Many organisations jump into the digital journey without planning or setting a vision for where they would like to be in the next 5 to 10 years. IDC’s research on digital transformation and the digital maturity of European organisations shows that very few companies are digital disruptors, truly succeeding with digital transformation. Most of them, about 55 per cent, are still “playing” with digital transformation as digital explorers and digital players. They have reached a certain stage of transformation, but are now facing challenges that prevent them from seeing actual results.

The webinar, “Successful approaches to your digital transformation journey”, presented by DXC Technology and IDC, examines the issue of what makes for a successful digital transformation. As discussed in the webinar, some companies set out on a digital transformation journey and thrive. Others start and get stuck. Why does this happen? What is it that the digital disruptors do differently from the ones caught in a digital deadlock?

Digital maturity of companies in Europe
Figure 1: Digital maturity of companies in Europe

Outdated key performance indicators (KPIs) are one big challenge. Organisations are trying to go digital, but they are using older KPIs. Organisational siloes are another problem. Companies still function in the traditional structure and aren’t bringing all digital resources together to transform the entire organisation. Also, many are still not looking at the long term and thinking about the fact that digital transformation means continuous change and gaining new capabilities.

There is a need for a completely new mind-set, not just using new technology for efficiency gains. Depending on how companies are dealing with the challenges and changes, IDC’s research divides them into digitally determined (42 per cent) and digitally distracted (58 per cent). What do the digitally determined organisations do to tackle the challenges and move forward with greater success than the distracted? Here are some of the key challenges companies need to focus on.

Digital road maps


Break digital roadmaps into horizons
Figure 2. Break digital roadmaps into horizons. Source: IDC 2018

Companies need to figure out what is relevant to them and prioritise that. The distracted companies don’t have a single digital road map across the enterprise. They have various digital strategies in every different line of business. Instead of having a group of loosely coordinated road maps, focus on one single road map and build a vision of how your business will transform in the digital economy.

IDC suggests thinking about use cases and sets them up in various time horizons, from ones that are feasible in the short term to some that might be wishful thinking. It’s important to have various types of use cases because what you do today will influence your long-term goals. Whatever works will scale through demand. What doesn’t work will define your next move and the direction you need to go.

Refresh your KPIs

If you are going digital, it’s time to set new digital KPIs. The KPIs need to demonstrate how you are transforming the company from every angle. So, it’s not just one KPI, but a set of them — financial KPIs, business and operational KPIs, customer-centric KPIs, KPIs to capitalise on data, etc.

Digital platforms

Digitally determined companies think about how to scale their innovation. This is where digital platforms come into play. The platform should have an intelligent core optimised to take in the data from both the company’s and the ecosystem’s processes, and also provide data for work optimisation, plus being able to apply new technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI). According to IDC research, best practices show platforms should rely on cloud-based API strategies that can orchestrate and exchange data across the ecosystem, use agile application architecture, be able to employ new customer experience technologies, and be secure.

Digital budget

Think about the budget. Most digitally determined organisations are funding digital transformation initiatives through a capital budget process. The distracted ones are using cost-cutting tactics, which is again short-sighted thinking.

Stay hungry

Successful digital companies are essentially learning organisations. They constantly get new information, learn how to adapt to it and take action. Use the data you are generating and learn from it. You might have data from your processes, customer behaviour and operations, so you need to know how to use it and take the best action, whether it’s to attract a customer or optimise your factory shop floor.

Organisations that are open to constantly learning, adopting new technologies and using them in practice are able to act much faster and in return succeed at an accelerated rate.

Change the culture, change your logic

The change needs to come from the top down and be implemented across the organisation. Commit to a culture of innovation. Invest in your employees and nurture greater collaboration. Invest in new talent. Prepare your organisational mind-set for continuous change that will deliver better outcomes. And don’t forget about your ecosystem. You can’t do and invent everything alone.

Spend the time doing the planning and involve everyone in the process before heading off on the digital transformation journey. It’s the first step to becoming determined for digital success.

To find out more about what makes a company a successful digital disruptor, check out the “Successful approaches to your digital transformation journey” webinar. The webinar is split into three sections: “A real-world view on leaders, laggards and learnings”, featuring Meredith Whalen, IDC research director; “Digital transformation: How to enable continuous change”, featuring a DXC perspective; and a discussion about what is really working in digital transformation for organisations today.