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How To Build a Digital Transformation Strategy

How to Build a Digital Transformation Strategy

Digital transformation is an epic journey, therefore, you need a plan. Read our guide to creating a strong transformation strategy.

When you are at the beginning of your digital transformation journey, it can feel like standing at the foot of a giant mountain.

When faced with a daunting climb, ascending is almost impossible without a carefully considered plan. Similarly, reaching the top is far more likely with the help of an experienced partner. What is true for mountaineering is also true for digital transformation. Not only do you need a strategy, but you’re far better off by taking the journey with someone who’s been there and done that. 

Before you start — do you really need to climb this mountain?

Before setting out on your journey, you might wonder if digital transformation is the right way to go. Usually, clear signs point to the need to transform, most of which have grown far bigger and brighter since the onset of the pandemic.

The most glaring is that ‘business as usual’ is no longer cutting it. Perhaps business isn’t repeating at the same rate, or you’re no longer getting as many referrals, or previously successful promotions are failing to generate leads. If these sound familiar, chances are you need to consider a digital transformation strategy. 

You may also be getting internal signals from employees. Individuals and teams could be complaining that they can no longer collaborate successfully, especially with the move to the hybrid workplace. They may be asking for features you’re unable to provide, but that have become commonplace in consumer apps. 

These are just some of the many issues that are best tackled by heading towards that mountain.

Make sure you have a vision

Any successful endeavour in business, whether short-, medium-, or long-term, begins with the formulation of a vision. 

To create your own vision, imagine a hypothetical point in the future where you’ve achieved what you set out to do. For the mountaineer, this could be anything from achieving a personal best climb, to reaching the summit of Everest. For a business undertaking digital transformation, it could mean integrating outdated systems so that your entire organisation is working together. 

You don’t have to scale an entire mountain or update all your systems all at once. However, you can’t take the first step towards either without having at least a general sense of where you’re heading.

Prioritise your objectives

Once you’ve formulated your vision, it’s time to break the overall goal down into smaller objectives. When it comes to digital transformation, especially on an organisation-wide scale, it’s important to identify the objectives that will drive the most success, and start there. 

This could mean taking a forensic look at all your departments and verticals and identifying which would benefit most from transformation. You should also consider which departments will deliver the greatest returns the quickest. By starting with the teams that provide the fastest returns, you can prove quicker return on investment.  

You should also plan how other teams will be a part of that same transformation down the line. If transforming your sales processes is a priority, then it’s important to understand how marketing will become a part of that same digital world, even if that won’t happen for a while.

Involve the right people at the right time

Digital transformation is a complete change to the way you do business. Even if you’re prioritising certain objectives over others, your entire workforce is going to be affected. Implementing systems incrementally or all-at-once is only part of the process. You also need to make sure that the digital transformation sticks on a human level. In order for that to happen, you need to bring everyone along with you.

This doesn’t mean that all employees in all departments have to be involved from day one. But it is a good idea to make everyone aware of the changes—they’ll be involved eventually. 

It’s important to choose the right people for the team that leads the transformation. Every organisation has employees who embrace change, but there may be those who are hesitant. Make sure that you include both kinds of people in your transformation team. The people excited by change will bring others along with them on the journey. Those who are more reluctant will give you much-needed perspective. 

Communication is vital. The more transparency, the more likely you are to get a buy-in from the right people at the right time.

Consider a partner

Climbing a mountain is always going to be more manageable with the help of someone who has been there before. This is particularly relevant for small and medium-sized businesses who may be even further away from the digital world than larger organisations. 

Digital transformation isn’t always a quick or easy process. Enlisting the help of an expert can simplify and speed up the digital transformation process. This could save you time, money, and energy in the long run. 

Make sure that you select the right partner, though! Just like with mountaineering, you should make sure that the partner you choose has experience in the landscape you work in. Many providers will claim that they can help you, so take the time to ensure that they understand your industry, and have experience with businesses of your size.

Don’t be afraid to fail

You will formulate a vision, prioritise your objectives, and take a carefully planned journey towards your ultimate goal. You may enlist the expertise of a partner, and get a buy-in from the right people at the right time. But not everything is always going to go according to plan. Don’t be scared to take calculated risks. 

As with mountaineering, you may occasionally fail to travel as far as you thought by the end of the day. You may find one route harder than expected, and you may have to pause and find a better way up. 

Understand that not every move will end in a win. As long as you remember your vision and your strategy, you’ll be prepared to face each new step in the journey. 

Download our e-book and read about the five steps top organisations take to reimagine their businesses and improve customer experiences. Blaze your trail to digital transformation today!

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