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Digital Transformation

AUTHOR: Darren Bekker, Agile Coach & RTE

‘’We should never waste a good crisis’’ Winston Churchill

With Covid-19, most of the world in lockdown and a pending global recession, it has never been more important for businesses to transform. Many companies have ceased projects and programmes and have moved into survival mode. It is now, more important than ever for organizations to accelerate digital transformation initiatives or face potential extinction. 

The last global recession in 2008 lasted 19 months. Some analysts are predicting this recession could last up to 36 months. Many companies won’t survive the forecasted economic outlook. In order for organizations to avoid being part of the statistic, immediate action is required.

The post-Covid business world is going to be very different from the one that we entered in 2020. The environment we move into will be highly competitive, digital, lean, and agile.  There will be increased remote workforces, flexible working arrangements, outsourcing, less business travel, enhanced collaboration with video, greater client experience, and cloud focus.  

With this new normal, exponential change will be required for companies to remain relevant. The Covid-19 Lockdown period has demonstrated that humans are able to adapt to fast-changing environments when they must. This change has been people-led and technology-supported. The very core of Digital Transformation is the same – People-led and technology- supported

Who would have thought that most of the world’s corporates could work remotely? Remote Schooling and university lectures? Remote Training? Remote call centers? Remote board meetings? Remote courts of law? Remote personal training? Remote everything! 

Digital Transformation has never been more important. With this current lockdown, the first quarter of this year has seen more digital transformation than the last few years combined. The companies that capitalize on this momentum will stand the best chance of survival in the future. Large portions of the workforce will not return to a traditional office and traditional office hours post-pandemic. The companies that transform will have the best chance of survival and then hopefully would have set themselves up to once again thrive.

The question therefore is – “What is Digital Transformation?”

If you asked ten business leaders, you would probably get ten different answers. Digital Transformation means different things to different companies. 

Digital transformation marks a radical rethinking of how an organization uses technology, people, and processes to fundamentally improve business performance. Digital transformation is not upgrading your IT but upgrading your thinking. Even at the core, it will still mean different things to different industries and companies.

Digital Transformation is difficult and harder than normal change programmes. Your business leaders have to embrace Digital Transformation. They are key to your program success. The simpler you keep it, the easier it will be to succeed.

Digital Transformation is not just about digital technologies. People and processes play a large part. Everything in business can be copied, except for talent, so if you are looking for impact, invest in top talent which is where you will get the most value. You need the right, digital-savvy senior business leadership in place. 

Digital Transformation is a top-down approach and needs to be part of the DNA of the organization. It should be the most important programme the company is engaged with. You need leadership alignment on your companies Digital Strategy as well as sufficient buy-in and investment capability. All these are key ingredients for a successful Digital Transformation programme.

SMAC (Social, Mobile, Analytics & Cloud) technology covers the technology portion of Digital Transformation. Operational excellence covers the people and process side of Digital Transformation. Applying ‘’Agile’’ is the way to achieve operational excellence.

Let’s assume Agile covers, Scrum, Kanban, DevOps, Agile Operations, Scaled Agile, and Business Agility. Your company would need to determine which parts are relevant for your Digital Transformation. This would allow your company to achieve operational excellence and eliminate waste.

The following 10 items are required for a successful Digital Transformation: 

1) Appoint a Digital Transformation Officer who is accountable for the Programme.
2) Ensure all business leaders are on board and aligned with the company digital strategy.
3) Get the Digital Transformation investment committed.
4) Set ambitious Digital Transformation goals and clearly define a roadmap.
5) Break your strategy down into streams and have leaders take accountability for each stream.
6) Employees in each stream need to understand the company and stream digital goals.
7) Companywide change management led by senior management.
8) Accountable owners for delivery of each element within each stream. 
9) Ensure each stream set SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-based).
10) Evaluate progress regularly and pivot where necessary.

This is an example of how your Digital Strategy could look:

Ten benefits you will get from a successful Digital Transformation programme:

1. Drives competitive advantage
2. Drives operational excellence
3. Eliminates waste
3. New revenue streams
4. Improves customer experience
5. Improves employee experience (More mobile and flexible workforce)
6. Drives agility and innovation
7. Enables employees to perform at higher levels. 
8. Collaboration becomes part of the company DNA
9. Creates a digital company culture
10. Robust decision making

In closing, Digital Transformation has been around for some time and many companies are already on the journey. At this crucial time, many companies have put their Digital Transformation Programmes on hold. Should these companies want to remain relevant and profitable in the new world they should be concentrating on these programmes more than ever before!  The pending recession is coming fast and companies who prepare have the best chance of survival. It’s NOW or NEVER …

Contact us today to see how we can help you with your digital transformation.