Successful Digital Transformation
According to a study published in the Harvard Business Review, 70% of digital transformation initiatives do not achieve the expected results . Companies that have gone through transformation know how difficult such an initiative can be. We anticipate the upheavals caused by change, employee complaints and the exorbitant costs to be incurred. However, the digitization of certain operations is now essential, and the gains from a digital shift are numerous.
At Norda Stelo, we believe that the success of a digital transformation lies in five key factors and that, by creating an environment bringing together these winning conditions, your digital transformation will be a success.
Five winning conditions for a successful digital transformation
Clearly define your strategic plan
Thoughtful strategic planning helps establish specific goals and puts into perspective the dichotomy that may exist between day-to-day operations and the longer-term vision of the business. This is an opportunity to have an overview of the organization.
The digital plan flows directly from the strategic plan. It considers non-digital factors such as the optimization of complex processes without added value, the deployment of Lean principles and the tolerance of employees to different changes. Too many companies, often out of excess enthusiasm, harm themselves by failing to take a step back before embarking on the process. However, it is essential to highlight the existing flaws and reduce the sources of loss and waste of current processes to facilitate the digitization exercise. We must at all cost avoid digitizing a process that has no added value in the eyes of clients and employees.
The digital plan serves as a pillar for all the stages of the digital transformation that will follow. It is also a powerful communication tool that simplifies the process for stakeholders prenantes.
Identify a champion supported by management
But what is a champion? A champion is the guardian of the project. They make it their priority and maintain the interest of the teams and the company.
It is common to underestimate the time investment of a large project such as a digital transformation. The champion knows the company and knows who to surround themselves with to accomplish the different stages of the project. They can manage the involvement of the various stakeholders at the appropriate time. Without a champion and management support, day-to-day challenges will continue to take priority over long-term benefits.
This winning condition helps mitigate the risks of seeing the project run out of steam and reduces conflicts between the digital transformation project and day-to-day operational issues. Furthermore, by identifying a champion, we ensure that despite the passage of time, the project still has its torchbearer and that it will not be abandoned in favour of other projects whose short-term impacts may appear to be priorities.
Note that the champion does not necessarily have to be a digital expert but rather a resource who is greatly motivated by the project and has proven leadership.
Like any transformation project, a digital shift is two steps forward, one step back!
Adopt an Agile approach
The field of digital transformation is constantly evolving and the technologies used are continually being renewed. Therefore, it is imperative to be Agile in our approach and to agree to change the initial plan to make the most of the latest advances.
By adopting an Agile approach, we increase our resilience to technological changes, but above all, we allow ourselves to test the new practices to be implemented. By moving forward in the project in small iterations, we specify our needs, refine our solution and reduce stakeholders’ mistrust of change.
The Agile approach provides a governance structure and a project management method to face different uncertainties, overcome daily challenges and maintain team members’ commitment.
The intention behind a digital shift is, generally, to increase organizational performance and provide a better working environment for employees. It is essential to involve the various stakeholders to achieve this last objective. Who better to propose improvement iterations than the people directly involved in the process to be digitized?
The involvement can be done in different ways. We can create focus groups, lead brainstorming workshops, strengthen the sharing and testing of new ideas, regularly share the project’s progress, etc. The changes underway can be worrying for some teams. Their involvement in the project can make all the difference in implementing new ways of doing things.
If the organization controls this condition well, it will also have a long-term impact on employee retention and engagement.
Measuring and monitoring progress is a good practice in project management. However, few companies undertake this exercise rigorously. Yet, it is crucial to establish indicators early in the process to have an accurate picture of the current conditions and ensure that the actions align with the transformation objectives.
To correctly measure progress, the first step is to clearly define the objective of the mandate. The second is to identify the indicators related to the objective. Finally, the third and last step is to regularly follow-up through the Agile method mentioned above.
Well-defined metrics will enable team members to be engaged in the transformation and facilitate day-to-day decision-making.
By bringing together these five winning conditions, you increase your chances of succeeding in your digital transformation!
In conclusion, digital transformation is not a typical project. It is a large-scale, long-term initiative that has an impact on the entire organization. These five conditions allow companies to secure their investments and their success. By adding knowledge of digital technologies and expertise in Lean and Agile principles, a company can even accelerate its transformation.
Naturally, as you cannot excel in everything, support from experts is essential when the envisaged project is large-scale. You will then benefit from greater peace of mind in relation to the project’s progress and rely on the know-how of professionals who have a passion for the digital field, the latest technological advances and the best business practices.
Will you embark on the adventure?