Each company is different, as well as its strategic goals and requirements; but the success factors in organizations are shared regardless the sector or industry. For example, at the operative level: time optimization, productivity, alignment of personal and professional goals with business drivers, quality of life improvement and recognition are the pillars for high-performance teams that make things happen.
At the management level, the approach is to make the right decisions with the right information, in other words, to make conscious decisions. Every day we face situations where agile decisions must be made and the right tools are required to support this process, such as online data, indicators, analysis, notifications, among others.
Fundamentally, companies are governed by business drivers. These could be called the Jedi force that establishes the direction towards we should move to achieve the long-awaited success.
But are we sure that we know these business drivers from our position in the company? Do we formally know how our work supports these drivers? This understanding is key to define the objectives of each area in the business strategies, and it is not detached from the buzzword DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION. (If you’re in charge of a digital transformation process, this article is for you).
The following steps will help you establish how to face a digital transformation process.
To help you understand the first stage in the definition of your digital transformation strategy, I rely on Socrates’ Greek aphorism “Know thyself”, or in this case, “Know your company”. Digital transformation goes beyond saturating the current processes with technology, it means simplifying processes to streamline the operation by providing technological tools that support the achievement of strategic business goals.
This stage focuses on having a broad understanding of each process of the value chain. For this, you must assign a responsible or leader who will become the facilitator of the current situation assessment and the self-discovery of improvement opportunities.
The role of the leader is to promote the transformation of the company from its most important asset, “PEOPLE”, generating the strategic alignment between each of the areas and the business drivers. The leader should meet with the key stakeholders of each area to understand in detail its operation and analyze its processes from a global perspective.
Why do we really do this? Why do we operate this way? These are some of the questions that can be raised from the previous step and this is the beginning of the transformation: To question. Questioning a work group about its day-to-day operations will identify the shortcomings that need to be corrected in order to achieve greater productivity, effectiveness and efficiency
At this stage, the leader’s role should focus on questioning the teams in 3 key aspects: people, assets and processes. Each working group should be led to validate whether the way in which it operates is the best or, on the contrary, to build from a futuristic perspective how it should operate on a day-to-day basis to improve the results.
To achieve this, a role-play is created where each area acts in the position of the different stakeholders, analyzing what they expect and how they can satisfy their needs; leaving aside the economic or technological limitations that the company may have. This dynamic will allow to generate many valuable ideas establishing a synergy and rapport between the areas.
At the end of this stage, you will get a document that condenses the dreams, desires, problems or opportunities for improvement of your organization. This is where your digital transformation strategy will begin!
As you may notice, we haven’t talked about technology so far. Later you will realize that it is not relevant until the end of the process. In this instance, you have a huge wish list and you don’t know where to start.
How do we prioritize the ideas?
The answer is complex, and my suggestion is: don’t do it alone. Meet with those responsible for each of the areas and present all the improvement opportunities, so that you all can discuss and prioritize them considering factors such as process improvement, ease of implementation, the current cost of the situation, potential investment, among others. The entire team will participate in the decision and this will lead to a cultural change, where the key stakeholders will feel empowered.
The above process encourages the involvement of key stakeholders, which generates a sense of ownership of the digital transformation process that guarantees commitment in the adoption of what is to be implemented.
At this point you are halfway through the definition, you have clear business drivers, you know the areas of the organization, you know how they interact in the value chain and you have a wish list that you prioritized with key business stakeholders.
What’s the next step?
The answer is: numbers. Now you must bring all those dreams into reality by understanding financially how much it currently costs the organization to operate without these improvements, as well as the potential investment, to determine which will have the greatest impact on the business.
This process defines a roadmap for the digital transformation strategy. It will go from the installation of equipment, devices and infrastructure, through the centralization, modeling and storage of information, to the development of applications. This will allow assets, people and processes to be fully connected, generating valuable information for the company.
What about technology?
Now is the time to technologically define what you need to fulfill the roadmap you have been designing. Technology partners have solutions focused on the most common problems of the industry and each of them offers great benefits to organizations.
Teamwork with technology partners is key at this stage. Validate who comes closest to meeting most of the items on the wish list, evaluating the technological solution regarding its integration and interoperability capabilities with your current systems.
Quick wins are key to your strategy, so add to the technology decision the ease of implementation, as showing quick results ensures credibility in the process and therefore in the results that can be achieved.
This path is not so simple and, as discussed throughout the article, involves a complete transformation of the company in terms of culture, management of change and technological adoption. Each stage is unique and the key to success is to generate synergies with high-performance work teams that understand the business drivers and seek how to impact them from each of the areas.
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My advice to you in this process is:
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