Senior Management Checklist when planning a Digital Transformation Strategy

The success of a Digital Transformation initiative depends on how well it is planned with the relevant stakeholders. The below checklist will help to ensure the stages of Digital transformation are well planned by the senior management.

  • Business roadmap first, followed by process and then digital technology to achieve the roadmap. Digital transformation should be transformation in business, enabled by digital technology.
  • Ensure the anchors/leads of the transformation initiative have at least a domain expert, a business/process manager and an enterprise architect.
  • Collaborate with business groups and have them as key stakeholders for review in the digital transformation charter. Remember a key success factor, is adoption.
  • Avoid silo initiatives on building parts of SMAC platform or initiatives focused on using a specific technology/platform/product. What is required is not separate Mobility CoE or Cloud CoE, but sub groups that work to execute tasks for a Digital CoE/Focus Group.
  • Have a broader picture when handling digital transformation. This perspective should not be limited to roadmap definition and domain level challenges. Process should look into management impacts, resource impacts, revenue impacts, stakeholder impact etc. and technology should look into latest trends, how to consolidate, how to improve security, complexity, risk etc.
  • Support from senior management is a key requirement before embarking on digital transformation initiatives. Digital transformation requires buy-in from CEO and not just the CIO.
  • Planning cycle is very important to bring in the right stake holders, working on the tasks and timelines, proper communication and time-effort commitments from the key contributors and recipients.
  • Accepting change and educating about the benefits through proper training is also critical. One of the major roadblocks in digital transformation is resistance to change. Engaging with the right stakeholders and educating them on the challenges, roadmap and benefits will help in changing their perspective. Also define intermediate milestones, which can help in reducing resistance by offering tangible short term benefits.
  • All skillsets may not be present in-house. It is a good practice to engage consultants; however the employees in the enterprise should lead and guide the overall engagement. Employees have a better understanding of what would work from a process, domain and culture perspective. Transformation Anchors who are experienced employees in the enterprise can steer the transformation team from going out of track. Also consultants/employees might leave at any point; the enterprise should minimize people dependency for successful execution of the transformation initiatives.
  • Don’t expect the strategy to be ready on day 1. Also don’t expect to have the platform or reference architecture defined in the early stages of digital transformation. Focus on problems, needs and data collection. The technology blueprint should show how it addresses the challenges and how it is scalable to meet current/future trends. As mentioned earlier the technology blueprint should not be focused on a specific product or technology.
  • Value the deliverables, responsibilities and skillset requirements in a digital transformation engagement. So avoid boutique firms and try to engage with a trusted partner for skillset needs. Start with a small team, and expand with more visibility on tasks and readiness to go in more granular tasks.
  • While problems faced by business are a key input to digital transformation, it is also important to take into consideration the current and future trends. Along with making things work better, it is also important to focus on the changing face of business, the changing usage patterns, the capabilities offered by technology, etc. in defining strategy.
  • Learn from previous mistakes. Most enterprises have attempted or embarked on digital initiatives like platform setup or Focus group setup which may have failed. Understanding what went wrong is a key input in digital transform planning, preparing the Governance model, etc to suit what works best for the specific enterprise.
  • Define check points based on previous experience, inputs from enterprises that have embarked on similar ventures, and from industry experts. Monitor the check points to ensure the transformation plan is on track, and amend it as required.

This blog presents a generic checklist. Each enterprise will also have its own unique challenges to be handled in the Digital transformation initiative. Hence those conditions should be appended to the checklist to make a customized version relevant to the enterprise for discussion and planning with the key stakeholders in Digital transformation initiative.

Looking forward to your comments.

Author Details

Jithesh Sathyan

Jithesh Sathyan is a Principal Technology Architect at Infosys. He is the sole inventor of first granted US patent of Infosys. He is inventor of several granted and filed patents. He has more than thirty research publications in popular journals, standardizing and external forums. He has also authored several books. Jithesh has rich experience leading Digital technology track (from strategy to steady state), for several digital transformation initiatives in multiple domains, for clients across the globe. He leads Cloud and Emerging Technologies track in Digital Technology Council and is the Chairperson of TechCohere (Tech focus Group) in Infosys Thiruvananthapuram DC.

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