Established, medium-sized businesses all over the globe are facing a dilemma: the world is going digital and consumers are demanding that the businesses they buy from follow suit. For the giants of every industry, while digital transformation is difficult, they generally have dedicated staff and deep enough pockets to allow digitization to sweep through the organization quickly and quietly. For small businesses, digital transformation tends to be affordable and, with fewer employees, more manageable. For new businesses, digital transformation is simply part of the start-up phase.
But what about medium-sized businesses?
Medium-sized companies do not have any of these benefits when it comes to digitizing. Without the advantage of a dedicated digital transformation division, the CEO must step up, make some decisions, and get the ball rolling. And to ensure that digital transformation is successful, the CEO needs to do more than add in technology to the margins of the business. They must help the organization to be transformed at its core. In order to accomplish this, the CEO must thoughtfully and efficiently plan out four features that are commonplace in any successful digital transformation.
How to be Successful in the Digital Transformation Process:
Feature #1: Set The Goal
This feature of digital transformation is the most overwhelming because there are simply limitless options. However, there are generally two trains of thought when approaching the task of setting a goal: CEOs can either dream big, or they can follow tried and tested routes. Neither of these options is better or worse, it just depends on how the CEO, and the organization, works best.
For the CEOs who want to try something new, the sky is the limit. A great way to get the gears in motion is to have a 24-hour brainstorming session. The CEO and a small team of organizational insiders and outside experts could sit together, think about the industry, and envision what it will or could look like in two decades. Where does the organization want to be positioned in the industry? How could they serve customers better?
Follow the Tried and Trusted
Alternatively, the CEO can look at other successful organizations. They can study who has gotten digital innovation right and what they did to get there. They can analyze trends and expert predictions on what supply and demand will look like in their industry. By and large, organizations are seeing the most success in digital transformation when they rely on digital tools like data and connectivity to engage consumers and improve products and services.
Feature #2: Create A Roadmap
While it is the CEO’s responsibility to lead the digitization effort within the organization, they will not be able to do it on their own! They need to surround themselves with a group of individuals who can help create the roadmap and effectively implement a digital transformation across the organization.
This group can be small, but it must include people with the following skills:
- Digital knowledge.
- Inspiring, respected, and a deep knowledge of organizational workings.
- Change management experience.
- Tolerant of risk, collaborators, and customer-centric.
In addition to creating a strong digital transformation team, the CEO will need to think about getting everyone on board. This includes employees, the board, shareholders, and customers. Most of the individuals in these various groups are averse to change, for a variety of reasons. It is the CEO’s job to show them why change is necessary and good. The best way to do this is through a well-communicated message. It is the job of the CEO to decide what this message contains and how it should be said.
Another important facet is positioning the organization. The CEO needs to evaluate where in the digital ecosystem the business fits. This can be done by honing in on the digital transformation goal and identifying the technologies that will help lead to that goal. But this part goes beyond just deciding on complementary technologies – it also means deciding on the structure (i.e. who will use the technology, how it will be used, etc).
Finally, the digital transformation team needs to prepare for the roadmap to change. The team needs to be open to reorganizing and they need to meet frequently enough in order to see when the roadmap should be altered. Ideally, this means the group is meeting once a week. The team should also have long-term metrics in place that they can view on a dashboard (i.e. any metric that can measure digital adoption).
Feature #3: The Resources
The biggest part of a CEO’s job during this feature is resource allocation. While this is already something a CEO does on a daily basis, it will look significantly different than business as usual. When it comes to a budget, companies tend to operate on an annual cycle. While the organization is undergoing a digital transformation, this should be truncated to monthly budget cycles.
The point of this is to allow the digital transformation team to regularly look at all of the current projects. They can double down on projects that are working and the projects that are not working – often legacy operations – can go on the chopping block.
Feature #4: The Sequence
During a digital transformation, there are lots of moving pieces. Because of this, it can be difficult to know what should come first. A CEO can not leave this up to chance. They must sequence it effectively so that the transformation does not lose steam and fail.
The best way to get the sequencing right is to create a comprehensive assessment of each and every project. The digital transformation team needs to take a deep dive into how long the project will take, how impactful it will be on the transformation as a whole, what the necessary investments are, and what the potential pay off is. The projects need to be a cohesive unit as the organization is undergoing this journey, and the company needs to start seeing rewards early on. This will allow them to reinvest those rewards back into the rest of the transformation.
Contact Blue Road Group Today!
In short, digital transformation is expensive, time-consuming, and risky. But it is also necessary, and it creates the potential for incredible profits. If a company has the right team of experts in place and they create a comprehensive plan, success can be realized.
If your business is in the process of undergoing a digital transformation, please contact us today. Blue Road Group are senior consultants with 20 years of digital strategy and transformation experience, and we guarantee that our knowledge will make your transformation as easy and successful as possible.