In today’s world all businesses are becoming ‘digital businesses’ at an unprecedented rate. Organisations are taking a leap to transform their business via digitisation and jumping on the digital transformation bandwagon. But to ensure that the digital transformation is ‘fit-for-purpose’ is a daunting task whether you are building a new platform or re-platforming from a legacy system.
- A digitization strategy should be created by analysing the opportunities presented by the digital world and assessing the different digitization trends and their potential benefits for your organisation.
While setting up digitization strategy, organisations often realize that there are strategic and operational gaps between the desired digital state and their situation on the ground. These gaps are the reasons why the digital transformation needs to take place within your organization – you should draw up an individual milestone plan based on such gaps.
- Organisations shouldn’t adopt a big-bang approach – don’t try to boil the ocean!
Many organizations decide to kick off with a reference project for digitization first of all. Naturally stakeholders’ are eager to see a whole slew of things addressed via this project. But it is important to set right expectations that organisations do not try to meet all their objectives through a single project. The right way to see this is as an ongoing program which is continuously going to deliver the capabilities that are going to be foundational to how you engage and serve your customers.
- Keeping the scope of the reference project limited with clearly understood and defined requirements is really important so that people see quick ‘time-to-value’; that they see progress – as a successful step taken towards what you ultimately want to achieve. This also ensures the executive buy-ins for successive stages of the program. This is where project governance and discipline becomes important – to keep the reference project on track – time, budget & quality.
- Identify and define the interfaces between the systems in your landscape in advance – possibly before the digital transformation program kicks off with the reference project.
- Best practice is to do those interfaces in advance. Defining the interfaces and investing in scalable, highly repeatable standardized interfaces enables you to move much faster later during the ongoing transformation program.
- This is the best way to avoid the scope creep rearing its ugly head during the reference project (and subsequent phases of the program) and in-turn causing the time and cost overruns.
- Have an idea of ‘User Experience’ in advance – defining and designing of the UX can start well in advance of the systems implementation. There would definitely be a rationalization process required to ensure the UX design can fit the project (during the defined project timeframe for this activity) but overall this can streamline a project considerably.
- Organisations need a senior project manager guarding over the scope of the project who is absolutely committed to delivering it on-time. Agreed project timelines should be realistic instead of being aggressive. The scope of implementation itself might not necessarily be large, but we shouldn’t forget these are transformative projects that affect every part of the business. There will always be a project plan – you need somebody who is firmly guarding and managing it but is also willing to cut the scope of things to bring the project in on-time. As highlighted earlier, you’ve got to see it as a program versus a project.
- Such transformation projects, almost always, cut across the departmental boundaries in any organisation. Better internally connected an organisation is, higher are the chances of success with their digital transformation program! This calls for a due attention to be paid towards motivating, encouraging and training employees for new roles and competencies so that they are ready for the change to a new world where departmental boundaries will at-least blur if not vanish!