How prepared is your organisation for digital transformation? Are you working on the cultural change? Did you set up clear and tangible KPIs to measure the progress? What about your technology infrastructure? These key questions were discussed at the IDC European Digital Executive Summit 2018 in Spain.

An IDC study on digital transformation in Western Europe shows that 18 per cent of companies today are digital transformers, and only 6 per cent are digital disruptors — a clear sign that digital transformation is challenging for everyone. Many have ventured on the digital transformation journey, but most are still exploring the digital field.

Digital transformation is not a quick fix for a problem, but instead is an on-going process of implementing a new business strategy with technological and organisational aspects, while always keeping your customers’ needs in sight.

What distinguishes successful digital transformers and disruptors from the others is the determination to fully adopt and implement digital transformation. Digital determination will make you stand out, and in the long run survive and succeed. Meredith Whalen, senior vice president of IDC’s Worldwide Digital Transformation Research, introduced a blueprint focused on building digital determination for digital transformation. Based on her research, Whalen suggests focusing on the following key areas:

  • Organisational structure and culture
  • Strategy: creating a unified digital strategy
  • Financials: coordinating the budget according to digital transformation strategy and tying digital funding to long-term investments
  • Platform: developing an integrated platform for scale



KPIs are key for successful digital transformation

To stay on track, it is vital to set up clear and measurable KPIs for digital transformation. In a quick survey by DXC Technology during the IDC Digital Summit 2018, clients reported that they are measuring KPIs such as product/service innovation, customer advocacy, employee advocacy, data capitalisation, business operation, work and labour supply, and market recognition.

So, what have some of the industry leaders achieved? Asked about a digital transformation project they are most proud of, 35 per cent of industry leaders in DXC’s survey point to a completed business transformation project, 32 per cent to a service transformation project, 21 per cent to a process transformation project, and 10 per cent say they are proud of a process-optimization project their company has done.

Here are some great examples showing that transformation depends on both technology and culture: A pharmaceutical company made a remarkable transformation of the company’s organisation, going from one with the highest IT expenses to one with the lowest in the industry. The company followed a solid digital transformation strategy that included organisational changes, strict governance, consultations with business-line leaders and employees, and a strong focus on the business goals and the needs of its customers.

One European company has developed a global open platform for international insurance business. Shipping companies are implementing augmented reality (AR) technology for maintenance projects. Industry leaders are creating digital labs where they cooperate with start-ups and customers on developing innovative digital solutions and business models. Government agencies are developing digital strategies for offering better services to citizens, using chatbots for more efficient help desk services and new, revolutionary platforms for inter-company collaborations to improve the overall level of service provided to the customers.

Even though the digital transformation hype is high, most of the companies are still in the early stages of adopting it as a business strategy and seeing its benefits. An IDC survey conducted prior to the Digital Summit showed that 86 per cent of the attendees have either just delivered first results from their digital transformation or are in the process of trying to scale the initial results to their business.

There is still time to catch up, but if you want to see results you must set a clear digital road map. Define the strategy. Implement the organisational change. Motivate your employees. Set the digital platform. Extract and use data for greater benefits. As Jan van Vonno, lead analyst at IDC, suggests: identify clear KPIs for meaningful business outcomes, optimize, simplify and automate the processes. Be truly digitally determined and stay on course.

And don’t forget to implement the right technology. Carla Arend, a senior program director at IDC, noted that business agility needs to be supported by IT agility to be impactful. As she pointed out, the digital platform is the foundation for successful digital transformation and the architecture that will need to support your entire business processes and services.

Want to learn more about how to become a determined digital transformer? Read more here on how to get the “core building blocks” for digital transformation right.