What are the right questions to ask before you start a digital transformation project?

  • Articles
  • January 10 2022
  • 9 min read

Are you planning to transform your company from an enterprise which engages in digital to a complete digital enterprise? If you really want to then your company will have to go through one of the toughest challenges with already established business models, valuable business assets and a huge number of employees moving towards witnessing a complete change in the overall business operations. So, with this article I would like to recommend a few significant questions that can go deeper in giving you a clear idea about how to start your digital transformation journey. Take a look at the below questions and get started. 

Are you sure that it is a digital transformation or just a digital upgrade?

It is observed that most of the companies aim for digital transformation but end up getting involved with digital upgrades, utilizing digital technology to enhance efficiency which isn’t new to your organization. For instance, increasing marketing spend for various digital channels or enhancing internal communication systems. However, a digital transformation takes place when you utilize digital technology to change the way of operation, especially over customer interactions and the manner in which the value is created, like, Apple uses its developer network in order to build software for its devices. So, if you find that you have restricted yourself only to digital upgrade instead of digital transformation then what shall you do? You need to ask yourself whether with such upgrades will you be able to give a tough competition to the business models that are based on digital networks, and who successfully create higher market valuations in comparison to the rest. 

Are you comfortable to share your value creation with customers?

Today due to network orchestration and the latest technology-based business model, companies are able to enable their customers and other networks to share in the procedure of value creation. For example, Uber depends on a network of drivers; Airbnb depends on a network of property owners; Ebay depends on a network of sellers. Such networks are necessary for the organizations, since by accessing the external assets, they are able to maximize profitability. Although, the organizations are benefitted but there are many leaders who hesitate to depend on a network which lies outside of their hierarchy. As working with such external groups necessitates new, co-creative leadership techniques, yet can enable organizations to gain access to various capabilities and underused resources.

Do you really know how to measure the value you plan to create?

You can manage what you measure. For most of the companies, the prime focus is on the physical capital (for building and selling goods) or human capital (for delivering services). The organizations tend to track inventory, utilization, productivity, and also other traditional Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Therefore, digital transformations do not always tend to always affect the KPIs that a company is already measuring. Obviously, the ultimate goal of a transformation is to affect profitability, revenue, and investor value. But along the way it is also important to track intermediate indicators. For most of the digital network companies, it even includes sentiment and engagement, network co-creation and value sharing. For instance, while judging the success of the Developer Network, Apple is able to measure the number of developers creating apps for their app store, the sum of money generated by those apps which Apple shares with their community, and user satisfaction with apps.  

Are your teams actively collaborating over functions?

Only by building a different enclave for various digital activities, digital transformation doesn’t take place. According to McKinsey’s analysis, the digital leaders immensely value internal collaboration, creating procedures and teams which integrate numerous functions over the business and developing incentives for sharing. It is observed that organizations are able to succeed by developing a cross-functional team which together brings main people from sales, marketing, product development, and IT for specified projects. For instance, Spotify tends to assemble self-managing project teams of people who are capable of bringing complementary skills to a task. Likewise, people in the organization actively participate in guilds where they can share their proficiency and discoveries. Additionally, the cross-functional teams require visible CEO support, clear instructions to get things right, sufficient resources to create a program, and profit-and-loss responsibility. 

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Have you made your budget plans? 

Sometimes many transformation attempts are hindered by budgetary cycles which aren’t adequately responsive to what’s exactly happening in the organization. According to McKinsey’s Quotient analysis, less than 15 percent of organizations are able to quantify the return on investment of their various digital initiatives. The venture capitalists tend to offer a different model. They prefer to closely follow their project’s development and are not hesitant to either discontinue if the main performance indicators fail to move towards the right direction or swiftly pump in some more funding if it’s justified by the performance. Their investment decisions do not necessarily depend upon a typical three- to five-year “hockey stick” business plan but rather on short-term milestones. The below diagram can bring more light to it. 

An image displaying the budgetary cycles during a digital transformation
Source: McKinsey & Company 

Have you empowered your people to act?

In most of the large companies you will find various reasons to not try something new. Due to the fear of cannibalization, or just a fear of change can ruin so many great business ideas and proposals. So, it is very necessary that the company employees are given the much-needed freedom to break through functional silos, and eventually get the authority to lead new project ideas. Such a digital initiative requires dedicated budgets and resources, CEO-level decision-making authorities. Therefore, if the company can encourage its employees to come up with such extraordinary business plans and ideas then they can definitely take digital transformation to a whole new level. 

Where are the major decisions made in my company?

This question can be really tough to answer. People do not feel comfortable answering it. They might simply assume that decisions are taken in certain ways, but when looking closely, those theories just completely fall apart. Even though there are people who are officially authorized for making decisions, still inspecting how the decisions are made can bring clarity upon how a company exactly works. It is found that in the most agile, effective companies, people do have the independence to work without taking permission from others to get things signed off, although it's rare. It has to be deliberate and intentionally designed into a company. 

How differently can my colleagues work to add more value? 

It is very easy to instruct people with what they need to do, then focusing on yourself and bringing a change. The real challenge is everybody taking their own responsibility towards learning, rather than giving orders to other teams or employees. So, when it's about digital transformation, the focus has to be on fresh skills and integrating technology. 

How do I contribute differently to this business endeavor? 

In order to successfully move towards digital transformation, the senior leaders are required to build the right conditions for success. Eventually, if employees in a company are not able to learn, then it has to be the leader’s failure in creating the necessary learning environment. Most often, we observe that the more senior an employee in a company, the more they feel that their job is not to learn but to simply know things. So, this attitude has to change. Since, today we live in a world which is super-fast and complex, the leaders have to be smart enough to inspect and take interest in learning and keep up with the latest technology trends and techniques.

How communication plays a crucial role in succeeding our attempt?

One of the convenient ways to change people’s perspectives, provoke thought and encourage in forming new behaviors is through active communication. Various meaningful intentions can be exchanged by the help of valuable conversations between both the parties. So, communication can come in various forms, and also the increasing amounts of data which people are supposed to deal with can be even very overwhelming. No matter whichever communication you get involved in, the prime focus should be on finding the information you want. Read about the importance of communication between designers and developers to know more.

Who will take the responsibility to carry out this transformation?

It is essentially important to understand if the in-house technology team is capable enough to execute, manage, and implement a digital transformation which is aligned to business priorities. The boards need to identify their technology team’s requirements, abilities, and also look if outside consultants are required at some phases or even along the complete digital journey to attain success. For instance, it is specifically significant to make sure that there is availability of cybersecurity expertise from the very beginning of the project, since early preferences that include whether to rent or own technology can have a major impact. 

7 Questions you should be asking your digital transformation partners

Once you’re clear with the initial thought process of starting your digital transformation project, you will have to next focus on your partners who will help you in successfully carrying out this process. Therefore, it is important for you to have a clear discussion with your partners where you need to ask them the vital questions that you have in your mind.

Can your potential partner understand your business challenges, and how do they plan to use technology to resolve them?

A potential partner necessarily needs to have a unique and particular perspective about your project, and prominent expertise in addressing your difficulties and challenges. You should be looking for partners who are well consistent in their capabilities in understanding their client’s requirements, can build innovative solutions and also can maintain project time management.  

How experienced are your partners? 

Experience really counts. The more experienced a partner is, the better the partner will be at delivering your project on time. So, you must prioritise the number of years of experience your partner has which can be a significant factor in choosing the right partner for your project. 

How many certified developers does your partner have on their team? 

It is always preferable to have developers who are well certified and who are capable of offering deep backgrounds in various project types, that helps in bringing much insight and efficiency to your project efforts and endeavors. Therefore, you should always look for partners who have a team of well certified developers who are smart and efficient enough to meet your project goals and objectives. 

How is your partner’s reputation with the clients they have worked for?

The clients’ referrals can be a good option in deciding your potential partner. Before taking any decision, you must ask your partner to submit various examples of successful past projects with consumer satisfaction and contentment. That can really boost your confidence in making the right decision of choosing your partner. 

Does your partner provide solutions that help you in managing your website without the need of any ongoing technical support?

Your partner shall be an expert in delivering solutions which can further allow you to manage your websites even without the need of ongoing technical support. Moreover, such expertise can empower content creators, marketers and other non-technical staff to create, change or update content, and also easily make basic design changes.

Is your partner constantly working to advance their skills and credentials? 

One of the prime elements to a partner’s success is their capability to stay updated with their technical delivery skills and techniques. You need to check your partner’s ongoing efforts in training their developers, developing their own internal practices or procedures, and building accelerators which can help them in delivering projects in a productive manner. The partners must ensure that they are updating their skills and techniques and offering excellence in all the levels of their organization. 

Does your partner provide full transparency?

Business partnerships are meant to be mutually beneficial. The uniform rules of engagements which both the parties follow lead to the development of such business relationships. Also, one key to such a relationship is transparency in which each of the partners has to clearly communicate about their expectations honestly that will help in building a successful business partnership. Furthermore, the Non-Disclosure Agreements, Letters of Intent and Performance Contracts are provided so that both the parties will honor their agreements. Well, finding the perfect digital transformation can be really hard. It will take a sufficient amount of research, communication and conversation to make sure that your partner understands your business and works towards achieving your goals and endeavors.  

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The bottom line

If you want your organization to go through a successful digital transformation then you will have to carefully clear all the above discussed queries and concerns. There is no doubt that as a leader you are well aware of the basics of managing change, but when it comes to digital transformation, it goes really deeper like there will be various demands on your team, your organization and including yourself. So, you will smartly have to change the manner in which you run your organization and break through all the barriers in becoming a renowned digital enterprise. 

And if you’re seriously looking for such an astonishing digital transformation then certainly OpenSense Labs is the right choice. Our team with remarkable expertise looks forward to offering your organization all the necessary advanced digital support and services. We ensure that all our clients receive the perfect digital transformation solutions in this very digital era. So, without waiting any further, why not connect

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