The term “digital transformation” is an increasingly hot topic among executives in almost any sector. It often stirs feelings of anxiety or fear… Is my company capable of going digital or will it just succumb to new competitors? Will my career be derailed if I don’t update my digital skillset? Many people choose to elude responsibility, blaming factors such as their organization’s slowness, fear of cannibalization, lack of resources and missing talent. Yet nearly everyone feels a personal need to transform his company.
It’s a colossal challenge. Entire industries are impacted by this unstoppable phenomenon of digitization as executives seek guidance on where and how to get started. What steps have the most successful companies taken in their digitization process? Can we learn from the missteps of those that have come up short? Are there best practices that can show the best way forward? In short, How do we get the ball rolling on digitization?
To answer these questions, Luis Ferrandiz (Partner, KPMG Digital Services) and I have developed a model called “stairway to digitization” that aims to provide an ordered structure to something that often gets muddled, perhaps due to information overload and the rapid rate of change. The model is designed to arrange the elements and key phases of digitization at each step of the way, and identify what stage your company is currently in and what factors might be stalling your digital transformation.
To that end, we determined three steps that the company must get past.
First, deeply understanding how the market is changing and how this change will impact the firm. If managers do not have the ability to read the signs of how customer’s needs are evolving, and how the market is re-shaping itself (new competitors, new collaborators and a new context), they will not be able to start the digital transformation well.
Second, getting senior management to fully commit to the transformation. We called this phase “digital commitment”, and we have identified four key factors to measure commitment: having the right leadership, building a good long-term strategy, establishing an innovation mindset and, finally, securing the right investment for the many initiatives that will have to be undertaken.
The last step is about executing the digital transformation roadmap, understanding the five essential levers for doing it the right way: culture and talent; digital assets; processes; data and analytics; and IT-business alignment.
The following figures summarize our model, that we plan to publish soon at IESE Insight Review.