Six guiding questions for successful digital transformation
Digital change and digital transformation will intensively occupy all departments of companies in the coming years. Digitalization is no longer just the task of one specialist department (for example, a Chief Digital Officer), but affects the work of all specialist departments.
Marketing and sales, product development and production, logistics and IT, HR, and the works council: All areas of companies are involved in the digital transformation. The six guiding questions support you, your department, and your company in starting and successfully implementing digitalization projects.
They are a checklist for the digital transformation in the company. The Innolytics® software supports you, your department, and your company in launching and successfully implementing digitalization projects and keeping an eye on all projects at all times. The software is free for 6 months for up to fifteen users.
Question 1: How do you define digitalization?
You’ve probably heard this phrase before: “We do digitalization.” But what does that mean in practice? Converting existing paper forms into a digital PDF is just as much digitalization as developing digital business models to secure new revenue streams. While the former is more incremental innovation in the classic sense – a process optimization using digital technologies – the latter may already be a disruptive innovation. It’s all a question of definition. How do you define digitalization for yourself? Is your digital strategy more of a continuation of what already exists or a true innovation strategy?
Question 2: How many new digital projects have you launched this month?
The implementation of digital transformation is above all also a question of speed. Companies that actively drive digital transformation are constantly launching digital innovation projects.
- Sometimes they are smaller ones, such as the introduction of new metrics in online marketing,
- sometimes larger ones such as the development of a digital twin of existing plants and machines.
Many companies wait a long time before launching something new. The result: A digital roadmap based on only a few projects. The other areas of the company do not engage in the digital transformation in the company.
Question 3: Are you approaching your projects lean enough?
When it comes to digitalization, the old American adage applies: “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” This also means: You must not tie up too many resources per project. When developing digital innovation, the same goal can either be achieved
- with a small agile team in a matter of weeks with manageable investment or
- in a large, complicated, and expensive manner.
Sometimes there is even the digitalization paradox:
You can often achieve more with fewer resources. The larger the teams, the more people involved, the greater the costs, the worse the result can be. Not in every case, but often enough.
Question 4: How often have you failed in the past year?
This is a question that companies that drive innovation and digital transformation have to deal with. Because not everything goes according to plan. In other words: Very little goes according to plan.
- New things are tried out, but not accepted by customers.
- Ideas that sound good in theory fail in practice.
- And vice versa: What was just barely accepted in theory suddenly turns out to be a great success in practice.
In the case of digital innovations, success can only be controlled to a limited extent. The American professors Robinson and Stern once compared innovation to a large casino: You never know who will win or lose at which table tonight. Only one thing is known: If you run a casino professionally and for the long term, it will yield profits.
Failure is to innovation as rain and fog are to November. The number of your failed, terminated, or changed projects in the last year is a quality indicator that you are doing a lot. The rule of thumb is that one in ten projects is truly successful. You learn from others how not to do it.
Question 5: How widespread is digital know-how?
People often wonder why a retailer that has been successful for years can’t simply transfer its success to the Internet. The answer: Because brick-and-mortar retail and digital commerce only have something in common on the surface: Namely, the fact that something is being traded. Otherwise, building a brick-and-mortar and a digital retail business requires completely different skills.
- One needs the ability to acquire the best objects in the pedestrian zone and negotiate contracts, the other the ability of search engine optimization.
- One needs the ability to design attractive shop windows, create an atmosphere that promotes sales, stock shelves in such a way that they yield as much as possible and train sales staff, while the other needs the ability to develop automated digital processes, perform data analyses and implement systems that make individualized suggestions based on previous sales behavior.
Question 6: Are you having enough fun?
Digital transformation will only succeed if it is driven by determination, motivation, and fun. Yes, fun! Highly motivated agile teams move more than large organizations in which everyone dutifully completes their tasks.
Precisely because implementing digital innovations is harder and more challenging than many initially believe.
- Technological obstacles,
- Staffing bottlenecks,
- functions that are not adopted,
- the growing complexity of developments,
- digital marketing that does not meet expectations, and much more.
All these obstacles and barriers can only be overcome with an extra dose of motivation and with a lot of fun at work.
Innolytics® Software for Digital Transformation
Innolytics® innovation software cannot take away the hard work on your innovation projects. But at least create structure and overview. Develop new innovative ideas and approaches for your projects, evaluate them collaboratively, implement them through agile project management methods. Create your own software free of charge. Free for 6 months for up to fifteen users.