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A digital transformation strategy is a key part of a digital transformation project. It's a strategy that will re-shape your business as a digital business, focused on using technology to continuously deliver new value and better customer outcomes. But why do you need one? And how can you create this strategy? Keep reading…

The importance of a digital transformation strategy

The definition of digital transformation is that it’s a type of business transformation that’s driven by technology. But technology isn’t the only focus; there’s also value creation, managing organisational risk and other disciplines such as effective change management.

Digital transformation strategy

To succeed in transformation, you need to look at the bigger picture.

  • What megatrends are coming down the line?
  • What will your customers want or need?
  • How can we innovate?
  • What’s working and what’s not working in your market and your business?
  • What do you want to improve?
  • Can this piece of technology help?
  • Will your employees want to use this technology?
  • Have you considered their point of view and asked for their input?

So you see, digital transformation is about more than simply using technology to improve your old processes. It’s about using technology to deliver new value for all stakeholders and empowering your employees to take advantage of these improved capabilities and continue improving. That’s why value creation and change management are so important.

Old business transformation approaches no longer cut it. It’s the modern value-driven, people-centric, design thinking, lean and iterative approaches that can massively improve success.

How to create your digital transformation strategy

Successful digital and business transformation should be done with a holistic, yet lean and agile approach. There are three vital ‘directional disciplines’ which will dictate how you will reach your vision and a series of ‘enabling disciplines’, which refer to your business’ capability to do it.

The right configuration of these disciplines, alongside aligned leadership with the right mindset, robust management and method, and you’re well on your way to success.

Step one: Consider the 3 directional disciplines of digital transformation

Business strategic direction

  1. Value-driven - identify the potential business value of a transformation, decide the investment is both worthwhile and achievable, and then manage the value elements through to successful delivery and sustainable outcomes.
  2. Strategically led - this is about having a bold vision and strategic intent. You must clearly understand the need for transformation and integration of essential aspects into other fields regarding the transformation strategy and readiness.
  3. Risk management - know the appetite and management of business or enterprise risk. Risk management must be a fundamental guide to the planning, development and effective execution of a business transformation.

All three must be tightly integrated, led and supported with the capabilities and maturity that enables the organisation to be ‘fit for the transformation.’ In the directing, strong abilities are required in:

  • Leadership and management
  • Resilient behaviours
  • Openness to innovation
  • Creativeness
  • Operating or business model creation, design and change

Without the above, or if one of the directional disciplines is missing or weak, most transformations will struggle or fail. 

A lack of any of the directional fields, especially that of being value-driven always reminds me of a quote from Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland: “If you don’t know where you’re going, any path is as good as another… but you won’t realise you’re lost, you won’t know what time you’ll get there, you might unknowingly be going in circles, and others won’t understand how they can help.

"And, since you could pass right by without knowing it, you won’t get the satisfaction of having arrived.”

Step two: Consider the enabling disciplines of digital transformation

How to enable digital transformation

There are many enabling disciplines required - it depends on the agility required and the size, scale and pace of the transformation journey. These need to be made capable, mature and orchestrated in the right way, and are major success factors, including:

  • Roadmap and portfolio management
  • Programme, project and delivery management
  • Business process management
  • Excellence in Information Technology
  • Data, analytics and insight
  • Organisational Change Management
  • Skills, capability, competence and training

Hopefully, that gives a good overview of how you should look at transformation and what digital transformation means. To learn more about the above directional and enabling disciplines and get started on your digital business transformation, click the button below to download our handy guide.

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