control do you want? What’s your risk appetite? Are you developing or buying? There are lots of questions to navigate to find what is right for your business and it may be a combination of more than one provider.
Align Commercial Models.
A digital transformation often means gaining flexibility and scalability in your digital solution, however, if you don’t align a flexible and scalable commercial model, your business may not see any benefit. Gone are the days on long term inflexible commercial models that lock you in If your provider isn’t passing on the benefits of the new world and pressuring you into commercial models that don’t align, you need to ask yourself why?
Get in the Shoes of your Customer.
Remember why you are doing this in the first place, it is to provide value back to your customer. So see your world from their perspective, talk to them, get feedbacks and make sure everything you are doing will improve their experience with you. Consider creating customer personas that represent your key customer demographics and make sure your transformation works for your target market.
Don’t Build Today into Tomorrow.
Digital Transformation; Read the second word again, it’s about transforming the way we work. Digital will bring opportunities to gain more efficient and effective outcomes, as long as you let it. Forget what you know and ask why, because ‘we have always done it that way’ is the answer that should spark your interest to re-evaluate. Re-engineer your business processes just like you have your technology and ensure you align your future state operating model to support the business outcome.
Don’t Gold Plate It, Find Modular Ways to Deliver.
The technology landscape changes quickly, lots can happen just in 6 months let alone the 2-3 years of a large scale transformation; the importance of bringing value back to your customer and to the business as soon as possible have never been more critical. Deliver value and continually iterate and improve on it, if you wait for it to be just perfect, you will often fall behind the market and miss business or customer expectations.
Moving things to cloud allows you to accelerate your speed to market, but if you don’t get your foundations right, you will accelerate to disaster
Be Flexible With Your Strategy.
I have yet to find in the history of projects, a team that knew absolutely everything about their project at the start. And, digital transformation will be a lengthy project to delivery; you will learn about your business, your customers, your team, and yourself throughout the journey. And, those inputs will require change along the way. Make sure you continually re-evaluate your performance and how that is tracking against business needs. Don’t get fixated on a locked in plan, never be afraid to change direction as you learn more about the journey.
The journey will be tough and challenging, but also incredibly rewarding for your team and your business, but most importantly for your customer. Make sure everything you do comes back to improving their experience