What Is a Digital Transformation Strategy Roadmap?
By Jibility Co-Founder Chuen Seet
It may be a hot topic, but much of what you find online about the finer details of digital strategy and digital transformation is simply noise.
The term ‘digital transformation’ has been around for a long time, but it retains a firm place in today’s trending buzzwords, alongside cloud, IoT, blockchain, machine learning, etc — don’t let this devalue it.
What is Digital Transformation?
What is the true definition of digital transformation? How does it differ from business transformation? Doesn’t the latter usually involve digital technology anyway?
In general, a transformation of a business (or an area of a business) involves a holistic or broad change that alters the way the business works. A transformation is not just a technology change, nor just an organizational structure change – it impacts the people, process and physical areas of the organization.
- ‘People’ includes culture, skills, structure and capacity.
- ‘Process’ encompasses workflows, tasks, approaches and methods.
- ‘Physical’ covers geography, facilities, equipment and technology.
Transformation is called ‘digital’ specifically when technology is used to solve traditional business problems and fundamentally change the way the business (or an area of the business) operates.
The cause of a lot of confusion around the definition is simply due to the uniqueness of each organization’s situation. Every organization is different and faces different challenges, so digital transformation looks different from one to the next.
Five Key Influences that Define and Shape Digital Transformation
The strategic decisions that point the organization in a particular direction.
Risk appetite and budget
The balance between the risk of change/unproven technologies and funding.
The existing and emergent technologies that the organization can leverage to transform the business.
Pace of change
The speed of change that an organization is willing or able to undertake.
The adaptability and flexibility of the organization to change.
Why Pursue Digital Transformation?
A study from MIT Sloan Management Review and Deloitte identifies five common objectives of digital strategy:
- Improve customer experience and engagement
- Increase efficiency
- Improve business decision-making
- Improve innovation
- Transform the business
We’ll add a sixth: given the certainty that the future is digital, some organizations are pursuing digital transformation to preempt increased competition from disruptive digital technologies.
Where to Start
The starting point for digital transformation is a strategy that paints a picture of the organization’s digital vision or goal.
You probably have a general view on what the organization should look like in the future. However, before you dive into planning and executing a transformation program, you need to create a digital transformation strategy roadmap to bridge the gap between vision and implementation planning.
A Strategy Roadmap in Six Steps
A digital transformation strategy roadmap is designed to clearly answer six questions. These questions are broad, but take them one at a time – each flows logically into the next.
- Why do you need a digital transformation?
- What must you achieve in order to transform?
- What do we need to transform?
- What changes are required in order to transform?
- What packages of change should we form to execute the transformation?
- How do we sequence the packages of change over a transformation time horizon?
Examples of Digital Transformation Strategic Roadmaps
So, where do you start? How exactly do you get from those unanswered six questions above to a completed roadmap, like the one below?
We have a couple of walk-throughs for how to build a strategic roadmap for digital transformation, with our most popular featuring a manufacturing example.