A Logical Approach to Digital Transformation

In my time consulting with companies across industries, I have come to several conclusions. First, everyone is trying to achieve digital transformation, but few really understand what that really means. Secondly, almost everyone I have come across is doing it in a silo. Thirdly, there are similar and uncoordinated efforts to “transform” happening across all organizations and sectors.

It seems like everyone has the desire or necessity to transform their business processes in some capacity. They are buying into the hype that it will change their business or reduce costs, but their approach is all wrong. Either they lack a high enough executive sponsorship, they don’t understand the impact on the organization, or they lead with the tool instead of the process. The worst is when there is no attempt to coordinate the effort, often leaving many teams doing double duty. This is a universal problem across industries in organizations big or small. Who is playing air traffic control? The unicorn you need to help you work out these issues is a blend of business optimization and a deep understanding of an arsenal of technologies. But how can you determine who is right for you?

Allow me to suggest a few characteristics that may help narrow down your search. They need to have the highest level of executive sponsorship and be deeply knowledgeable about the process and technology. They should also have a clear vision of the outcome and be able to articulate it to their team (whoever you just thought of, think again and go higher). Everyone from the board to the functional team needs to understand deeply what is happening, why you are doing this, and what their role is in the project. Another thing is that they don’t worry about the technology and focus their attention on the business process redesign because that is where the magic happens.

The final characteristic I think is important is if they invest in their own team. Digital transformation might mean being sold one solution by a company like an RPA, but the most success comes from utilizing an arsenal of tools. These tools must be managed by people who are knowledgeable in how they can be used to solve your problems and streamline your processes. While everything can’t be fixed with an RPA, or an ERP, or a forms tool, or a workflow tool, you can make a heck of a transformation if you architect a solution that uses all of them. 

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