A Path to a Successful Digital Transformation

by Eric Siano and Chris Ransick, July 16, 2019
Managing Directors at Marketing Operations Consulting

A digital transformation is a business transformation. It should be treated as a process - not a project.  

It is easy to fall into the trap of treating a transformation like a technology project, but technology is the facilitator, not the end.  At the outset, a clear idea of what you want to achieve and how your business will fundamentally change will require a more holistic approach. 

Whether you are rolling out Analytics, IoT, Cloud, Social, AI, Mobile, Blockchain, Martech or Augmented Reality, digital transformation is all about being agile - move with speed, make adjustments and move forward. 

Focusing on five essential elements will help to maximize the return on digital investments. 

Process 

Near-term process enhancement will focus on accelerating digital transformation and customer experience. Longer term, there is a need for seamless and coherent end-to-end processes, rationalization of processes by channel and function, as well as the replacement of manual and complicated processes. 

People 

Inertia, pessimism, and ambiguity are potent forces that tend to keep people on the sidelines and not engage in a digital transformation.  To get people on board, you need well-defined roles and responsibilities, a match of skills and talent, leadership buy-in, and participation of all third parties involved. Additionally, there has to be a match of objectives and compensation to the new digital environment. 

Technology 

Technology is a facilitator, not the end goal of a digital transformation.  The best approach here is to start with the basic must-haves, stabilize, and gradually evolve with new elements.  Key decisions will involve the tools to use, the integrations necessary, and desktop or mobile.  However, the most important decision to take is why.  Why are we selecting a technology, why is each integration useful and necessary, and why does it support corporate strategy? 

Data 

Data quality and governance need to be the cornerstone of a digital transformation initiative.  Data needs to be turned into relevant, accurate, and timely information in order to be useful.  To this end, quality and governance will ensure accuracy, usability, access, and permissible use. 

Culture
 

Corporate culture is the ubiquitous values, beliefs, and attitudes that define a company and guide its behaviors. A digital transformation will create an extensive disruption.  A deliberate approach and plan are required to bridge the old and new cultures during the transition to offering digital products, services, and customer interactions at the same time you are using new technology for core operations.  That means gaining cognitive, behavioral, and emotional commitment within the organization.

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