Digital Transformation is changing the way in which we are doing business and disrupting markets. Are you ready for this new world, or will you be left behind? To thrive in this new environment, you have to consider 5 key elements.

The so-called “Digital Transformation” is changing the way in which we are doing business. The adoption of digital technologies accelerates sales and the growth of the business from end to end. Are you and your colleagues ready for this new way of working and this new mindset? Come prepared and consider these 5 essentials of Digital Transformation.


1. Prepare a Clear Digital and Innovation Strategy

Define your desired goal and where you want your company to be in 5-10 years’ time. This actually is a long period given the complexity and dynamics of the corporate landscape and the rapid pace of the coming changes. Try to visualize, how your business and the relationship with your customers are going to change.

In any instance, there are two certainties:

  1. Change will happen a lot faster than you think.
  2. It will certainly not happen the way you thought it would.

But hey, those are the challenges of strategy development in the 21st century …


2. Decide on the Change Strategy

There are two basic ways you can adapt to change: the “guerilla alternative” and the “co-creation approach.”

The “guerrilla alternative” is the less cooperative form of change in which you will be the freedom-fighter who tries to overthrow the old order in your organization. So, you will explore changes in a secret compartment of your company, and though your co-workers will suspect that something suspicious is going on there, that is all they will know.

You should choose this model if there is not much appetite in the organization for change, no knowledge about change (or hardly any), a lot of resistance expected, too much company politics, and anything else that could slow you down. You might also adopt this approach when the stakes in the market are high and the pace of the organization cannot facilitate rapid innovation. When change represents real disruption and the results are potentially explosive, ditch the legacy and go greenfield/external.

Try to get some results as soon as possible. Go for the low-hanging fruit. Use these little successes as change levers for a more co-creative approach.

If there is already some fertile ground within your company, you should use a more “co-creative approach” which consists of joint teams of external and internal people. These teams should have the right mixture of sales, marketing, service, digital/IT, and product development representation.


3. Manage Stakeholders

Make sure that the most important people in your company are on board with your plans. Preferably, one or two of them will even help you affect change. It sure helps if one of those persons is influential within the company and can make a difference. All hierarchical levels are important, but without proper CxO support, things will become pretty difficult—if not impossible.

Build a growth team that will report to the CxO level. Also, make sure that stakeholders and supporters have enough stamina to finish the race. Results in the digital world are often quite stunning but also require a certain level of patience before they can actually happen. Beware of the quarterly budget costs if the pace of results gets a little bit sluggish.

Finally, introduce the affordable loss principle: How much are you willing to lose trying to affect change? Leverage limited means in creative ways to generate new ends as well as new means.


4. Get the Basics In Order

Depending on the chosen change approach (guerrilla or co-creation), you should create an adequate working method, skills and competences, structure, and mindset.

What does this mean? First, to really adapt to Digital Transformation, you need to work in a different manner. Use the agile/scrum method to learn rapidly through short, iterative cycles of ideation.

Second, take a look at the structure of your organization. Often sales, marketing, service, and product development departments don’t communicate effectively, and sometimes even obstruct each other. Try to make sure that your growth team is not slowed down too much by current, inefficient structures and procedures. Provide them with the proper tooling and train them in new skills and competencies .

And last but not least, encourage a “growth mindset” in your organization. For example, marketers should learn their own new digital business instead of giving orders and making briefings for all sorts of agencies and suppliers. But we need this from top to bottom in your company.


5. Provide Support, and Measure

Provide the right external support in the early stages. Do not create additional funds and budgets, but take it in small amounts from the current P&L. Why start small? Well, digital doesn’t need a lot of cash to prove ROI. If done in the right fashion, it will create leads, prospects, and even transactions pretty rapidly. Moreover, a tight budget creates the appropriate startup culture.

Make sure that the currency of progress is not short-term revenue or profit. It is all about learning through rapid experimentation aligned with your goals. All your actions should be measured and analyzed. Otherwise, you won’t learn anything. And without learning, you will not grow substantially.

Are you ready to face the ugly truth about you and your company? Fill out our Innovation Monitor and find out if you are on par. Or, for the real daredevils, play our DISRUPTR game with your team.

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