Liette Ocker

The Critical First Step
In Any Digital Transformation

The pace of technological change in the data revolution has forced many businesses to embark on a digital transformation without much strategy, planning, and in some cases without realizing it has begun.

To develop a digital strategy with any chance of success, leaders must first understand with absolute clarity:

  • #1 | Where are we today?

  • #2 | Where are we headed?

“Aren't we already doing digital?”

Those unfamiliar with digital transformation are quick to say, “We already invest heavily in technology, aren’t we already doing digital?”

While most companies are making essential digital investments, many of these investments are destined to become nothing more than the creation of new digital islands. 

Common digital investments include:

However important these investments are to the ease and workflow of our organizations, and though they are a precursor to digital transformation, they are just the beginning of a very long journey.

Before we get started, what do we mean by digital transformation? Think of it as the third phase in the modernization of your organization.

  • Digitization

    Embracing surface-level digital solutions to existing problems

  • Digitalization

    Reworking and optimizing business process around digital solutions

  • Digital Transformation

    Reworking the priorities and processes of the organization around new digital opportunities

Is your organization on the path to customers?

The ultimate goal in a digital transformation is to build a nimble organization that uses technology and data seamlessly to delight customers and/or to create a competitive advantage. To this end, the promise of sleek apps and shiny technologies can be distracting from the most important work.

Digital transformation is heavy in foundational work and unsexy projects that pay dividends later. Not to mention, reorganization and change management can be a painful process. Many of the current systems and quick wins will ultimately need to be replaced before they can be integrated in your broader strategy.

Is it time to go back to the start?

Honestly, it’s impossible to form a cohesive strategy for digital transformation without a proper assessment of where you are, what assets you can leverage, what the opportunities are ahead, and why you should invest in them.

That’s why we recommend that all organizations embarking (or mid-flight) on a digital transformation make time for an honest assessment on the current state.

How approaches a Digital Assessment

How do I begin?

There are critical steps that can help you recognize the importance of laying the proper foundation for your digital transformation.  It is common to miss these steps when there is pressure to move quickly, but without thoughtful insights into the path, can you be sure that you’ve moved in the right direction?  Your digital transformation assessment is based on 3 stages of business operations: Tech, Process, and Strategy. 

As we unpack these transformation tools, keep you organization’s specific strengths and challenges in mind.

1)

The Tech

The critical first step to your digital transformation is to understand where you are today.  This is an essential assessment practice that is oftentimes skipped.  It is common for companies to rely on IT to make best guesses on what the business needs.  IT departments have access to hundreds of tools and applications that are not easily accessible to most employees or that the business simply does not know exists. Likewise, the data and infrastructures currently in place have likely been siloed due to M&A or building software and hard ad hoc rather than strategically. 

Take time to thoroughly evaluate your current state.  This includes not only evaluating what apps you have at your disposal, but also scrutinizing your data, analytics, automation, and AI/ML.  Are your data connected?  Is there a single source of truth for your data? Do you have capabilities to implement automation and AI?  Can your stakeholders make decisions on realtime data dashboards?  All these questions and more are required to measure your current state technology.

2)

The Process

Although we emphasize technology during the digital transformation, this is merely a tool that, without the appropriate processes, will have a small impact on your overall transformation.  Measuring your process effectiveness is arguably more important that the technology it manages.  For example, do you have the right talent? 

If you answered yes, and I hope you did, are you certain that your business processes are encouraging efficiencies that tap into that talent?  Or did your organization package analogue processes into a digital overlay but still contends with tickets and backlogs wearing down your employees?  

Digital transformation assessments help you recognize how to automate and integrate both technology and business process to capture the most value from your customers and workforce.

3)

The Strategy

After the assessment, take time to evaluate the results.  Did you find any surprises?  Are there areas where your business has done well that can be emulated across the organization?  Did you uncover costly inefficiencies that could potentially snowball into big financial problems? 

It’s time to start your proper digital transformation.  Not just because you were forced to as a result of our new telecommuting reality.  Transform because your customers and employees deserve more.  Transform because you want the competitive advantage.  Transform because you have the opportunity to become future-proof. 

Final Thoughts

When’s the best time to plant a tree?  20 years ago.  When’s the second best time?  Now. 

Your digital transformation is much the same, you might feel like you are behind or do not know where to begin.  OCLLC has the answers to both problems.  The time is now and we can help you know where to start.