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Digital Transformation – The 12-point plan to success for an Exec to know!

18 June 2019

Digital Transformation- Planning


1. Pick your destination wisely.

Take time to decide on the scope for transformation and get help to verify it. Consider customer aspirations and competitor offerings to challenge the maximum disruption achievable for the budget available. Success is when the best outcome is achieved for the budget available. Work hard to know you are setting the correct course.

2. Form a talented and experienced team.

The formation of the team is key to success. Unsurprisingly experience is vital – who would trust key organisational change to those without experience when the stakes are so high? A mix of experience and enthusiasm maximises the chance of success. 

3. Great leadership begins during planning.

Success doesn’t happen by chance – great leadership is needed. Visible and passionate leaders can drive teams to achieve more than they think possible and provide the confidence to project teams to excel in ambition and realism.

4. Select a methodology to follow you believe in.

People worry about methodologies. Is waterfall too slow? Agile too unpredictable? Make sure you select a model you are comfortable with and be true to it. Making radical changes to method and destination when the first bump in the road is hit may seem an obvious risk mitigation but will undermine the team and reduce confidence in leadership.

Digital Transformation - Execution


5. Energise the team.

Digital Transformation projects are exciting. Transformation creates new paradigms in customer engagement and the delivery of services. Engage all stakeholders and not just the project team to make this clear. Raise the profile of team members alongside the project objectives and you will reap the rewards.

6. Detail is your friend – embrace it.

Most of the project team will be deep in the trenches making decisions on how data is gathered, enriched and utilised to support new processes. It is vital leadership understands the implications of complex decisions whilst remaining focused on the destination. Experienced business analysts and project managers should be explicitly tasked with summarising detail.  

7. Gain confidence, early and often that the quality is high.

No-one wants to explain why a green RAG status suddenly turns red the week before go-live. You need smart systems and processes to ensure quality progress is being made, not just progress. The key is to verify progress during execution and not in a single UAT phase a few weeks before go-live. Late discovered problems cost more to fix, so structure verification tasks to find them sooner as they will exist. 

8. Digital transformation is not easy – be brave.

Complex projects are risky. If it was easy anyone could do it and the rewards would be small. Good digital transformation projects redefine services and customer engagement – not a trivial matter. Project teams can lose perspective when problems arise. They need committed and objective leadership that listens to opinions but knows when to compromise on immediate priorities. Without this lots of money can be wasted.

9. Don’t re-invent the wheel.

Use specialist technology designed to solve the digital transformation challenges you face to achieve rapid ROI. Innovation and improvements are gained by how these technologies are deployed and the customer journeys they support. Building new technology greatly increases risk and with the range of options in market, there is no need to take this risk.

10. Why wait for ROI?

Take control of deadlines to decide when to commence gaining a return. If you give the team a long time-period more can be delivered, but this brings extra challenges in testing, management, and motivation. Too little time and the return may not be significant or have required quality. Good teams respond well to challenge and benefit from having the chance to frequently see their work being used. Setting achievable targets with short timescales leads to a successful culture.

Digital Transformation - Maintaining


11. Celebrate your success

Realising change is tough so delivering positive outcomes means a lot of effort has been given from all involved. It needs to be recognised, even if the initial destination is not everything hoped for. Nurturing your team by celebrating success will keep them engaged and invigorated for the challenges ahead.

12. The project is only the beginning – change is constant

Transformation is a lifestyle choice, not a one-time destination. Use the transformation culture developed to keep encouraging innovation and disruption. Your team will seek additional challenges to encourage them. If the team disbands the skills acquired will wane, and that will be a great loss to continuing success.


Anthony Murphy (CEO, Lithe)

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