January 23, 2017

Will this be the year that your digitalization initiatives will succeed?

Anders Huldén

Concept Owner for Transformation, Tieto

For organisations to succeed with digital initiatives, it is important that executive management and business leaders take ownership of the digital agenda, create a baseline and a common language. Why?

With the majority of business transformations we find that entities within an organisation have different suppositions related to “Digital”. These differences are due to legacy, business or middle-management views. For some, digital is about entirely new business and organisational context. For others, digital is perceived as a new way of engaging with customers, for others still, it may be all about technology. With this in mind, the need to set a baseline and a pertaining story in order for management to be aligned, will be key to success.

Let´s sort things out:

To be able to apply the appropriate skills and tactics for the initiative at hand, we need to realise that digital initiatives originate from one out of three perspectives. From a managerial position, whether you are an executive manager or a business stakeholder, there is a need to establish and communicate a baseline in order for the digital initiative to support a perspective.

A digitalization agenda is set to provide capabilities out of the following business perspectives:

Support the new: If your aim is set on finding new revenue streams, transforming your business with new interfaces, business models, ecosystems and partners, you will need to focus on strategy, skills and environments supporting business to the likes of a start-up.

Add to present: Adding capabilities to make intelligent decisions and grow existing business patterns. Enables added value and service to your customers. This perspective includes digitalization efforts in order to provide foundations and capabilities for such as connecting existing revenue streams, services and products to the Internet, exploring existing customer data and using data to make business decisions. Phenomena such as Business Intelligence, Data Mining and Internet of Things are often imminent in this perspective.

Restructure the existing: Initiatives focusing on what you already do, and then doing it even better, will include digitalization efforts to support and provide foundations such as: organisational capabilities, business imperatives and new or improved processes supporting the “on-demand” and “always-on” transformational landscape and business context.

The transformational essentials

By now, you will realise that a majority of digitalization efforts are transformative – either for your organisation, for your business, or both. So – how do you launch, drive and sustain the needed transformation?

It is important to make the targeted business (and/or organisation) aware of the need to transform – and it is equally important to keep the outline and take ownership of the initiative - that is why upper-management will have to launch the initiative. By doing this right, you will create a desire at the targeted business to move ahead in the right direction.

When there is a shared leadership view established out of the above perspectives, you will have a better understanding of the needed capabilities in terms of driving transformation - and the promises to succeed in your efforts increase plentifully.

To prevent the business and/or organisation from reverting to old habits you need to establish mechanisms for monitoring, recognition and celebrations. Reinforcement through positive recognition is a model approach to sustain transformation and make the change stick.

From a managerial perspective it is wise to remember that transformation is always managed top-down in an organization. A transformation initiative running down-up is very much like a revolution (or a mutiny), and is probably not according to your intentions.

So, by taking the above into consideration when initiating your digitalization efforts, you are on your way to success!

And, finally, we all want to initiate and drive transformation based on our own agenda and strategy. If your transformation efforts are initiated by competitors, then you are probably at the verge of being disrupted.

Have a look at our whitepaper Your journey into the heart of digital.

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