signs of digital transformation

May 20, 2019
by Chrissie Koeppen

How to Recognize Digital Transformation in 5 easy steps -- And Get it Right!

Prefer to listen instead of read the same information? This blog is available in two parts as a 2-minute micro podcast – listen here for the definition and here for the signs!

What is digital transformation?

Digital transformationis one of the most overused buzzwords in the industry; definitions vary according to who you talk to, but beneath all the hype and confusion is the simple truth that digital transformation results in some big organizational changes.

“Digital transformation is the integration of digital into all aspects of business, fundamentally changing the way you operate and deliver value.”

Don’t let IT vendors and consultants try to use Digital transformation as an excuse to sell you more hardware, more software, or more IT services using the “you need xy or z to keep up with new technologies” hard sell. This is NOT what digital transformation is really about. 

You’ve adopted new technologies along the way and are using digital technology to replace older ways of doing things, for example using digital forms instead of paper forms and fax…even then, you are still only applying digital technology to existingprocesses.

Digital transformation is at heart a fundamental change in the way you operate and deliver value. It is creating those processes and services and products to be adaptable and fungible…in other words changeable by their very nature.

5 Steps to Recognizing Digital Transformation 

Most organizations are in the midst of a digital transformation and don’t even know it…here are some signs that you’re one of them:

  1. Most organizations have digital reactions rather than digital strategy. So…you react to a problem by throwing technology or people resources at it, rather than investigating its root cause and changing the process to align with organizational objectives. If this is you, you are not yet on the road to digital transformation. But luckily, starting by aligning all business aspects with strategy is the first step.
  2. You’ve embraced digital technology across many areas of your organization…but you haven’t analyzed process or governance. Signs of this include not having clear objectives and goals, as well as a way to measure your progress toward achieving them, undefined, inefficient or overly complex processes, having a number of workarounds for your new technology because it doesn’t integrate well, and technology is silo’d with different departments all using different technology.
  3. Speaking of siloes, some departments are constantly investing in the latest and greatest digital technology out there with no regard for what is good for the entire organization.Just like any other aspect of your organization, digital technology needs should be assessed as to how they bring the organization closer to achieving stated goals. This should be a strategic decision and not a reaction to good sales tactics or individual department posturing. 
  4. You are having a hard time keeping up with digital trends, particularly with fewer resources. Digital transformation is a long-term strategy, not a quick fix. Most organizations take bite-sized investments to try to solve their problems. Once again though, without a guiding strategy, these investments could end up being money down the drain as staff don’t have the time or training to take full advantage of what they offer.
  5. You don’t have a prioritization plan in place for digital technology requests, let alone a strategy that aligns with technology. A requirements analysis process is a must to determine budget, timeline and benefits vs. cost. 

No matter where you are in your digital transformation, the most important thing you can do to lay the groundwork for a successful digital transformation is to establish a solid digital strategy

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If you don’t have a digital strategy, I’d be happy to help! Contact me at chrissie.koeppen@boldrstrategy.com.

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