Digital transformation has become a bit of a buzzword for consultants and innovators, but what does it actually mean? The reality of streamlining and evolving internal systems and processes is not a simple, one-step programme. The success of digital transformation projects can be hit and miss – some reports find that fewer that 30% actually succeed. This just goes to show, that transformation is tough! So, what can you do to make sure you are starting off strong, and set up to succeed?
A great way to think about transformation within your organisation, is to start by gaining a full understanding of the digital maturity of your business. If you don’t take the time to assess how adapted your business is to change, you are likely to come across many hurdles from business disruption, to lack of team buy-in, all making the journey to success that much harder.
This ‘Digital Maturity Assessment’ also offers the chance to stop and think about how ready your business is to undertake change, before taking that leap. Digital maturity is not an inhibitor to digital transformation, but the less mature a business or department might be, the more vital it becomes to seek guidance and support. Experienced parties, whether inside or outside an organisation, can implement governance and frameworks to help you succeed.
THE DIGITAL MATURITY SCALE
Your level of digital maturity can be a difficult thing to self-diagnose, and this is where brining in an extra pair of eyes can be invaluable. Acknowledging your relative position compared to a standard scale or set of gold standards is a good place to begin. We think about this in six stages:
So, once you have established where you sit on the digital maturity scale, how do you move forwards?
Before charging ahead with a wide-scale change initiative, stop to establish a valid reason for change that resonates with all stakeholders and departments concerned. This will allow the opportunity to establish clear goals, commitment, and alignment. Understand your starting point, and be specific in outlining desired outcomes.
ESTABLISH A SHARED PURPOSE
Transformation goals might be slightly different for each stakeholder or function involved. While each functional area of the business should be looking inwards for the change project, it should also be working towards shared business objectives. These fall largely into three major areas:
- PEOPLE – understanding capacity, and the scope of involvement required from all departments.
- PROCESSES – understanding which associated policies and practices are likely to be impacted.
- TECHNOLOGY – understanding current technology usage and performing GAP analysis to assess what is required to meet desired goals.
WORK WITH YOUR PEOPLE
Change doesn’t happen overnight, and people need time to adjust to any developments, however small they may seem. Examine your existing culture and cultivate the necessary organisational behavioural changes, so your teams are equipped with the knowledge of what to stop doing, start doing and keep doing. Tailor your delivery and change framework to match the organisation, and educate your people accordingly.
EQUIP YOUR DELIVERY TEAM FOR SUCCESS
You wouldn’t expect your local high school’s football team to win a World Cup, and yet teams for transformation projects are often expected to produce top class results without experience or preparation time. The make-up of project teams and governing boards is crucial to the success of a project; the selection, nomination or voluntary sign-up of these teams must come with the measured acceptance and buy-in otherwise you are off to a poor start.
Depending on where you fall on the digital maturity scale, the level of coaching and training required can vary. Project roles must be understood, dependencies, capabilities, capacity and commitment clarified, and a clear road map of engagement planned out.
A digitally mature organisation has an embedded culture for transformation and dealing with the challenges it brings. Risk and change management should not be second thoughts but habitual and pre-emptied involuntary actions within the delivery ecosystem.
MAKE CHANGES STICK
When it comes to adoption, managing the individual team reactions to change is just as important as achieving the desired outcomes. Overcoming fears, doubts and uncertainty can encourage buy-in, allowing teams to accept the change and reap the desired benefits.