Six steps to include in digital transformation planning

06 November 2020 3 min. read

In light of the rapid shift to digital ways of working, organisations must quickly ramp up their digital transformation efforts. Richard Graham, an Associate Director at Coeus Consulting, shares six steps to include in the planning phase of digital transformation initiatives. 

1. Strategically review the business models

Businesses may need to review their focus and adapt business models accordingly to determine what makes sense in the short, medium and long term. Pivots and sacrifices are already occurring, for example in hospitality and travel and leisure, where the impact of Covid-19 will be felt longest and hardest. This review should be led by establishing opportunities and expectations of both colleagues and customers.

2. Understand and optimise the customer and employee journeys

There may well be a changed priority landscape of the value driving journeys, and those which were low on the list for digitalisation will have renewed focus. For example, fashion retailers are focusing much effort on using VR and AR to allow customers to virtually try on outfits at home, both improving the customer experience and reducing returns.

Six steps to include in digital transformation planning

3. Assess business capabilities and processes

Fundamentally, many businesses are likely to have the right capabilities, however a review of how fit for purpose these are is advisable in order to meet the new normal. There are also industries that now need to do things digitally for the first time, and this will undoubtedly require a step back and review of the business capabilities that are most important. 

The above changes will result in a host of process and organisational changes that meet the change in needs from the market, from customer, and from colleagues. 

4. Align the data management strategy

Data practices are at the core of any digital transformation. However, once a roadmap of customer or colleague process changes are becoming clear, it’s vital that supporting data assets are fully reviewed and considered. This should include a strategy to uplift quality, security and all the other elements around them as required. Many digital transformations fail because the work needed around data is not given due consideration early in the journey. 

5. Focus on the right supporting technologies

Technology is at the forefront of enabling the changes required. The need for investment now has probably never been greater and there is no hiding place for digitally lagging businesses. Perhaps the value that investment can bring is now clearer for many boardrooms.

SaaS and cloud platform providers are likely to see an uptick in business as the flexibility and speed to implementation that they offer meets a growing digital demand. Companies will be reviewing the capabilities and value offered from their end user devices and networks in the light of the move to home working. RPA providers are also likely to see areas where they can help to automate legacy processes as an interim step.

Data should be at the top of the priority list, as the corner stone to effectively automating any process. 

6. Don't overlook culture

Culture has always been at the heart of delivering successful digital transformation. In the most general terms, this means organisational agility: the ability to collaborate, accept change, accept risk, and embrace different ways to deliver that potentially haven’t changed in a long time.

However, now this must be taken in combination with a much wider societal shift brought about by Covid-19. It may well be that the human focus and collective experience of the pandemic helps to foster fertile conditions for transformation, and companies that are able to capitalise on this will gain a boost to their transformation efforts.