Many organisations have found themselves caught out by the pace of change around them driven by digital. When you think of the number of long established FTSE 100 companies which have faded away during the past decade, we can see how the global economy has changed significantly.
As a reaction to this, you’ve no doubt heard the term Digital Transformation and rolled your eyes, knowing that it means many things to different people. It’s become quite the corporate buzzword, so at Edo we prefer the term “progressive business change”. For most businesses it is simply about adapting existing processes, tools and organisational culture to enable it to thrive in this ever-changing digital environment. It’s about digital being a catalyst for change.
Many companies realise that they need to change but don’t fully understand the reasons why, or how best to move forward. Understanding the best route forward is no easy feat, but analysing the reasons behind the need for change is the first step on the journey. So, what do you need to start effecting progressive business change?
The first step is to understand the ‘as is’ state of your organisational culture and define your vision for what your transformation journey will achieve. Ensure that your strategy is customer centric as this will help to focus the way your organisation develops strategy, propositions, products, services and processes, and ensures customers are placed at the forefront. “Mapping the problem space” is also important – by this we mean gaining an understanding of what your customers and staff want from your digital channels and developing pathfinders and a roadmap to achieve this.
Brave and visionary leadership
To successfully implement progressive business change you undoubtedly need progressive leadership. Some of the key characteristics of progressive leaders include:
- Being ‘ruthlessly customer centric’
- Open to taking on the role of collaborator
- Brave and visionary
- Adaptive and agile
- Open, curious and innovative
Throughout your change journey leaders will have to embrace failure and cut out much of the old in order to make way for the new. This certainly takes bravery and resilience. You’ll need to secure senior buy-in for the change as well as empower the grass roots to deliver key aspects of the transformation. This requires a pincer movement through a combined top down, bottom up approach.
To be sustainable, transformation needs to take place within an environment where it can take hold and thrive. In order to influence the future direction of the business, organisations need to design and refine the capability and skills within it. You should first audit your team’s capability and skills, then forecast future needs against your strategy.
Technology as the engine
Underpinning any large scale business transformation will be a robust and scalable technology infrastructure. This is often a hard and costly challenge to solve and you are likely to face resistance to unpicking or replacing complex legacy systems. You should be mindful of the relative short term upheaval vs long term business costs of failing to address this issue. It’s important to consider the potential upfront costs versus the agility and long term cost savings new technologies can offer.
Mapping out your technical architecture is a good place to start, identifying opportunities for efficiencies and cost savings.
The problem with many transformation programmes is that they often fall short of delivering against tactical implementation and the measurement of change. Everyone needs to be clear that this is a process of continuous improvement, not a one off project. As it’s an ongoing process, it’s even more important that the investment is validated and ROI is regularly tracked. Traditional business performance metrics such as profitability, operational cost, productivity and employee satisfaction are indicators that you’re doing the right thing. You may also want to use a strategy framework such as a balanced scorecard, business model canvas, or similar model, to effectively track past and future performance metrics against your strategic objectives.
Digital transformation is often seen as a daunting and costly task. It conjures up visions of legacy technology systems being ripped out and hundreds of thousands of pounds spent in the blink of an eye. However, this view is misleading. Instead of being seen as a mammouth task, it should instead be viewed as an ongoing process of delivering small incremental changes or iterations. Ultimately it’s about finding better ways of working and of supporting your customer – it can be lots of small changes that add up to make a huge difference.
Ready to get started? Use our change measurement matrix and receive a bespoke report within 48 hours to help you prioritise and benchmark your progress.