With global spend on digital transformation predicted to reach $2.8 trillion by 2025, many businesses have allocated significant budget to technology investments for the coming years. Expectations are high.
Digital transformation is more than a technology initiative. To achieve the anticipated return on investment, you need to identify clearly the end goals, which in turn define the transformation to be effected. It involves a conscious and collaborative process to engage all stakeholders right off the bat.
Vision on outcomes
Outcomes of digital transformation initiatives usually are stated broadly. Common outcomes include innovative business model, better customer experience, process automation, productivity improvement, and cost savings.
To better define what these outcomes entail, you need to gather input from stakeholders who would be impacted.
For instance, what would create a competitive advantage? Do you want to improve customer purchase experience or repair support experience? What are the top problems you want to address? Who do you want to benefit the most?
Depending on the area(s) targeted for transformation, people who work in the frontline would have excellent input on the desired vision and priorities. The inclusive conversation enables you to have a holistic view on what the transformation needs to deliver.Depending on the area(s) targeted for transformation, people who work in the frontline would have excellent input on the desired vision and priorities. Click To Tweet
Once the outcomes are clearly defined, stakeholders need to depict what the ideal high level workflows would look like.
The high level workflows translate into requirements for the technology. As workflows involve interdependent tasks that cross departmental boundaries, this information would identify the type(s) of technology needed. This step is often overlooked in the technology selection process.
Would implementing a CRM be sufficient? Would you need to invest in an ERP with modules that could be added over time?
By articulating the desired workflows, you avoid silo thinking and the risk of improving work in one department at the expense of another. The information captured provides a base set of questions for screening technology.
Pertinent data capture
As the desired state comes together, needs for different stakeholder groups become clear. To perform work with speed and precision, data play a key role.
What data are necessary to get their respective work done? Which tasks would be performed by human versus technology?
Once the technology is selected, data needs would be incorporated into the solution design. With digital transformation, one of the main objectives, regardless of the type of transformation, is to leverage data for business intelligence. Hence, capturing pertinent data is a critical success factor.
To get users on-board and adopt the technology, it is vital that their needs are addressed properly, from data capture, to presentation of information, to access of data.
There is no doubt technology can amass data, but pertinent data is the backbone to providing business intelligence that inform decisions.
With pertinent data, stakeholders could access them to gauge progress and determine whether a change in the course of action is necessary, and whether the desired outcome is accomplished.
This means you need to present data relevant to specific roles, from executives to frontline employees. Thoughtful articulation of needs translates into report presentation that is easy to understand. Stakeholder input guides the depth of data and their presentation in a logic manner. It is not a job the technology team could do in isolation.
Many businesses tend to leave reporting to the end thinking that there would be no issue in accessing the mass volume of data the new technology would capture. Indeed, this turns out to be a post-implementation challenge.
Accessible and meaningful reporting is a core requirement for every digital transformation initiative. Without this capability, the business would have a technology tool but not a versatile business management tool.
Successful digital transformation requires collaborative contribution from stakeholders at every step. There is no short cut to understanding their vision and needs in totality. Implementation of a user-friendly technology that serves the stakeholders facilitates rapid adoption. Without engaging stakeholders for input, businesses risk misled objectives, change resistance, poor adoption, mediocre solution, and worse, a transformation that doesn’t make the grade.