Prior to any digital transformation, one should first make sure that they understand what it truly means to be a digitised organisation – what exactly makes it different? Otherwise, it would be like groping blindly in the dark towards an undefined future.
The answer to this question provides us with a basic comprehension of what digital transformation means for a company and helps the people responsible for this process shape the vision of the business so they can set up relevant goals.
While every company is different, there are 5 main pillars on which a fully digitised organisation should be based. Of course, you don’t have to start making changes in all of these areas at once – but the list below may be a good starting point for you to begin creating a detailed roadmap for a well-planned transformation.
DIGITAL DNA OF AN ORGANISATION
- Taking risks to be innovative
Being a digital leader means stepping out of your comfort zone. Development doesn’t happen without innovation which, by the way, doesn’t have to be totally disruptive for your business – these innovations may be small but significant, such as, for example, a small improvement for your customers.
- Trusting and empowering people
Innovative ideas don’t necessarily have to come from leaders – they just need to trust their team members (both on the senior and junior levels) to give them enough freedom to create. In return, each team member has to embrace responsibility for their own suggestions and actions.
- Mentoring and monitoring
A good digital leader is also a proactive mentor who leads by example. They need to be able to foster change by carefully examining all the suggested options and making confident, data-based decisions. They should also closely monitor progress in order to make any necessary changes, whenever they are needed.
- Continuous learning and solution-based thinking
This goes hand-in-hand with investing in people through training sessions, conferences, and encouraging them to come up with their own solutions. Each organisation only grows as fast as the people who create them.
- Open communication
Transparent communication within and between teams enables the open exchange of information and ideas, and minimises the risk of potential misunderstandings. Investing in a solid database and collective communication/collaboration tools is essential.
- Culture of quality
Employees should not only be proactive but also quality-oriented – and this has to be derived from the company’s core values. Every meaningful initiative and shift towards quality change should be noticed and appreciated by the management.
Also, a 360-degree feedback cycle for employees and leaders, as well as feedback regarding ideas, task implementation, procedures, and so on – should all be a vital part of the culture of openness and trust.
- Limited or effective hierarchy
A company’s hierarchy should either be limited or highly effective. A flat structure works well for smaller units, where fewer levels of management can speed up a lot of processes. Having a hierarchical structure, on the other hand, is usually better for bigger groups and organisations, so people can have clearer and more specific areas of responsibility, more structured processes and transparent reporting procedures.
- Many small teams
Instead of working as one big team, a digital organisation should be divided into smaller groups of specialists – groups that can be very effective on their own, and also collaborate with one another when necessary.
- Cross-functional networking in an ecosystem of partners
Being able to grow and function in an ecosystem of different IT vendors, marketing agencies, accounting and logistic firms, etc. (depending on your specific needs) is the only way a modern organisation can survive these days, regardless of any fluctuations in the internal or external environments.
- Diversified workforce sourcing
This is closely related to the point above. Every company should have access to various sources of specialists, such as staffing agencies, outsourcing companies or freelancing experts.
- Agile methodology
An iterative way of working, swift reactions to change, and high levels of adaptability and flexibility should all be internalised and inscribed within any digitised company’s DNA. Agile processes have to replace stiff legacy management methodologies.
- Data-driven decision-making process and data integration
Making informed decisions requires access to relevant data. And this often needs to be based on artificial intelligence and machine learning solutions. Integrating data from multiple sources within a company is equally important. Data Science and Engineering helps decision-makers make good choices, enables quick and adequate reactions, and facilitates collaboration between various teams.
- Success metrics
Monitoring and measuring progress is absolutely crucial for a digital company to be able to see how they’re doing, what needs to be improved, and to what extent. Having a set of measurable and repeatable success metrics is the backbone of growth and development.
Combining virtual and physical workspaces through a set of digital tools and dedicated software solutions is a must nowadays, especially when a lot of people have to work remotely due to external regulations.
- Client-centred approach
This has always been important, and now even more than ever. The ability (or inability) to satisfy your customer’s digital demands can have a huge effect on the company’s position in the market, since the competition is heating up. Workshop that engages UX designers, Business Analysts and testing a prototype with final users will ensure your product is market-fit.
- Rapid prototyping and solution testing
Based on reported customer needs, as well as continuous market research, a strong emphasis should be placed on rapid prototyping and the frequent release of minimum viable products (MVPs). This allows companies to quickly get some much-needed feedback to improve their products and/or services (or in some cases, get rid of them), and start making a profit as soon as possible.
This is the definition of a modern organisation in a nutshell. These 5 main pillars that we’ve just discussed should be turned into goals by any company with the ambition to become truly digitised. Digital transformation is a continuous process of making improvements as well as achieving and maintaining a competitive advantage.
Are you looking for an IT strategy for your business? Join us at IT Strategy Workshop and, together with our Business Analysts, UX designers and technology experts, plan a roadmap that will guide you through the whole process of digital transformation.