Just as you wouldn't drive into a large urban area without a map, you can apply the same rule to digital transformation. It would help if you had a plan or roadmap to define your company’s digital transformation effort. This map provides a company with the necessary structure to move through the various programs needed to reach success.
A digital transformation roadmap usually begins with assessing the business at present and defining the future vision. Once the evaluation is complete, you’ll be able to identify gaps and build the next steps into the roadmap.
Without a map, you'll essentially be wandering through your digital transformation effort, which is incredibly risky to your company’s future. If you don’t know where you're going, how will you know if you're moving in the right direction? Yes, large-scale digital transformations can be incredibly intimidating, which is why a roadmap is incredibly valuable. It helps you break down large tasks into manageable parts allowing you to allocate resources effectively and generate the value your company expects.
A digital transformation often consists of a combination of technology projects, process adjustments, and organizational changes—all of which depend on each other to succeed. A roadmap will help you understand the event's sequence to avoid confusion, ensure a smooth transition, and encourage cooperation. Initially, there may be confusion, but the roadmap enables different teams to work on various parts of the transformation simultaneously as you progress.
The effort and amount of time required to achieve digital transformation for a company are as unique as each company itself. Your roadmap will need to include some specific content depending on how your company manages programs, projects, and investment decisions. However, there are a few key elements every digital transformation roadmap should include.
Simply put, what does digital transformation mean for your company? How much of a transformation do you want to make? Companies transform because they have a target they want to reach. It's critical to clearly state the leadership vision of the goal you're trying to achieve. Explain what it looks like and why it's essential to the company. A declared vision must resonate with its employers, partners, and customers to ensure everyone works towards the same target. It also encourages patience and understanding if, along the way, your path to digital transformation isn’t smooth and you run into rough patches.
How much time are you expecting the transformation to take? Is your intention to change everything in one massive action or take incremental steps to reach your final destination? What are the critical areas for your transformation you must improve for it to be successful? Do you fully understand all the necessary changes initially, or will you look at the details as you progress?
Once you have a defined strategy for approaching your digital transformation, you can convey a company and industry-wide message of the seriousness behind this change. It isn’t a pipe dream of an idea.
You don’t need to map out every task in advance, but you must know the critical changes required for a successful outcome. Each organization will have different principal activities, depending on its goal. Your transformation may look different from another organization's because yours includes technology projects only. At the same time, theirs involves organizational restructuring, changes to the supplier ecosystem, and modifications to their business processes. Your roadmap should include any available alternatives and high-level cost/benefit evaluations to guide the decision-making process.
Your digital transformation road map should include descriptions of the targets you'll reach as you move along the way. These milestones will provide a helpful reference to ensure you're on course and measure your organization's progress. They will also be valuable in setting expectations as team members start seeing value from the transformation and experiencing changes in their work environment. For those transformation initiatives requiring more time to achieve, plan for normalization periods to avoid the stress associated with constant change.
A digital roadmap consists of four major tracks: people, process, technology, and content.
The people track involves creating a customer-centered culture in your organization and acknowledging this is the foundation of a superior customer experience. The people track approach to a digital roadmap also addresses the role business partners play in creating this vision, personalizing how buyers engage with a company's brand and involving all company members through cross-functional collaboration.
The process track requires a lifecycle analysis, including creating a map of the customer journey to maximize organizational efficiency and achieve scalability for its new business model. The process track's goal is to thoroughly understand how every buyer engages with your product during every step of the customer experience lifecycle. Once complete, it will be possible to build more targeted digital marketing campaigns—supplying buyers precisely what they need at the moment they need it.
Choosing the technology track of a digital transformation roadmap focuses on building an integrated information infrastructure. This track creates a foundation for integrating data across silos and enables all information management platforms to interact, allowing for data analytics to drive growth. The technology strategy a company uses should be a combination of software and hardware.
The fourth is the content track, which focuses on managing internal company knowledge and external customer-facing messaging. Effective content must be accurate, locatable by your customer base, personalized, and contextualized. The setting helps organize the information. Content tracking allows you to evaluate all digital assets, so product information relates contextually to buyer preferences. Search sites are optimized to ensure your company's most relevant content is findable.
As today's corporate environment continually evolves, companies must modernize and provide customers with new products and services if they expect to remain competitive. All while updating their internal operations to take full advantage of modern technology. The companies able to do this effectively will have a significant competitive advantage and enjoy increased profitability.
Developing and implementing a roadmap for your digital transformation effort can be a complicated process on your own—this is where we can help. Our experts will walk you through every aspect of your company’s digital transformation and catapult your company's chances of success. Contact our team today to establish and implement your roadmap and begin reaping the benefits of today's digital world.
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