How do you achieve digital transformation success? Some might answer that it varies, since no two success stories are quite the same. Failed projects, however, seem to posses all too many commonalities, which actually implies that we should be able to arrive at some principles for success as well. Or at the very least for avoiding complete failure. Right?
But what are those principles? During the first day of the J. Boye Aarhus 16 conference, a group of digital leaders discussed what a framework for digital transformation success might look like. It was misty outside, but they didn’t notice. They talked, drank coffee, ate cookies and voted their way towards five principles that will move any digital project a great distance towards success.
We must fearlessly step forward and lead the way, helping our existing leaders understand the critical need for consistent involvement in ongoing Digital Transformation.
Must create and communicate the purpose, vision, and values of the organization early and often, as transformation unfolds.
Should maintain alignment with the needs of customers and the organization’s goals across the organization and among senior leaders.
Must secure appropriate resources necessary for Digital Transformation and tend to the care and development of scarce, critical, digital talent.
Should empower frontline resources to make decisions, yet stay involved with the process throughout.
Allocation of budget should consider the ongoing development of digital.
2. Customer Centricity
Digital Transformation must be lead with obsessive attention to the needs of customers, which are constantly evolving. As such, we must create a culture of continuous reflection and improvement, communicating with real customers to understand who they are and what their needs are.
Digital Leaders must:
Put ourselves in our customer’s shoes
Map their journey with the brad
Understand and champion their needs
An agile execution team must be grounded with the strategy and values of the organization.
Start by fully understanding the problem and gather detailed requirements
Define success with a broad group of stakeholders and be specific, measureable, achievable, realistic, and time bound (S.M.A.R.T.)
Understand competitor efforts in the same space and seek out relevant trends and technology
4. Organizational Change
Digital Transformation is not simply the purchase of new technology. As new solutions are adopted, new roles may be needed. It is necessary to understand the impact on the organization.
We must budget for training and enablement
Leverage internal communication to improve efficiency and awareness
Understand and shape a culture of change to head off fear and unrest
Change management is nothing new, seek outside guidance for best results
New processes and ways of working may be needed
In a time of accelerating change the old, linear way of managing projects is no longer effective. Large scale Digital Transformation requires an agile approach to be able to react to potential changes in customer requirements, technology, and business needs.
A willingness to fail — while capturing learnings
Ongoing measurement and optimization
Managing delivery teams as necessary to succeed
Empowering the delivery team to make critical decisions
Thanks to the contributors
The creators of this manifesto who came together at the 12th J. Boye conference in Aarhus, Denmark and created this on November 1, 2016 are:
More insights from the J. Boye Aarhus 16 conference
I’ve also shared some of my learnings from the 2 conference tracks I moderated. See