Talent [R]evolution

How to create an effective digital roadmap

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One of the most important considerations in a company’s move towards digitalisation is how to create a digital roadmap. It involves strategic decisions that benefit both the current state of the business and the way forward in a digital transformation. In this article, we are going to look at the best ways to strategise a digital transformation and the role that strategic evolution plays towards the digitisation of business. Finally, we will look at digitisation’s impact on the business plan and the organisation as a whole.

Typically, one of the main obstacles to digitalisation in any company comes from the top. CEOs have often been reluctant to recognise the benefits of digital transformation, particularly when traditional business models have been so successful up until this point. One common reason cited is that executives believe that the transformation will take too much time and that it will not be completed during their tenure at the company. Furthermore, many executives believe that the size of the transformation will be too large to not negatively affect the current running of the business. 

However, an expanding number of executives are waking up to the reality of digital transformation. These executives know that digital technology can notably enhance the company’s performance. They are now looking at the potential of a digital roadmap to facilitate this transformation. Ahead, we lay out the steps required for a business to successfully formulate a digital roadmap to a successful transformation.

Steps to formulate a digital roadmap:

1. Ensure the involvement of top management

Of course, any CEO must be aware of any deeply revolutionary practices within the business, but it is not enough for senior management to simply consent to a digital transformation. They must be fully on-board with the process and wholly understand the need for such a complete transformation. Furthermore, in order to secure the digital transformation’s success, they must be an integral part of its process and follow its aims to the end. The transformation requires the active involvement of a company’s senior management because it shows how digital transformation is a prime concern for the company and means that all participants are aware of its importance. 

2. Set a clear agenda with progressive, bold aims

Partly in order to persuade heads of the organisation of the necessity for digital transformation, having a scheduled timeline detailing updates as they happen can be very helpful. Another reason is that a clear agenda provides direction and focus for the team working on the transformation. With incremental targets, the end goal seems more feasible for the entire team. They also help to outline how each improvement generates value for the company. For instance, how e-commerce helps grow the number of sales or how process automation increases the amount of post-sale engagement.

3. Obtain financial backing

There may be a great need to persuade investors of the necessity of a digital transformation as the process can prove pricey. The move towards digital may result in a loss of profits during the first few years, but the potential profit loss without the move would probably be even greater. Whoever is in charge of the digital transformation will probably have to persuade investors for a larger cash injection to weather the storm

4. Start with smaller but more obvious projects

Your agenda should highlight more manageable tasks first, in order to prove the benefits of the project as a whole. These could include tasks that directly involve customers and are highly visible. The success of these improvements would be noticeable to the customers and would, therefore, increase client satisfaction as well as providing performance improvements.

5. Form digital roadmap habits

A sense of the importance of digital and the ways it transforms work should not only be restricted to the team responsible for the digital transformation. Habits and digital working practice should be deeply embedded in the culture of the company. From the ground up, every employee should be trained in and recognise the benefits of the move towards digital. This includes a renewed focus on customer requirements, feedback and engagement, and training in the technicalities of the modified systems they will work with. It is important to reiterate that the new systems do not replace what made staff valuable in the first place, but work to enhance their qualities.

6. Embrace new ways of working, not just technology

Any changes in the company must be made holistically with a view to improvement throughout the organisational structure. However piecemeal changes are made at the beginning of the digital transformation, any significant digital roadmap must end at the point where revolutionary change has finally been made. A recognition of this revolutionary change must begin at the outset and necessarily requires a total shift in company philosophy and staffing structure. Staffing will not remain static, as people will now be needed in different departments. Focus on value will shift as staff efforts will transform into other areas; figuring out new ways to create value will be key.

New horizons through the power of digital roadmap

Any business embarking on a company-wide shift such as digital transformation will be met with many challenges. However, building a digital roadmap like this, which can, of course, be amended as necessary, will be an invaluable tool in the company’s belt. No digital roadmap such as this one will fulfil all of an organisation’s needs, as they need to create something more akin to the particular challenges that will arise. By far the most important aspect to recognise is that the change is more than just technological but philosophical

Pau Cerdà is co-founder of Outvise. Pau has founded several digital startups and consulting companies. He advised some major telecom and media groups. Former Oliver Wyman. Telecom Engineer + MBA (ESADE)

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