Digital Transformation

Lost in digital Transformation

Bright room with a couch
Author: Marcel Vandieken | Donnerstag, 13. April 2017
Category: Digital Transformation

Digital is en vogue. Almost every company in Germany has already launched digital initiatives that are aimed at preparing for the digital future. And since this is new territory for many companies, they are agile – as would be expected – having started many test and learning projects simultaneously. Today, however, it seems as if this pragmatic approach has taken on a life of its own: many German companies find themselves “Lost in Transformation”.

But how can companies know whether they have lost their way in this process? Here are four symptoms:

Copy & paste:

The pressure to act is growing but the company still has no plan. That leads it to base its digital initiatives on those of the competition and to adopt them without verifying their relevance to their own business model.

Divided teams:

There are deep divisions within teams, digital natives and digital immigrants work against each other costing a lot of time and resources and nipping innovative ideas in the bud.

Unclear guidelines:

We need to go digital! But the how, when and why are not clearly defined. Without guidelines to show the way to the objective, the digital transformation ends up rapidly going nowhere.

1001 silos:

New ideas are often addressed by a variety of people but there is no agreement between departments. What sometimes looks like the right thing to do may risk inefficiency and duplication of effort.

Digital transformation must not become an end in itself. Only through an overarching strategy and corresponding roadmap can companies ensure that their transformations are aligned with their corporate goals.


Checklist for Digital Transformation

1. Track: Build a solid information base

a. Customers & partners: Get to know your customers and partners
→ Key question: What (digital) needs and expectations do my customers and partners have?
→ Methodology: Persona models, customer Journey

b. Best practices: Consider the relevant competition
→ Key question: How are my competitors and other industries reacting to digital challenges?
→ Methodology: Best practice analysis, benchmarks

c. Self-assessment: Determine the “digital readiness” of your organisation
→ Key question: How well is my own organisation set up?
→ Methodology: Customer experience mapping, interviews with management, analysis and consolidation of existing strategies and initiatives, digital maturity level.

2. Think: Develop a clear direction

a. Digital target: Give your company a vision of its digital target
→ Key question: How should we position ourselves to be successful in the future?
→ Methodology: Interdisciplinary workshops to formulate key questions, guiding principles and a (digital) mission and vision

b. Digital agenda: Concentrate on your central fields of activity
→ Key question: Which fields of activity do we need to address in order to achieve our objective?
→ Methodology: Brainstorm long list measures in interdisciplinary workshops, structure topics, outline the envisaged initiatives, prioritise concrete actions to be taken

c. Digital roadmap: Convert your agenda into an agreed and binding roadmap
→ Key question: Which topics should we address; when, how and with whom?
→ Methodology: Estimate effort required, plan projects and resources, develop business case and obtain approval.

3. Make: Implement your plans

a. Digital board: Establish a central, overarching digital authority
→ Key question: How can we ensure the best possible coordination of our digital roadmap?
→ Methodology: Establish a central project management office to implement the project plan, track status, coordinate escalations, provide up-to-date information to all stakeholders

b. Digital change management: Get buy-in from your staff
→ Key question: How do we ensure staff enthusiasm and competency?
→ Methodology: Provide information in various formats, develop training

c. Review: Continually challenge the chosen path
→ Key question: Are my strategy and current initiatives still in line with the objectives?
→ Methodology: Update the “Track” and “Think” phases on an iterative basis, review project results, gain feedback from the teams.