Digital Transformation – How & Where Do I Start?
The majority of business owners understand the need for digital transformation and the benefits of becoming a digitally enabled business, though a question I often get asked is:
“Where and how do I start Digital Transformation?”
Before answering this question, it is key to understand what is meant by digital transformation. A definition that is now widely accepted is:
“Digital transformation is the integration of modern technology into all functions of an organisation. Changing how you operate and deliver value, while improving customer experience, increasing revenue, and providing more efficient business operations.”
Whilst digital transformation is unique for every business, there are some important steps that most businesses should follow as they begin their digital transformation journey:
ASSESS YOUR CURRENT STATE
Before starting any digital transformation journey it is important to take stock of your current business and capabilities. This step should involve reviewing current customers and suppliers and the digital capabilities the business currently possesses. That includes reviewing current systems, integrations, available data, employee capabilities; basically, anything and everything that is used to make your business what it currently is.
This step is extremely important and is sometimes overlooked. I often say to clients “How can you determine where you want to go, and what direction to take, if you don’t know where you are starting?”.
It is interesting to observe how useful many businesses find a current state review, often learning things about their own business.
FUTURE STATE OR TARGET STATE
This stage is about reviewing the current state and understanding where you want the business to go in the future and how it should change and adapt. It is important to set specific aims and objectives for the future state i.e. :
“We want to ensure at least 95% of our customers receive their orders within 3 days”
“We want to become a paper free business”
“We want to have a real time view of our stock holding”
This ensures the future state has focus but also measurable objectives.
DIGITAL STRATEGY AND ROADMAP
With both the current capabilities and future aims established it is now possible to create a digital strategy. A digital strategy should outline the transformations required to meet the future state objectives i.e. :
“Implement electronic file sharing into the finance function to enable near paper free operation.”
“Improve customer ordering experience by implementing real time stock views.”
It is important to understand that you can’t change everything at once, and this is why the roadmap is important. The roadmap gives a high-level plan of the various transformation projects required to deliver the desired changes and the order in which they occur.
When considering the digital transformation roadmap and order of transformations, it is important to understand what changes will have the biggest impact and drive the most value, or if certain changes are a pre-requisite or blocker to others.
At Ballards, we have expert real-life experience of assisting our clients with their digital transformation journey. That includes assisting with current state reviews and creating a digital strategy via our Virtual CIO service, through to system selection, procurement assistance and project management services.
For more information please contact Sean Devlin on 01905 794 504 or email