The first is older technology, so “digital transformation” means bringing the tech stack up-to-date and investing in the strong technical foundations needed for a digital-first future.
The other has invested in technology for years, but is unsure how to adapt its business model to take advantage of that technology. For this company, “digital transformation” is about finding ways to deliver and achieve value in a technology-driven world.
Finally, the third company has the right technology and the right business model. Still, it lacks the experience to meet change, so “digital transformation” is all about turning new concepts and capabilities into a viable operational model.
the only option
These companies point out that digital transformation can look very different across industries and enterprises.
One size does not fit all
For a successful transformation, a custom approach is best – and really the only option.
Best Strategy for CIOs
Understanding that not all digital transformation is created equal is an unfortunate reality for most CIOs. They face increasing pressure to make progress on this issue and show results.
It will help them follow a proven playbook – but that doesn’t exist.
Instead, the introverted CIO needs to figure out what their company needs (technology, strategy, and/or experience) before creating a plan around that goal.
time and money
To make matters more difficult, digital transformation must happen while daily operations continue as normal. This means that CIOs have to struggle for funds above their typical budget and must find time to take on new responsibilities without neglecting their old ones.
Instead of turning all their attention and resources to digital transformation, CIOs should make it fit wherever possible.a holistic approachThey should also think in terms that go beyond cost-efficiency.
It is easy to justify digital transformation initiatives that offset their own costs, but they are just cost-neutral – and not necessarily beneficial.
A better approach takes a holistic view of ROI and prioritizes whatever initiative delivers the highest value, even if it means spending a little more upfront.
Besides technology, the dynamic role of people and processes in digital transformation is another factor to consider.
CIOs will need to consider how mature they are on each of these three fronts — and then plan upgrades accordingly.
Complete transformation isn’t complete until every part of the company has evolved – from the C-suite down, and out of the IT department.
navigating your change
CIOs may not have the road map to follow or the ability to draw inspiration from their peers when it comes to navigating a successful digital transformation. However, they can employ some best practices to make digital transformation equally effective, in whatever form:
1. Map stakeholder expectations.
Digital transformation can have a broad agenda (updating technology, gaining experience, etc.), but it doesn’t have to be one-minded.
Talking to different stakeholders from different departments and levels of leadership can help uncover what people need (and don’t) from digital transformation.
Recording and then mapping out these expectations helps in executing any strategy that has the greatest impact possible.
2. Make a long-term plan.
Regardless of whether a company needs to focus on technology, strategy or experience, it will need to address all three during a broader digital transformation.
It is unrealistic to think that any aspect is in itself “ready to change”.
Furthermore, updating one affects the other (for example, adding new technology requires a rethinking of the business model).
A long-term plan would identify the highest priority and devote resources accordingly without neglecting other areas.
3. Keep changing.
Here’s one way that digital transformation companies have in common: It’s never perfect.
From now on, companies will have to constantly evaluate their technology, strategy and experience level to see if things are lagging behind.
Digital transformation will be a major competitive differentiator. Some companies will use it to move forward; Others will ignore it and suffer the consequences. Once again, each company will need to evolve and adapt in different ways moving forward.
That said, no company can afford to go through the process and end there. It is time to stop thinking of digital transformation as a shared experience that companies are collectively going through.