Before we go into the culture of digital transformation, I want to note that digital transformation is about change in the business and its people.
As mentioned in part 2 of this series, the successful transformation is determined by how you take your people along with you.
Over the last few years, I’ve had the privilege of working with some amazing, forward-looking organisations as well as the fair share of companies that, under what would be deemed to have been good management 10 years ago, simply cannot move forward.
I have come to realise that digital transformation is about building a culture where individual teams are empowered to make decisions within the context of a larger business objective or digital roadmap.
In my current journey of building a culture of digital transformation in our own business group, I have learned some valuable lessons I would like to share with you.
Digital transformation is a culture that must be led by design.
I recently read an insightful article, on the McKinsey & Company mobile app, on building a design-driven culture.
“It’s not enough to just sell a product or service — companies must truly engage with their customers.” — McKinsey & Company, 2015
This might sound intuitive, however, in my experience, projects are far from being design-led, or even customer-led — more often projects are (at best) technology-led.
Over the past two years, through a constant focus on customer needs and leading with the design customers will experience, has helped transform the way we approach large projects.
In addition, it helped us break down the silo working effect inside the company and inspire greater teamwork. Therefore we are continuously focussed on evolving our team and using the right digital tools to work better.
Digital transformation must come from the top.
I have seen time and again that for any changes in the company to work, they need to be adopted and driven by the most senior stakeholders in the company. As board members and C-level executive staff, we need to be the change we desire. This is one of my biggest challenges as my focus is mostly on the horizon and on planning the next move. I have to work hard to draw my attention back to my team and focus on driving the technology amongst them.
For any changes to work, they must ultimately be adopted and championed by the board or senior stakeholders of any company before they can be effective. The delivery process is only made possible by the use of agile techniques and applying these to the entire product lifecycle of an organisation, not just individual projects.
Although internal teams are starting to work using agile techniques, they are still working in silos without a common vision shared by the organisation as a whole. The end result is an overall poor user experience, inconsistencies, and lots of tech redundancy.
A digital transformation team should help align the various internal and external goals, steering everyone towards a route map that follows long-term business objectives. This allows teams to overlap and work on a feature-by-feature basis, rather than a project-by-project basis.
Digital transformation helps create great products.
Companies need to be in the business of building great products.
This takes many iterations. They must firstly expect change, and secondly realise that there is no end. True value comes from continuously improving your product, internally and externally.
Digital transformation creates a unified company-wide vision.
A digital roadmap helps define a common vision for the company’s future — a collective understanding of where the company is going.
- The strategy, design and development teams all need to work together.
- Enterprise architecture needs to work alongside the UX teams.
- The products need to be unified across the organisation.
- Each team needs to know which features should come together when considered against the bigger picture.
You cannot outsource Digital transformation.
This might sound strange coming from an agency that helps companies and internal teams, but both digital transformation and your team are core to your business — make them work together. Your internal team is as important to your digital transformation as your relationship with your agency.
We can help put the right tools in place and assist the senior stakeholders with driving change, but the actual change needs to come from the inside and work its way from top to bottom.
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