Going digital - why, when and how

Neil McKeown, Head of Consulting

 

Digital transformation or, put simply, ‘going digital,’ is high on the corporate agenda across every sector.

That said, less than 20% of organisations have a clear understanding of what digital transformation really means, how it can help drive efficiency and where to begin the process.

Digitising systems and processes will mean different things to different organisations – it could be building an entire web-based ordering system – or a basic change like moving administrative requests online.

Often there are barriers in the way to addressing the topic of digitisation. An organisation may become stuck in its traditional thinking towards IT or there may be a reluctance to embrace change.

There may be confusion around which area of the company ‘owns’ digital, often falling between two stools of the Marketing and IT departments.

In Neueda’s experience, the most effective approach is for digital transformation to be driven from the top.

But before you work out what you should implement, you have to assess your objectives and capability to achieve them digitally - in other words understand your ‘digital readiness’.

Firstly, an organisation should have a clear picture of what its ‘digital ambition’ looks like –how far do you want to push the scale and scope of digitisation? To do this, you can consider four key areas and how digital can affect these:


Planning

How can digital solutions help you plan, manage and measure your business’ objectives?

Making

Can your products or services be enhanced by digital technology?

Selling

Would you be able to interact with your customers better digitally?

Operating

Would digitising your operations help you function better as an organisation?


Whilst you consider each of these themes, remember that digital transformation needs to represent a value for money investment that makes good business sense. An organisation shouldn’t switch to doing something digitally simply because it can.

Equally, you need to consider the data privacy implications, particularly if making a digital change involves putting data online. This is particularly significant with the introduction of GDPR in May.

Neueda has a system in place to help its customers analyse its level of digital readiness – the Digital Accelerator. Partnering with the Innovation Value Institute (IVI), we adopted its IT Capability Maturity Framework™ (IT-CMF) tool to help organisations meet the digital challenge quickly and efficiently.

The Digital Accelerator uses online surveys, industry-standard practices and benchmarking data to help organisations identify any barriers in place of digitisation.

Most importantly, digitising any element of your business must create better services or products; realise significant financial benefits and cost savings, and put your customer at the centre of the services you deliver.

But it is worth remembering that no matter what an organisation’s ‘digital ambition’ turns out to be, a failure to explore and embrace new processes, technology and innovation will mean that you struggle to keep pace with competitors.

Think ahead, think digitally.