It is no secret that the Digital Transformation is tough, with close to 70% of them failing according to a recent McKinsey survey. Apart from that quite scary number, the McKinsey study also found that organisations who are successful in transforming have common themes in their strategy.
In the previous article of this 2-part series, we examined why digital transformation programmes have such a high failure rate and showed how the human and process factors are crucial to transformation success. It is key to start from an end-to-end process and focus on changing your organisational culture, as much as your staff needs clear direction. Read more on that here.
This second part of the series focuses on how you can support your transformation efforts with the correct tools. We will make a case for the various features we believe are crucial to have as an asset in your transformation journey. We have matched those with the items the McKinsey survey showed as being crucial to those organisations who have succeeded.
You are at the point of embarking on your transformation journey and are looking to get the right tools to do so. You have a host of specific tools you might use for your business, such as your core systems of record or perhaps newer ones that support Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Artificial Intelligence (AI). These are all great IT systems built to automate the things you do.
Do not get us wrong, that is a great idea, however it rarely creates the involvement your staff needs to come along on your transformation journey. So apart from having the systems in place that will transform your business, you will also need a toolbox to help your organisation change along with it. The items on this list might not come as a surprise, yet are very frequently overlooked- despite them being the critical success factors according to McKinsey.
End-to-End: Put the customer at the heart
McKinsey’s survey shows that a key component to a successful transformation is to shift your focus from thinking in departments and silos, to getting an end-to-end view on how you serve your customers. Subsequently, your new digital tools and staff involvement is aligned to that cross-functional process.
As a result, you need a platform that supports cross-functional thinking, showing you the end-to-end customer journey and bringing your staff together. We find that mapping processes in value streams, with representatives of all relevant roles present, is often the best way to understand how you work today and start driving improvements.
The solution can be used by anyone
If you are to be successful at transforming your organisation, you will need the support of every person from every department. In line with the end-to-end focus, that means everyone in your organisation must be able to use and understand how your new world will operate.
Starting with understanding, remember that people like visual. The traditional way of connecting processes with systems etc is through connected shapes. More often than not people do not know what those shapes mean, causing lower adoption and understanding along the way.
Second, people need to be able to edit. If you want everyone to be involved, you process solution cannot require coding as not everyone has programming experience and you cannot be depending on programmers for your transformation. The same applies to process logic, your solution has to include some form of logical check, so inexperienced staff can never design a process that does not work in real life.
Thirdly, the solution needs to be accessible for everyone and promote involvement. This means you want to deliver it on every desktop (more on that later) and want to tie it into daily work. Think about how you will support structured feedback loops across your organisation and how you will ensure everyone knows what is changing. This last portion does not only aid staff doing the right things, it will also help rapid prototyping and implementation.
Fit for Technical Purpose
McKinsey’s study shows that even though the biggest factor in transformation success is depending on human interactions and process, there actually is a benefit if you leverage more digital tools at the same time, if they are connected. Which elements should your solutions have?
One aspect that is crucial is the way your platform is delivered. It needs to scale, be agile and should be delivered quickly. In short- the solution must match the new operating principles of a transformed organisation. Cloud solutions are marked as the best fit. They are instantly available and can scale up as soon as you need them to. On top of that, they are delivered to any person, anywhere on the planet at any time and tend to be more secure than running your own environment.
The McKinsey study also finds that successful organisations leverage a multitude of solutions and connect those to the right activities in the end-to-end process. So, when you start from that newly designed process that everyone understands, you need to clarify how your digital tools tie into the activities people execute. Start from the process and show people where and how digital is used.
Making you better
Finally, the solution you choose should include features that help your organisation improve itself. We decided to highlight these features separately as there are many solutions that track your data and tweak what you have, whilst there are fewer that empower staff to improve and offer rapid prototyping options.
Phased improvement is crucial to deliver a successful digital transformation. The first design will be flawed and the best source for improvements are the staff that execute on these processes. Think about how you can facilitate and streamline their feedback as to how your transformation can become even better. You would not want to call an all company meeting every week, would you?
In line with receiving feedback, you want to be able to implement changes quickly. Your solution must support rapid prototyping, facilitating teams to make changes to your processes on the fly and implementing them across your organisation instantly. To repeat an earlier point, relying on your developers for every change is going to slow teams down and hinder success.
As a last point you will want to keep some form of control. From the start it needs to be clear what your strategy is and where the organisation is heading. From there you want the insights and visibility needed to assess how your organisation is tracking. This goes beyond a spreadsheet- you will want to know how people are executing and be involved in changes.
Selecting a Vendor
Give us a try….and do not expect to find everything with one vendor. It is great if systems work in conjunction with each other, test it and make sure it works. Some things will naturally work better in RPA systems, some other - like anything human related- will not. You need bespoke applications for each item.
What is the general point?
Our biggest takeaway from making this two-part series is the fact that in practice, most digital transformation programmes fail due to reasons that are not digital. Organisations are so focused on the digital solutions, that they forget to involve their staff, shift focus to the customer and think about how they will execute on changes.
Regardless of the type of business you are in, you will end up selecting a host of new digital solutions. Our belief is that you should include the right tools to help your customers and organisation make the most of those solutions. Focus on human centric, process minded solutions and you will be part of the 30% that succeed.