In my previous article, I defined the key aspects to consider when creating a digital roadmap. A digital roadmap is the most important vehicle to drive digitalization. It provides a clear path and defines crucial milestones to monitor, understand, and drive your company’s success in digitalization at any given time.
Today, I want to elaborate on how to successfully leverage these key aspects: assessing business objectives and pain points, identifying technology solutions, and prioritizing and sequencing initiatives. By doing so, you can stay ahead of the competition and also create a stable and flexible environment that allows you to adapt to changes without disrupting the entire digitalization process within the company.
Let’s get started by summarizing what we learned in my previous article about the different key aspects so far.
1. Assessing business objectives and pain points
To develop a robust digital roadmap, it’s essential to assess your organization’s business objectives, pain points, and potential value of digitalizing processes. This includes understanding the benefits of digitalization, analyzing existing processes, and involving stakeholders from different departments. You should also consider regulatory and compliance requirements. This assessment forms the basis for a tailored digital roadmap that meets your organization’s specific needs.
2. Identifying technology solutions
Once the organization’s needs are identified, conduct market research to find suitable technology solutions that align with the business strategy and address the identified pain points. Also consider factors like scalability, integration capabilities, security, and vendor reliability. Assess the potential impact of each solution on your business operations and outcomes. Engage with technology vendors and request demos or proofs of concept.
3. Prioritizing and sequencing initiatives
The insights need to be analyzed and prioritized in order to create a clear overview of viable technology initiatives and their potential in supporting your digitalization process. This involves considering the alignment of initiatives with strategic goals, dependencies between them, and required resources and capabilities. It’s crucial to strike a balance between quick wins and long-term transformation. You should follow an incremental approach to implementation and support incremental progress, continuous learning, and adaptation to changing business needs.
Digital Strategy Framework
The Digital Strategy Framework is a tool created by Cloudflight that builds upon these key aspects for creating a robust digital roadmap. It summarizes the most important aspects to consider when planning for, conducting, or revising your digitalization strategy. It will help you understand the dependencies of different phases of your digitalization and show the importance of thoroughly and comprehensively overseeing your company’s digitalization process.
Figure 1: The digital strategy framework (excerpt).
In this article, I will show you how to implement the Digital Strategy Framework with the help of an IT Strategy Hub to support a successful strategic digital transformation.
How to implement the Digital Strategy Framework in your business
The Digital Strategy Framework provides you with key aspects to consider for planning and executing your digital transformation along with valuable examples.
It indicates a step-by-step approach and reveals dependencies between the different aspects. However, avoid a waterfall-like approach. Don’t focus on each aspect one by one and forget what is going on to the left and right. To successfully achieve your business goals, you need a continuous approach that iteratively reveals new insights to be considered and included in the digitization process.
This also means that all the key aspects, and therefore all identified technology initiatives, need to be connected to each other to allow new insights to be integrated into the digitalization process at any time. Ensuring each initiative can impact any other at any time during the digitalization process dramatically increases complexity. Thus, to ensure transparency and keep the framework maintainable, let me introduce a centralized approach that’s responsible for supervising and steering any ongoing activities across the different initiatives.
Creating an IT Strategy Hub
Your digitalization process will be managed by a council with a dedicated group of people capable of overseeing any ongoing activities. This council is called IT strategy hub.
Building a team for your IT strategy hub
Along with strategic management positions and decision makers, actors in this IT Strategy Hub need a very concise skillset to bridge the ever-known gap between IT and business strategy. This is done by combining expertise from both areas into a powerful tool that ensures continuous improvement of the company’s digital ecosystem and keeps the business running smoothly at the same time.
Skills required in your IT strategy hub
The list of skills we have identified to fully enable the IT strategy hub to act as an enabler of a successful digital transformation is long. Below we will provide only a few that we consider very important.
Perseverance is vital for driving the strategic direction, securing resources, managing change, monitoring progress, and ensuring the long-term sustainability of the company’s digital transformation efforts. It will help overcome resistance, navigate challenges, manage change, learn from setbacks, and sustain long-term success.
2. Comprehensive Thinking
The ability to view a situation from different angles and consider technical requirements, strategic business goals, dependencies, and impacts on other aspects within your organization is a crucial skill. It allows you to gain and maintain a comprehensive overview of your company’s overall performance. Without this skill, it will be hard to identify pitfalls and prioritize actions in a reliable manner.
3. Contextual Intelligence
This skill is best described as the ability to understand, interpret, and navigate different contexts effectively. It involves the capacity to depict the important details of a given situation, recognize relevant factors and variables, and make informed decisions based on the understanding of the context at hand. It helps to gain a deeper understanding of the organizational, industry, and market context surrounding the digital transformation initiatives. It also enables more informed decision-making, effective stakeholder management, tailored change management, risk assessment, resource allocation, and continuous learning.
These are only a few examples. However, without this very specific skillset, the gap between IT and business strategy can’t be closed. This leads to unwanted delays and unexpected outcomes.
Recruiting tech partners
Since this required skillset and the associated role not only plays a very crucial role in the digitalization process but is also very time consuming, you may consider completing this management council by adding competent technology partners who specialize in digital advisory. These partners can provide expertise, insights, and guidance throughout the digitalization process. They should start with business analysis and move on to accompanying the roadmap creation process and execution of identified initiatives. They will be able to manage, maintain, and connect all ongoing activities to ensure any insights that might come up during this process will be considered and incorporated wherever it’s causing effects of any sort.
When engaging with technology partners, consider the following:
- Look for reputable technology consultants or advisory firms with a track record of successful digital transformation projects.
- Collaborate with these partners to assess your specific business objectives, pain points, and value propositions.
- Ensure their expertise in evaluating and selecting technology solutions that align with your organization’s goals and requirements.
- Build a trusted relationship from the first day to avoid any misunderstandings and ensure communication at eye level.
A trusted digital advisor will not only connect all the aspects of your digital roadmap, but they will also work as the missing piece of a puzzle by connecting to every other piece and creating a symbiosis that will lead to seamless cross-border interaction in a synergetic environment.
The Digital Strategy Framework is an efficient way to successfully implement your digital strategy. It allows you to assess business objectives and pain points, identify technology solutions, and prioritize and sequence initiatives.
The crucial part of efficient digital transformation is building your IT Strategy Hub team. It should include an experienced tech partner. By leveraging the expertise of competent digital advisors, you can ensure the technology solutions chosen for your digital roadmap are the right fit for your business. This involves considering your individual business strategy, objectives, and pain points while also incorporating common best practices and utilizing state-of-the-art technology solutions.