Digital Transformation – Technology or Strategy?

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Digital Transformation - Technology or Strategy?
What do you think about when you hear the phrase Digital Transformation? For many, the first thing that may come to mind is Technology, or a particular solution. For me, the first thing that I think about is Strategy. I view Digital Transformation the same way I view Business Transformation. Let me explain.

The Business world over the last six – seven months has experienced tremendous challenges, due to fallout from the Pandemic. Now more than ever, there is a push to transform one’s business to a position that allows full functionality in the “New normal.”  In many cases, the focus of this transformation has been on applications and solutions that supports remote access, remote work, remote payments, and many others. You get the picture.

It is this push and marketing of technology and specific applications that creates in my view, a huge misconception of what Digital Transformation is. Digital transformation is not a particular technology or application, it is not something manufactured by a particular vendor. In fact, let us look at a recent definition of Digital Transformation:

According to www.salesforce.com in their recent segment entitled “Getting Started with Digital Transformation” “Digital transformation is the process of using digital technologies to create new — or modify existing — business processes, culture, and customer experiences to meet changing business and market requirements.

I see Digital transformation as more of a business strategy than a particular technology. A Digital Transformation strategy includes the use of different technologies as part of the overall solution, but the technology is not the strategy. Over the last few months, I have seen more focus on Technology rather than strategy as it relates to this topic. While I agree that technology is critical in the delivery of a Digital Transformation strategy, I argue that strategy is more critical, especially in the earlier stages. Research has shown that the lack of a well-thought-out strategy is a significant contributor to many of these initiatives failing or not reaching their intended goals.

There are tons of articles on Digital Transformation that focus on technology and various solution options. In this article I wanted to touch on what I believe is missing from many of these engagements. I am referring to STRATEGY and the key considerations and areas that the business should focus on when embarking on any Digital Transformation initiative. In my view, the key area are as follows:
  1. Clearly Define the Strategy

    As you embark on any transformation activity, it is critical that there is a clear understanding of the intended goal of the initiatives, as well as the key activities and resources that are necessary to succeed. Digital Transformation is no different. This activity should be viewed as a critical business initiative and given the respect it deserves. In defining the strategy, there may be a series of questions, for example:
    • What does digital transformation mean for my business?

      Each business has different goals, and this transformation may have different meaning. It is critical to clearly understand what it means for your business, and what are the intended results of the engagement. This understanding provides clarity and subsequently drives other areas of the engagement.
    • How is this transformation going to affect my business?

      Your organization will have different areas that may call for different focus. It is critical to clearly understand the scope of the transformation engagement and also have a full understanding of the potential business impact. We need to remember that transformation requires change, which needs to be managed carefully.
    • Do we have leadership commitment?

      Organizational change is something that requires a firm leadership commitment. Digital transformation can have both a positive and a negative impact.  It is critical that Senior Management with decision-making capability is involved in the process.
    • How is this transformation going to affect my customers experience, both internal and external?

      The customer experience is extremely critical to any business and is often one of the intended targets of Digital Transformation. We must understand beforehand the impact to the customer. This will put you in a position where you can mitigate risk before they occur and affect the necessary changes rather than reacting to issues from those customers – POST transformation.
    • How is this transformation going to change my day to day operations?

      It is expected that digital transformation will change many if not all the existing processes, especially if they are manual. It is recommended that the organization takes a proactive approach by getting a full understanding of what these changes are beforehand.
    • How will we be perceived by our clients after this transformation?

      This may sound a bit counterintuitive, but it is necessary to understand exactly how your business will be perceived by your customers – POST transformation. Placing yourself in the shoes of your customers can help with ensuring that the engagement achieves the intended results, especially in their eyes.
 
  1. Identify the Team

    Digital Transformation is an organizational decision and it affects members across different teams. One of the key contributors to the failure of these initiatives is the lack of involvement. This is a team effort, and it is critical to identify members who will represent all affected areas of the business. It should also be noted that the team can extend to external parties that can be of value, for example, vendors and solution providers.
  1. Get Expert Help

    It is important for the management of the organization to recognize that this is not something that they have to do alone. There are many professionals out there who focus on Digital Transformation and are up to speed and well experienced within this field. This undertaking brings with it not just opportunities for improvements, but it also presents risks. One major risk is managing the security of that digitally stored information. Working with experts will allow for the organization to have these concerns addressed using industry standards and acquired skills.
  1. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate

    Consistent, clear, and seamless communications across all areas of the business are the core underpinning of digital transformation. Imagine if your organization is siloed with little to no inter-department and other communication. Achieving the intended result will be near impossible. It is important that the organization defines a clear communication strategy, ensuring that everyone is on the same page with respect to what the overall goal is and the intended results to the organization and its customers.
It should be noted that none of the above points refer to any technology or vendor. It is particularly important that the above areas be looked at before choosing any technology solution. Digital Transformation is something that you need to be successful, especially since it affects the organization’s ability to deliver. Dedicating time to properly understanding the strategy and what is needed of the transformation will really increase the chance of success and reduce the cost of re-work or even potential reputation damage. Let us put strategy where it should be – FIRST……

At BLU Networks we focus on the Network, Telecommunications and Security Requirements within Digital Transformation. We can be reached via our website at www.blunetworks-tt.com , email at sales@blunetworks-tt.com or our Office at 1-868-223-1576. You do not have to do this alone.

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Sharris

    Excellent commentary Sheldon; you are spot on.

  2. Sheldon Paul

    Sharris, thank you for your feedback and for reading our content.

  3. J A Edwards

    Excellent article. You are so correct. There has been much focus on technology and not the strategy

    1. Sheldon Paul

      JA Edwards thank you for your comments and for reading our content.

      Sheldon

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