The Yellow Brick Road: An Executive’s Guide to Digital Transformation
by Tina Cabias
You are in the middle of a chaotic tornado caused by immature I.T. landscape and practices, manual procedures, and loosely integrated data sources. It ultimately led to reporting gaps, costly human mistakes, and absolutely no aid to agility to name a few.
Having the latest technology or buying the most expensive product are some of the major misconceptions of digital transformation. Just because your organization has a website and smartphone application, it doesn’t mean you’re already transformed. And “switching to the cloud” is just a simple technology change and not a total digital transformation. The Wizard of Oz is how most of us think about technology and transformation - A wizard behind the curtain that will seemingly solve all our problems away.
While it’s inevitable that organizations need to evolve, there are discouraging statistics on transformation success which puts more pressure to corporate executives to figure out the right path.
What is DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION?
Digital transformation is changing how a business operates and how value is delivered to customers through integration of technology. Beyond that, it’s a cultural change that encourages organizations to be agile, experiment, and challenge the status quo.
The Digital Transformation Guide:
IDENTIFY CUSTOMER CENTRIC TRANSFORMATION VISION & OBJECTIVES
Assuming you already gained the full support of management, articulating clear vision and objectives is essential to resonate with your stakeholders, customers, and employees. It’s also vital that transformation strategy directly translates and supports business outcomes. Here are some questions you should consider:
• Why do I need to enhance or transform our technology right now? What is my transformation vision and objectives (short, mid, long term)?
• How much transformation am I willing to make?
• What are my transformation focus areas/ prioritization essential to overall business success?
• How will this change deliver value to our customers?
• By the end of this transformation, what does success look like?
PLOT YOUR JOURNEY WITH YOUR TECHNOLOGY PARTNER
Without a roadmap, your organization may be spending money on loosely coupled, siloed, and duplicated initiatives. A roadmap is a high-level blueprint that allows you to align business objectives with digital initiatives. This plan is typically focused on the short to medium term activities. Together with your internal I.T. teams, executives, and technology partners, there is a need to:
• Assess the current state and determine your digital maturity
• Evaluate how your current digital tools address your immediate and future needs
• Research and analyze the market by considering digital technologies, platforms, technology vendors, and solutions.
• Identify realistic, achievable, and significant milestones.
• Identify people we need to involve in this transformation and their roles
• Identify baselines and KPIs (e.g. availability increase, inventory cost reduction, reactive maintenance reduction, incident reduction, customer retention & loyalty increase etc.)
• Identify critical immediate steps to get us started
THINK BIG, START SMALL, ACT NOW
Working on small proof of concepts before implementing the entirety of the project will save your organization significant time, effort, and money in case the concept failed. It will also give you a guarantee of quick feedback loops and improvement areas during larger implementations. Simultaneous micro projects will allow you to move forward towards the larger vision in iterative manner. One of the keys to succeeding is by failing fast; the faster a failure occurs, the faster it can be fixed.
A WORKFORCE CULTURE OF CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT
“Culture eats strategy for breakfast”- Peter Drucker
Since digital transformation is not a once off event but rather an ever-evolving process, a continuous improvement mindset is necessary to fuel the transformation forward. Corporate executives and managers should seed cultural change by rewarding innovation, encouraging radical thinking, and ensuring metrics align with customer outcomes.
Overall, there are multiple factors to consider in order to transform digitally. In fact, it is so complex that only 3% of organizations have been completely successful in their transformation journey. Therefore, it’s important that businesses should find the right technology partners to help them bring their visions to life.
Tina D. Cabias is a top-performing IT manager and digital transformation advocate at Lingaro, a professional services company helping clients succeed in the data-driven world.
Tina’s mission is to mold Filipino IT talents into the industry’s most trusted world-class experts. A graduate of Salt & Light Ventures’ mentorship and leadership program, she puts her personal values of integrity, excellence, accountability, and authenticity at the center of all her working relationships. Strongly committed to meeting clients’ requirements with top-quality solutions, she led her team to more than 4X its size and more than 170X its revenue in 2019 vs 2018. She also introduced a company-wide standard of best practices for setting up operational teams, spearheaded Lingaro Philippines’ 2019 Soft Skills Development Program, and oversaw the creation of a “safe space” communications channel for employees to anonymously voice concerns and ideas.