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How to kickstart Digital Transformation in your own business.

I write about Digital Transformation a hell of a lot! I’m passionate about it to the point of it being weird! This passion has been born from the fact I’ve joined companies on journeys to digital competency right from the start, with some doing it right and some making a pigs ear of it! As I grow in experience and perspective, I still see companies crying out for help and I’m often chomping at the bit to provide that help!

Often companies treat ‘digital’ and ‘IT’ entirely differently – digital is not an IT issue, it’s culturally driven and a lot of times large companies don’t either see that or want to admit it. It’s too much work.  They often think you can buy in ‘digital’ from a vendor of get it off-the-shelf.

I wanted to round up the things I often try & push when I’m taking companies down a digital path, and I think this is a pretty good start.

Get commitment from the C-level

This is my number one priority. Always. If the C level don’t buy in or understand fundamentally you have got failure baked in straight from the off. You need to make sure when it comes to those important decisions the C level understand. They must understand enough to make properly informed decisions which are in line with the business strategy goals, and not whimsically deciding upon features because their performance bonus is linked to it, for example!

Use Pathfinder projects to build momentum and create small wins.

Similar to what I write & discuss in adopting SharePoint (or any other piece of software), as much as you find champions to help you roll something out, you’ll need to demonstrate some small wins to get a stirring occurring in your business! In large companies I tend to see three groups of people: those who want change, those who don’t, and those who are unsure. Quick wins can help get some of those fence sitters over the line and help you longer term. I tell companies today again & again, don’t underestimate how important people are in technology projects!

Communicate early & often.

Digital transformation takes time. It requires long term strategic relationship building. Building trust, demonstrating value and bringing people on a journey. Digital business leaders who successfully drive change will work closely with their technology & offline counterparts in real time. Digital leaders need to be accountable early on, and to everyone. Forrester finds enterprises need to communicate early & often to gain buy-in for digital projects.

Shift your relationship with Digital.

Ensure everyone knows what digital actually means. Often, we’re not talking websites or apps any more. We’re talking about services and complementing how users (customers) interact with our business. Whether it’s a chatbot or a self-service mobile app, you can not only use these initiatives as quick wins but also to test the waters in your sector. Digital transformation doesn’t end when you’ve built the thing, you’re creating experiences that will last forever so make them right.

Hire the right people.

You MUST employ the right mix of talent. The wrong people doing the wrong job kill digital transformation before it begins. As a company leader, be humble to the fact you may not know how to employ, but get someone who will. The right teams here are so important for your commercial strategic success and you should not hire anyone just because they have ‘digital’ in their title.

In Summary

Fundamentally culture is the key. I more often than not, see digital transformation projects crippled due to badly aligned culture and massive mis-understanding of what digital is by company execs. Any company that is not thinking about providing digitally compatible experiences for their users and not just websites and apps, is going to fucking die – plain and simple. Think voice, native interfaces between your users and your technology platform, relevance and massively personalised delivery and big data. You don’ just build a website anymore.


For a chat over a coffee or advice on digital transformation, you can get in touch with me on Twitter @mariodc.

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