Accelerate your Digital Transformation Journey — a must-read for Board Members, C-Level Executives and Business Owners

  • by Nkemdilim Uwaje-Begho
  • Apr 16, 2020
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“At least 40% of all businesses will die in the next 10 years… if they don’t figure out how to change their entire company to accommodate new technologies.” — John Chambers

Digital Transformation is often pigeonholed as an IT topic or project that only concerns the CIO or CTO….but it is much more than that. It is really all about rethinking your business in the Digital Age.

What is Digital Transformation?

Here are my two favourite definitions for anyone that may be wondering what exactly Digital Transformation is:

Digital Transformation is the process of using digital technologies to create new — or modify existing — business processes, culture, and customer experiences to meet changing business and market requirements.

Digital Transformation is turning your business into a 21st century organization that is strategically driven by technology & data and focuses on innovation at the intersection of Technology and Human Behaviour.

With COVID-19 being the one thing that has pushed executives over the ledge and has made sure that even sceptics of Digital Transformation are now embracing it, it is highly important for Board Members, C-Level Executives and Busines Owners to be equipped with the right knowledge and understand the principles of Digital Transformation.

There is no alternative to Digital Transformation, visionary companies will carve out new strategic options for themselves — those that don’t adapt will fail. — Jeff Bezos

I held a Digital Transformation Masterclass on Zoom last week — specifically for Board Members, C-Level Executives and Business Owners. It was an amazing experience being able to share my knowledge and experience with over 60 participants.

In conversation with…

I was joined by Digital Transformation Expert Nkiruka Uwaje, who has worked with big corporates in the UK helping them think through their Digital Transformation journeys and also happens to be my sister.

I asked Nkiru a few very important questions around Digital Transformation:

1. Why should companies accelerate their Digital Transformation Journey

Digital as a Resilience Strategy:

The ongoing pandemic has forced us all to rethink strategies and accelerate Digital Transformation. COVID is a great diagnostic test that has served up major gaps in technology & service delivery across private and public sector.

Consumer Culture is changing:

We are seeing massive changes in Consumer culture and only an amazing Customer Experience (CX), winning Digital Marketing strategies and simple yet innovative products can ensure that customers stay with you.

The Challengers are here:

Challenger Brands are disrupting more and more industries. The order of the day for established brands is accelerate innovation and agility or die.

2. What are the Pillars of Digital Transformation

The pillars of Digital Transformation

  • Customer Experience (Marketing, Service / Product Delivery)
  • Data (Analytics, BI, Big Data)
  • Infrastructure & Architecture (Cloud, APIs, Open Network Economy)
  • Security (Cyber Security)

3. What are the Key Technologies that drive Digital Transformation

Nkiru talked us through key technologies driving Digital Transformation that every executive needs to understand:

  • Cloud
  • Data
  • Open Network Economies
  • Platforms
  • APIs

I elaborated on this point during my Masterclass as well and outlined areas that executives need to dig deeper in and expand their knowledge in.

I just watched the recording of the session and Nkiru really helped lay the foundation and shared so much insightful background information, examples, resources and lots of real nuggets of wisdom. Thank you so much for joining us and sharing so generously! 🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽

The Masterclass

After that we dove right in and spent the next 60+ minutes running through the Masterclass — in case you missed it here are the slides.

The biggest part of our Digital Transformation is changing the way we think — Simon Sinek

Here is what we covered:

1. What are the Key Pillars of Digital Transformation

  • Customers — Digital allows co-creation, 2-way communication, and value flow. Leverage your customer networks and invest in your customer experience.
  • Competition — In the Digital Economy collaboration and partnerships are key — even with competitors. Sharing data and resources benefits everyone → e.g Open Banking / Network Economy
  • Data — Use data to enhance CX, conversion driven marketing, effective cross selling, decision making, hyper personalization and process optimization.
  • Innovation — Rapid prototyping must become order of the day. Fail fast and keep innovating. Innovation should be deeply embedded in your culture and organisational DNA in order to win.
  • Value — Adapt your value proposition in a world of ever changing customer needs, consumer behaviour and challengers. Invest in building your future consumer base (Millennials & Gen Z). Invest in developing products.
  • Strategy — Digital first is a business strategy. Technology is no longer a tool, it is a core survival strategy for your business. Strategy should touch on customer experience, process automation and supply chain optimization.

2. What’s your Digital Transformation Persona

  • Digitally Challenged: little or no understanding of digital
  • Digital Thinker: little direct interaction with digital but you conceptually understand digital
  • Digital Disruptor: You have been deeply embedded in digital
  • Digital Leader: You have substantial experience of running a traditional business that leverages digital in a significant way.
  • Digital Transformer: You have led or participated in a digital transformation of a traditional business.

3. What role should you play in Digital Transformation as a

  • Board Member: The board is central to determining corporate strategy and championing projects and investments that deliver it, thus Digital Transformation should be driven from the very top of the organisation.
  • C-Level Executive: The CEO, COO, CIO, CMO, CHRO and CFO must all be involved in driving Digital Transformation. Traction really starts to take hold when C-Level Execs collaborate and coordinate holistic digital transformation initiatives
  • Business Owner: Depending on the size and stage of your business, business owners should understand Digital Transformation and Technology and frequently and deeply engage on strategy and risk – don’t leave it all to your CIO / CTO
  • Consultant: Depending on whether you have the in-house capacity to design your strategy, oversee and manage the implementation you should consider finding an IT Partner that can support your transformation and has a deep understanding of your business processes and industry landscape & regulations.

4. Digital Transformation Checklist

Your Digital Transformation Strategy should focus on the following key areas:

5. Points of Failure

There are many points of failure

  • Support: Lack of Board / C-level Support / buy-in
  • Cheap is expensive — DT is an investment strategy
  • Change Management is key — make sure that everyone is carried along
  • Local Support is key — make sure that you have adequate IT support services
  • People: Get your workforce 21st century ready, keep their skills up to date & figure out how to retain talent
  • Data is the new gold — don’t play with it
  • Documentation: Document like your life depends on it — standards, policies, processes, procedures they should all live in documents
  • Business Continuity: Don’t forget to think about Business Continuity
  • Data and IT Security: Don’t forget to think about data and IT security risks

In case you missed it or just want to dive in all over again here are the slides and the recording of the session.

The Future is DIGITAL….The Future is NOW!

So what next?

  • Think about your Digital Transformation Journey
  • Engage your Team — Craft your Vision
  • Start Working on your Digital Transformation Strategy
  • Implement — Implement — Implement
  • Transform — Transform — Transform
  • Optimize — Optimize — Optimize

If you need help with thinking through your Digital Transformation Journey and Strategy — you can reach out to me by leaving a comment in the comments section below or sending me an email in projects@futuresoft-ng.com.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nkemdilim Uwaje-Begho
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