Digital transformation

What I learned in 45min about “Digital Transformation”

Now that I have already told you (refer title) what I will be telling you let us start with the course overview.

The course “Digital Transformation” is designed and delivered by Peter High on the Linkedin Learning platform. It is introductory yet comprehensive, applicable to anyone and everyone. It covers relevant definitions, an overview of different stages in the transformation journey up to digital maturity, and suggests strategies for organizations to transform themselves from being Digitally emigrant to becoming digitally native.

The course answers below key questions:

Q1. What is digital transformation? How is it different from digitization or digitalization?

1.1 Digitization is the conversion of analog or physical information to a digital format. Example- Digital Newspaper instead of hard copy.

1.2 Digitalization is the use of digital technologies to improve business models and processes. Example- Use of digital data and analytics to target customers.

1.3 Digital transformation is coordinated change-efforts at a larger scale, seeping into all aspects of a business including people, processes, technologies, and matrices. Example- New York Times becoming digital-first, increasing its digital subscriptions by 418% between 2011 and 2016.

Q2. What are the different stages in the path towards digital maturity?

Stages of Digital Maturity

Q3. Who should lead the digital agenda?

The ideal leader would be the person having both external and internal charge like Chief Information Officer or Chief Technological Officer as long as they have customer-centric responsibilities. However, as companies progress towards digital maturity, having a functional head becomes irrelevant and the CEO has to be the one in charge.

The key capabilities to look for in a leader to take on the task of digital transformation are-

3.1 Organizational and change management — ability to drive the change

3.2 Digital processes- technical know-how and its relevant applications

3.3 Functional processes- know-how of operations and other core functions of the business

3.4 System Architecture- knowledge of its workings and also other tools like governance infrastructure & applications which are responsible for collecting, maintaining and using the data for digital initiatives

Q4. What are the skills required in team members?

Professionals working in this domain should possess both technical acumen and knowledge of business disciplines. They should have skills of-

4.1 Agile Development in contrast to the waterfall style of project management. And should be able to wear different hats including that of change agent, consultant, trainer, etc.

4.2 Scrum Master, well equipped to lead a project team and follow agile values while managing the productive relationships between development and product team.

4.3 Product owner in order to set a vision, develop, progress, and ensure the value is delivered at the end of the process.

4.4 User experience designer to create a different persona ( Customer & Employee) as well as clearly chart out the user journey. They need to be champions of customer experience and technology.

Q5. What are the different steps in the implementation of a typical Digital transformation journey?

Step 5.1. Identify & review the Mandate for change by doing the situational analysis and risk assessment.

Step 5.2. Develop more loosely coupled technology. As a starting point de-couple different applications to make them independent and more manageable. Deploy microservices and container technology principles.

Step 5.3. Aim to become a cloud-first enterprise given its future benefits and technological superiority.

Step 5.4. Leverage existing enterprise architecture by integrating and building upon them.

Step 5.5. Retire old redundant technology. Most enterprises fail to do so after a successful deployment of new alternatives.

Step 5.6. Standardize the new technology as much as possible.

Q6. What is the best way to plan for digital transformations?

It consists of 4 steps:

  1. Setting up a task force consisting of techies, customer champions, consultants, and fresh minds who can do extensive research and bring out the possible use cases of new technology for the organization. These can be in any or all of the following use cases — AI-ML applications, VR/AR applications, Blockchain technology, 3-D printer technology, Intelligent personal assistant, etc.
  2. Using qualified projects from step 1, work with the customers through focused group surveys and identify, customize, review and develop digital solutions. At this stage, a clear scope should be defined and project management should start.
  3. Amongst all the digital project streams, evaluate and identify the ones which have provided maximum returns, and have made the organization digitally competitive.
  4. Every 3 to 5 years, start the process again. Refresh the plan, reconstitute the task force, and set up a mission of transforming the organization from Digitally emigrants to Digitally native.

Needless to say, it was a booster shot in my progress towards becoming a future-ready and digital-first professional and I will definitely recommend the course to everyone.

Happy learning.

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Abhinav Daharwal

A data driven, retail consultant. Whimsical & Witty writer. Digital and Future technology enthusiast.