Building a Digital Transformation Strategy

MakerClub Opinion   •   June 05, 2019

Building a digital transformation strategy

Strategy Overview

In this document, we will discuss how best to build a Digital Transformation Strategy for corporates and how to ensure it gets adopted in a way that makes a big difference to the top and bottom line as well as the efficiency and happiness of the workforce as a whole.

Contents

  • Digital Transformation research – Where to start the search for relevant information

  • Getting buy-in from the top – How to make sure your boss and the C-suite will support the change

  • Define your Mission – You can’t reach your destination if you don’t know where you’re heading

  • Setting up metrics for success – Being able to report on how digital transformation is affecting the business is one of the most important responsibilities for a Head of Innovation

  • Take the first step – Even if it’s something small in only one team, it’s important to make a start

1. Research what’s out there

WHERE TO START THE SEARCH FOR RELEVANT INFORMATION.

Before starting to get the digital transformation strategy underway, it’s important to do a little research. This is a big topic with a number of tentacles that we will be breaking down in articles here on MakerClub Futures. Be sure to sign up to our mailing list to get all of the latest articles. Here are some good places to start.

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  • Emerging Technologies – Where are the big opportunities coming from and what is possible now that wasn’t 10 years ago.

  • Collaboration tools – What’s already out there on the market that can help teams work more effectively

  • What are startups doing? – Entrepreneurs are the ultimate early adopters. Can you look to them to see what’s coming next

  • How to innovate – We’ve put together a list of innovation books that every Head of Innovation should read

2. Get buy-in from the top

MAKE SURE THAT THERE IS AN APPETITE FOR INNOVATION THAT GOES ALL THE WAY TO THE TOP

According to a study by Deloitte, digitally mature companies are twice as likely to have a single person or group leading the charge on digital transformation. To be able to enaction any meaningful change in a large company, there needs to be air cover from the top and clear directive from the C-suite that they understand the importance of Digital Transformation, as well as the risks of not keeping up to date with technology.

Pre-planning alignment

While most people can agree that being up to speed with technology is important, that doesn’t always convert into a clear and concise Digital Strategy. This is often because there isn’t a strong definition among the decision makers of what a Digital Strategy is or where it’s remit starts and finishes.

The strategy itself will be unique to each company but many broad aims and objectives will be similar. This is where the research above and your in-depth knowledge about the company and the industries it sits within will allow you to start building a definition of Digital Strategy that works for you.

Consider putting a pitch deck together you can share with decision makers before putting any more time into the Digital Strategy. The goal here is to see if there is an appetite for Digital Transformation and if there is alignment among them. The pitch deck could include:

  • The current risks and opportunities that technology poses to your business

  • Some suggested approaches

  • The upfront cost of implementing changes

  • The potential value of innovation

The response you receive from the pitch deck will give you a strong steer on how to proceed. With the right amount of buy-in from the leadership team and a budget, a full digital strategy can be implemented. If the response is more cautious, that is an indication that the company is still in the early stages of digital maturity and there is still work to be done to unpack what the strategy should be. We offer workshops at MakerClub Futures do help with exactly this.

Mountain to climb

3. Define Your Mission

ONCE THERE IS BROAD ALIGNMENT ON THE APPROACH TO TECHNOLOGY, IT’S TIME TO CREATE A MISSION EVERYONE CAN GET BEHIND.

According to a study by Delloitte, digitally mature companies are twice as likely to have a single person or group leading the charge on digital transformation. To be able to enaction any meaningful change in a large company, there needs to be air cover from the top and clear directive from the C-suite that they understand the importance of Digital Transformation, as well as the risks of not keeping up to date with technology.

Pre-planning alignment

While most people can agree that being up to speed with technology is important, that doesn’t always convert into a clear and concise Digital Strategy. This is often because there isn’t a strong definition among the decision makers of what a Digital Strategy is or where it’s remit starts and finishes.

The strategy itself will be unique to each company but many broad aims and objectives will be similar. This is where the research above and your in-depth knowledge about the company and the industries it sits within will allow you to start building a definition of Digital Strategy that works for you.

Consider putting a pitch deck together you can share with decision makers before putting any more time into the Digital Strategy. The goal here is to see if there an appetite for Digital Transformation and if there is alignment among them. The pitch deck could include:

  • The current risks and opportunities that technology poses to your business

  • Some suggested approaches

  • The upfront cost of implementing changes

  • The potential value of innovation

The response you receive from the pitch deck will give you a strong steer on how to proceed. With the right amount of buy-in from the leadership team and a budget, a full digital strategy can be implemented. If the response is more cautious, that is an indication that the company is still in the early stages of digital maturity and there is still work to be done to unpack what the strategy should be. We offer workshops at MakerClub Futures do help with exactly this.

Metrics Dashboard

4. Set up metrics for success

BEING ABLE TO MEASURE WHAT’S IMPORTANT AND SETTING TARGETS WILL MAKE IT EASIER TO AGREE WHAT SUCCESS LOOKS LIKE.

One of the most important, and often overlooked, responsibilities of a Head of Innovation is to agree, track and report on key metrics that can communicate to the rest of the company the effectiveness of the digital strategy as a whole. Being able to demonstrate, for example, that introducing the collaboration tool, Slack has reduced the time spent communicating simple questions across the company by 10% would be hugely significant.

A few important metrics should work together to build an overall picture that reflects your mission defined above. Some examples might include:

  • Time spent creating reports

  • Leads generated through automated inbound marketing

  • Revenue from new product lines

It is likely that these metrics will take time to define, and be bespoke to the business needs. A good way to identify opportunities is to think about any tasks that are repeatable or automatable in any way. Not everything needs to build from scratch, implementing approaches used elsewhere or 3rd party software are all valid options so long as they help the KPIs go in the right direction.

Starting the journey

5. Take the first steps

THERE CAN BE SOME INERTIA TO OVERCOME WITH BIG BUSINESSES AND OFTEN THE BEST WAY TO GET STARTED IS TO SIMPLY STOP TALKING AND START DOING.

The best approach to kicking off a digital strategy will depend on all of the factors above. If your company has a clear and strong strategy, it might be time to start looking further into the future to see which disruptive technologies are likely to play a big part and how best to grow the innovation team.

If, on the other hand, the company is in an earlier stage of Digital Transformation, the approach might be more one of starting a conversation with the workforce, introducing training and exploring possible strategies together. We run a range of workshops at MakerClub to help, no matter what stage the company is at and you can always book in a quick call with the MakerClub Futures CEO, Simon, to see if there’s a good fit for what we offer.

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