What Digital Transformation in 2021 Looks Like


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Everybody talks about digital transformation!

It is one of the over-hyped terms used by Technology Vendors, Consulting & Analyst Firms around the world. This has got many IT leaders and top management confused about what the real definition is? And how should this journey be embarked upon?

So, let’s try to first understand what does it mean? So we can move on with the application and process to initiate digital transformation in your enterprise.

“Digital transformation is a way and process to shift your enterprise from a traditional approach to contemporary and innovative ways of operating using emerging technologies such as cloud, information, social & mobility, etc.

This process is always driven by the leadership of a nation or an enterprise, may it be small or large. It involves a change in mindset, thinking, culture to foster innovation not only limited to processes but also newer ways of conducting business activities.

This is usually achieved by automation using technology and developing people and other assets to improve the experience of your organization’s employees, customers, suppliers, partners, and any other stakeholders involved, such as citizens, residents, businesses, and visitors in case of governments.

Now the important question is why would you want to digitally transform your enterprise?
Nobody likes change, at least in organizations because sometimes it threatens jobs and creates challenges and needless to say adds more work over your daily routine, which is why most people don’t want to go through change.

However smart managers and top management in commercial and government enterprises have realized that there are small and nimble organizations creating products and solutions, which might in some cases threaten a large organizations foundation, business models, products, and services and these new entrants are creating divergent ways of achieving the same outcomes with fewer resources, better response and cost-effectiveness for your demanding customers, partners and other stakeholders. If this change is not brought in the organization now, it will be too late in the next few months and years to cope with a much graver situation.

It is highly recommended that you should care about this wave because it will hit your industry sooner or later but it is inevitable, as we are already witnessing it in the education, travel, telecom, and financial industries.

How To Get Started?

Understanding Your Organizations Key Objectives & Drivers:
Yes, we all know what our organization’s vision, mission, and objectives are, but very few CxO’s & Technology Leaders can confirm that our everyday work is scheduled around achieving those objectives. How much our teams and people on the ground know and care about them? What is our management trying to achieve?

Many such questions need to go in a well-documented format that works for you and your organization. We recommend carrying out a stakeholder analysis to understand your management’s challenges and the opportunities they see in the future for your organization.

Understanding the Gaps & Poking Holes

Once you have conducted a stakeholder’s analysis, it is important to get a grip on the gaps they are talking about and the challenges the management faces to make relevant decisions. As an addendum to this document, we would also recommend you to go and speak with the teams on the ground who work closely and directly with your customers, partners, and all relevant stakeholders.

This will not only give you a management’s view and opinion but also shed light on-ground realities, as seen in some cases they are opposite and you don’t want to leave it to a chance for later that they are both different and your analysis was flawed in the first place.

Making the Case

This one usually is the tricky part, where you have to make your case watertight and present it to the management & the board in why and how important is digital transformation to executive leadership and the enterprise. You can always involve a consulting firm to help you collate global and regional examples from and outside your industry to make your case stronger and effective.

Opportunity Analysis

Hopefully, your management understands the importance of what you are trying to bring to the table, which will lead you to a ‘deep dive’ analysis of opportunities for growth and results around digital transformation initiatives.

Remember, digital transformation is a long process and is ever-evolving. Organizations that take this journey need to understand that there will be large investments to be made from a financial standpoint, human resources, and time to achieve different facets of your digital journey.

In this phase you need to come up with ideas, projects, and initiatives that will affect your organization’s challenges observed in the analysis, these can be anything ranging from improving customer experience to increased revenue and profits, to enterprise security and the list goes on.

Every Organization even in the same industry vertical has its unique challenges and opportunities, so be aware of the copy trap most organizations fall into while evaluating and prioritizing their business-led technology initiatives /projects.

The Digital Transformation Roadmap

This is where you understand each department and process in your organization to evaluate the importance of transforming the traditional ways of operating. Based on a comprehensive and long enough analysis you need to development of a 1-3-5 year roadmap, matching digital transformation efforts with business goals and priorities.

In simple terms, it means prioritizing parts of operations to be undergoing this change.

Assessing Internal Technology Maturity & Confidence

One of the crucial steps is to assess the maturity of your IT department, IT Operations, Technology, Skills & people in parallel with the above activities. This will not only enable you to understand risks flowing from the IT Department but also help you be ready for this transformation going forward. This activity can be completed in multiple ways using benchmarking and internal analysis methods.

Persistent Audit

A continuous audit process needs to be in place for all the existing efforts, resources, technology, and projects which have been prioritized as a part of the 1-3-5 Years plan of digital transformation.

Separate teams from the IT Departments need to be in place working on these projects with allocated KPI’s and reporting structures, so your management is aware of the progress and different milestones you have communicated in the digital journey presentation and business case.

Leadership Expectations

Change management and communication strategy need to be in place to set the right expectations in the organization, with employees, middle and top management. This will help you align internal executives around the value of digital transformation continuously.

All the above steps are a generic structure to follow while you go through a digital transformation process, but every organization like every individual is unique to its abilities, strengths, and weaknesses both internal and external, and the process may widely vary based on it.
However, it is technology, digital, and top leaders’ role to find the most optimal way to carry out this crucial activity in a post-pandemic era.

Sharekh Shaikh, Mr
I’m the founder of CleverX, a San Francisco-based, AI-powered platform that makes it easy and affordable to find, collaborate and work with the world’s leading industry minds. I write about startups, technology, and remote work.


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