In our recent webinar, we asked subject matter experts Richard de Kock and David Cannon to answer your questions on how to manage digital transformation.

‘5 Quick & Effective Ways to Drive Success in any Digital Transformation Program’ saw attendees inquire about the value and impact of digital transformation on various industries, and in relation to several different frameworks. All in all, the intention was to describe the topic in a way that did away with buzzwords and instead focused on practical application, successful projects, and value optimization.

Here is the second round of questions asked by attendees, and what our specialists had to say based on their own insight and experience.

Zandile: How do you start to organize teams that will formulate Digital Strategy for your organization?

This is a combination of having the right roles and the right levels of authority.

First, start with identifying the appropriate level of authority.  One of the first principles of strategy is that you cannot create a strategy for something that you are not accountable for. So here are the steps I would go through:

  1. Confirm the scope of the strategy. For example:
  • If it is an organizational (enterprise) strategy, then the CEO needs to lead it
  • If you are modernizing the IT infrastructure without changing any applications or functionality, then the CIO needs to lead it
  • If you are rationalizing and migrating various applications and their functionality into the cloud, then the CIO will lead it, but all affected business unit leaders who pay for those applications need to be involved in every decision
  • If you are transforming a single business process, then the person responsible for that process must lead the initiative
  1. Separate the strategy from the execution. The CEO will lead the initiative to formulate the strategy, but they will probably not be involved in every aspect of the implementation planning and implementation. Neither will they be the project lead
  2. Key decision-makers from every part of the organization that is impacted will need to be involved in formulating the strategy

Second, look at the roles that you’ll need:

  1. We’ve already stated that key decision-makers need to be involved
  2. A project manager will need to be involved to ensure that the strategy is expressed in specific actions and initiatives, that resources for these are available, and that the work can be scheduled
  3.  An enterprise architect that understands how functionality is mapped to business outcomes so that clear before and after pictures can be achieved without losing anything that is critical to the function of the business
  4. Senior experts in the area being transformed, including business experts, technical experts, product experts, process experts, etc. However, remember that we’re defining a strategy, so we don’t want people who will keep bringing the strategy down to technical implementation details. At the same time, we need to be sure of what’s feasible and what’s not
  5. Financial management to help generate the business case for the strategy 
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Saleh: How is digital transformation affecting healthcare?

Healthcare is experiencing digital transformation the same as any other industry that is needing to reinvent itself to remain either competitive or relevant. Examples of how digital technologies are revolutionizing healthcare are provided below:

  • Mixed Reality & Robotics: Surgeons are now collaborating on surgeries with remote surgeons through the use of robotics (i.e., robotic arms performing procedures on patients while the surgeon is in another location). Surgeons are also making more use of mixed reality using digital headsets that help them view the patient while they operate while also viewing vital patient information
  • Remote Work: Many healthcare institutions have carried out medical appointments online through video chat technology. The public is also able to order home blood sample kits, DNA kits, and Wellness Kits, where they draw the required blood samples and post them to the relevant testing authority
  •  Machine Learning & AI: The use of machine learning & AI for advanced diagnosis and treatment is being used more by medical professionals to help diagnose patients more quickly and accurately

There are a plethora of innovative technology breakthroughs happening in healthcare, and the above examples may not even be that cutting edge soon.

The question is, how are healthcare organizations understanding their patients’ needs and identifying what they can do to either optimize or radically transform their patients’ experience, or even that of their medical professionals to ensure they are retaining top talent?

Jani: What are the top five templates or tools used to make transformation successful? Example of top five CSFs and KPIs

I am certain that you would likely get a different list of top five’s dependent on who you ask. Business folk and IT folk would certainly have very different views of this. The below would be the highest-level templates or tools I firmly believe you should have in place at a minimum to ensure the greatest chance of success.

I would, however, caution viewing the world of digital transformation as a list of key templates. Templates, as well as methods and approaches, are good tools in focusing the mind and helping us get jobs done, but they should not be focused on the exclusion of broader innovative thinking about what is best for your individual journey and customer needs.

This would be my list:

1.  Clear Vision Statement – It is important to ensure you have an established and compelling vision of what you are wanting to achieve through the project. It needs to articulate what the end state is going to look like. This helps people know what it is they are working towards so that everyone can be aligned and work towards the same goal. This vision doesn’t necessarily have to replace existing vision statements, although it could depend on the size of the project

2.  Business and IT Strategy (Digital Strategy) – Without a deep understanding of your company’s customers, you likely will have difficulty in understanding what jobs they are trying to get done and how you are able to add value to them in getting those jobs down quicker, easier, or cheaper as an example. You also need to have a clear understanding of who your competitors are and what they are doing so you know which threats and opportunities you need to be focusing on

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3.  Customer Personas and Journey Maps – A great way to assist in getting an essential and detailed understanding of your customers would be to create personas of your customers (persona’s help represent a market segment) and to understand the journeys customers go on to get certain jobs done. By ‘jobs done’, we are referring to the typical things people need to do, i.e., buy shoes; get help with a flat tire; purchase a TV; fix a faulty light. All of these bring with them experiences, and if a shoe company mapped out the entire journey of a customer persona, it would start from the point of them identifying they need new shoes, all the way through to how they engage to eventually purchase a new pair, and even until that new pair needs to be thrown out and the cycle starts again. A company can identify opportunities to better engage with its customers throughout that journey. i.e., How does the shoe company make sure it engages with customers the moment they realize they need new shoes? Perhaps it ensures the shoes have sensors that determine when the treads get too thin and then prompt customers that they need new shoes before presenting them with a list of options with discounts and a button to order new shoes and have them delivered. What has happened here is the shoe company now owns that customer’s entire journey and is making life extremely convenient for the consumer, which would make it difficult for competitors to compete against.

4.  Operating Models & Target Operating Models If we stick to our shoe company example and assume our shoe company manufacturers their own shoes, they will need very specific capabilities (people, process, technology, and partners) to enable a journey like the one mentioned above. We need to understand our operating models’ current capabilities for us to determine how proficient our existing capabilities are vs. what we need in order to provide the above-mentioned journey. For example, a shoe manufacturer may not have any online presence and just use brick-and-mortar sales stores with point of sales systems. To provide a journey like the one used in point three, we would need to have a development team to create and maintain the apps and websites to assist with the managing of the customer experience. We would also need to ensure we have a proficient enough IT and product engineering team to create Internet of Things-embedded solutions in the shoes that can communicate to the app. We’d also need a digital marketing department to market this digitally, and so on. By knowing what you can currently do and effectively measuring the proficiency of your current capabilities, you can define a target model to which you can then provide appropriate programs of work to drive the transition and measure progress.

5.  Organizational Change Management Plan: There needs to be a formalized and structured approach to guiding people through the significant transitions that will be experienced during a change from the current state to the target state. There will be new skills required, and some people may find they are changing their current jobs to something new. For many, these changes are extremely daunting, and they need support through this. The process needs to focus on training and coaching, management of people resistance, communication, sponsorship management, etc.

CSF’s and KPI’s are really needing to be dependent on the transformation itself. The risk of just picking from a list of CSFs and KPIs is that we stop engaging our minds on what is important. Each transformation project is going to be unique and will require very tailored CSFs and KPIs for monitoring success. I believe these should all be heavily customer-centric. Examples of some of the things that you would likely be measuring are things such as:

  • Customer conversion and churn rates
  • Technology adoption and abandonment rates
  • Customer/employee satisfaction scores (be careful with NSAT as it does not give you insight into why customers satisfaction is changing, which will make remediation interventions impossible)
  • Service/product profits and losses
  • Lead time (the time it takes from requesting to fulfillment or completion)

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Richard de Kock

With over 17 years of experience in the Service Management industry, Richard currently works for Microsoft where he has been assisting organizations in modernizing their cloud strategies, operating models, and cloud capabilities.

Across the tenure of his career, Richard has engaged organizations of all sizes across the globe in a variety of industry verticals to resolve complex strategic and operational challenges using a multitude of frameworks and standards.

Richard is an award-winning consultant who holds a Master of Science degree in Service Management from Northampton University in England and specialized in digital transformation practices and capabilities. Richard is currently authoring the ITIL 4 Digital & IT Strategy book and has co-authored VeriSM: Unwrapped and Applied released in 2018.

David Cannon

As a business executive and consultant, David Cannon has led and contributed to digital transformation initiatives of various scopes and sizes across several organizations. He specializes in defining and implementing strategies in a challenging digital world, from IT back-office to front-line business processes.

He has seen what happens when strategies work and when they don’t, and brings the benefits of these lessons to his writing and consulting work.

Over the years, David has used ITIL as a practitioner, consultant, and business executive in companies that include Hewlett-Packard, BMC Software, and Forrester. He is also the lead editor of the ITIL® 4 Digital and IT Strategy book, as well as the co-author of the ITIL® v3 Service Operation book in 2007 and the ITIL® v3 Service Strategy book in 2011.