Intelligent CIO Europe Issue 25 - Page 84

////////////////////// FINAL WORD The steps needed to break your Digital Transformation paralysis When you think of words that often creep into business meetings without much context or substance, Digital Transformation is probably top of the pile. Here, Tom Needs, COO, Node4, demystifies Digital Transformation and explains what yours might actually look like, as well as how to find the right path for your business. T he words ‘what’s our Digital Transformation strategy?’ are enough to strike fear into the heart of many an IT leader. One of the biggest challenges of Digital Transformation is the fact that the term has been so widely applied. It’s now something of a cliché, or as Forrester suggests, has ‘come to mean so many things that it’s almost meaningless.’ Nevertheless, it has become the driver of so much change in the global economy that it takes a brave business to not have a Digital Transformation plan. Digital Transformation is very real – figures from Gartner reveal that 79% of corporate strategists say it is ‘reinventing their business’. But what it actually means will be different for every organisation and therefore plotting the right path to achieving a shared understanding within the business and getting buy-in to a Digital Transformation plan depends on being clear on definition, purpose and constraints. Stepping back briefly from the technology helps. As the Enterprisers Project CIO community says: ‘Love it or not, the business mandates behind the term – to rethink old operating models, to experiment more, to become more agile in your ability to respond to customers and rivals – aren’t going anywhere’. 84 INTELLIGENTCIO By adopting these three core principles, businesses can begin to refine their approach and discover what Digital Transformation means for them – not for everyone else – and how to find the right way forward. That’s no easy task, but here are five further steps to think about. Digital Transformation is business transformation Before embarking on any Digital Transformation strategy, it’s vital to start by understanding your key business drivers and strategic priorities. Digital Transformation is not a technology box-ticking exercise and any strategy must focus on business objectives and explain how Digital Transformation will benefit the business. More broadly, you also need to gauge what level of change your organisation can effectively resource and drive. This is important because change brought about by Digital Transformation is so much more than technology upgrades or increased IT investment. Research published by McKinsey illustrates the considerable effort required, arguing that technology is ‘only one part of the story’. Success depends on some radical activity, from re-imagining the workplace and upgrading the organisation’s ‘hard wiring’, to changing the way you communicate. Not only do businesses need