Daily, the media is awash with articles declaring the importance of digital transformation, detailing what needs to happen at governance, infrastructural and enterprise level to ensure its effectiveness and how this form of transformation is essential towards ensuring the longevity of your business.
Very little is however said about how to actually, meaningfully and effectively implement a sustainable digital transformation initiative within your organisation. It seems everyone agrees it is important and necessary, but not many are willing to explain at a granular level how to go about it.
For over a decade our singular focus has been to assist organisations develop digital products and transformation journeys to ensure their businesses stay ahead of the curve and remain future proof. More than 10 years on, and with over one hundred successful client transformation journeys successfully implemented, we’ve decided to share some of our best practices. Not ideas or suggestions. Tried and tested practices that produce measurable results enabling real digital transformation.
Focused Senior Level Teams
Digital transformation is a culture, not simply a project. Visionary leaders are needed to not only see the future, but also to pull that vision into their current business context. Without fail, we have found that the best digital products and journeys are created by competent high-level multidisciplinary teams, willing to be hands-on. There is no getting around the need for experienced experts who can make your vision material, craft products and journeys to achieve this and then deploy at scale.
Clearly Articulated and Ambitious KPI’s
As the saying goes, a vision without a plan is just a wish. Once the right people, who share the same vision, are in the room, this picture needs to be made actionable. Product strategists are critical at this point, helping in the creation of category-leading digital experiences, clarifying goals and driving consensus around a focused, clearly defined set of metrics. An often-overlooked element in successful deployment of a project is the role and long-term contribution of different team members. Successful implementation very often depends on team cohesion and collaboration. It is essential that the same team that started the project be involved throughout and see it through to completion.
Digital transformation and products are, by definition, technology projects. Accordingly, digital development needs to start at project kick-off, ensuring rapid alignment to technology strategy and forward-thinking architecture. All team members need to be part of the product journey and where needed a ‘show me, don’t tell me’ approach should be followed. Collaboration is key.
Get Market Feedback in Less than 21 Days
In order to truly ensure a fit-for-purpose product or outcome, it needs to be tested and validated in the market. This needs to happen sooner rather than later. In our experience, market testing in less than three weeks from kick-off is ideal. By this time, you should have completed a full design cycle and have a prototype up. Gaining insight from the market at this early stage is valuable in validating strategic assumptions and ideas, allowing for further iterations before deployment. After this first round of market feedback, continuous testing and validation should be done in every phase of the process. Your aim should not be to have everything perfect, simply for the product to do one thing well.
100 Days to Market
The temptation arises, when fully immersed in a very dynamic and creative process, to want to show progress by creating elaborate and expensive presentations and decks. This drains valuable resource time away from focusing on creating scalable digital products. Rather, focus on building, prototyping and testing. Then, repeat. Keeping your focus narrow, and deliverables on track, should enable you to get your product to market in under 100 days. If not, you may need to reconsider how resources are being employed and deployed.
A Never-Ending Journey
Digital transformation is an ongoing process that demands participation at all levels, working to specific KPIs and rapidly generating prototypes that are continuously tested and improved. Successful implementation should facilitate greater team cohesion, produce measurable impact and align activities to being future-focused, adding value to your business while meeting client needs.
If you’re not achieving these ends it is unlikely that your digital transformation journey will lead where you’d like it to go.