One of the hardest parts of going through a digital transformation is feeling like there is no real strategy to what you are doing. It all tends to seem very tactical and orientated around individual projects, without any larger vision for where the organization is going, or should be going.
That's a pretty natural and common place to be. No one ever gives or receives a directive to begin a digital transformation initiative at an organization. It happens far more organically than that. Typically, you'll realize after the fact that you are in the middle of a digital change process without ever consciously knowing it. This is why it doesn't feel strategic — because it's not.
That isn't to say that it can't be strategic.
Digital transformation typically begins with a problem, or a set of problems, an organization is experiencing. Our website is outdated. Our teams don't have the tools they need to compete in the marketplace. We can't collaborate or share information they way we need to in order to be successful. There are hundreds of these types of business problems in the world today because change happens so rapidly now, and many organizations experience several of these problems at once.
The problems are then typically addressed by a project or by several projects. We are going to build a new website. We are going to build an application that gives us the tooling we need. We are going to acquire several applications and integrate them to achieve the collaboration and information sharing we need. We needed all of these things six months ago, so we're going to do them all now.
The problem with how this starts is that it lacks a holistic view of what the problems and solutions mean for the organization and how they will impact it. Any single solution to a discrete problem your organization is trying to solve may make tremendous sense in isolation, but how does it integrate into the larger and more complex array of related problems your organization is trying to solve simultaneously?
This is where digital transformation strategy is critical. Simply stated, digital transformation strategy is a process of taking a step back from the discrete problems and solutions to evaluate the larger impact and needs for digital change in an organization. Once those evaluations are made, a larger and more thoughtfully integrated strategy for digital change can be planned and implemented.
That sounds simple enough, right? It should be, but what complicates it is the fact that at most organizations, these discrete problems aren't typically being solved by the same people or the same groups. They are often spread around the organization, and there's not one person who is clearly responsible for ensuring that there is a larger view or strategy, or that a more holistic approach is being considered.
This is where I can help. You may not have need in the long-term for a person who is ultimately responsible for holistic vision of the digital change you are experiencing now. But you do need someone with a broad set of experiences who can help your teams consider and evaluate the higher-level ramifications of the decisions you are making today.
I have worked with dozens of clients who have experienced this type of complex digital transformation, and I have witnessed first-hand the decision-making processes they have undergone to both successful and unsuccessful ends. I can help you think through the similar issues you are facing, advise on what I have seen work and why, and help you arrive at a strategic plan that feels right for your organization.