ZDnet defines Digital Transformation (DX) as:
Digital transformation involves using digital technologies to remake a process to become more efficient or effective. The idea is to use technology not just to replicate an existing service in a digital form, but to use technology to transform that service into something significantly better.
Digital technologies are a huge part of any transformation of this type; whether the aim is to collaborate more or gain efficiencies.
Having said that, it is important that technology isn’t the only consideration; and on the radar is the need to change business processes and corporate culture.
Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, most (if not all) organisations were undertaking a DX programme, with the IDC forecasting that worldwide spending on Digital Transformation would be nearly $2 trillion in 2022 as organisations committed to DX, with companies allocating capital budget equal to at least 10% of revenue to fuel their digital strategies (2019).
Fast forward to March 2020 a unique point in time when all organisations were forced to accelerate their DX programme from years to days.
Despite the often-vast scale of the DX programmes both in terms of scope and objectives, many organisations had to adopt the Nike slogan and quite literally JUST DO IT (or attempt to do it) without being able to rely on a solid strategy and Project Management Plan.
However, this does not mean that there is no more work to be done.
Understand the gaps that covid left behind
We know that most change programmes fail to deliver to their time, cost constraints, and Return on Investment (RoI) estimations, with industry research continuing to show that many of our projects continue to become troubled partway through.
The recently accelerated Digital Transformation programmes are no different and although the right elements have been delivered in (many cases) the wrong way, it is important now to understand the gaps that have been left behind such as:
- Was the infrastructure ready for the changes made?
- Do further investments need to be made to future-proof the infrastructure?
- Have all apps and software being used been identified?
- Is there an opportunity to rationalise new apps and software?
- Have users been provided with sufficient training and on-hand support?
- Is there an Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) strategy in place?
- Are the IT policies still relevant and appropriate?
Without understanding the ongoing needs for our DX, it is easy for organisations to take the view that Digital Transformation is done, exposing the organisation to significant risk in the future. Identifying these potential risks can inform the next critical steps.
Define the journey
Although we have a part implemented DX programme, it is probable that work has been done out of order. Without correct planning, rectifying this can be costly in terms of resource, cost, and change impact. So, it is very important to define the next DX strategy focusing on the right small steps.
Transforming everything that is left to do at once can spread resources too thin, force periods of technological downtime, and result in a significant change in a short period of time, which in turn can have a detrimental impact on the well-being of team members, and a knock-on effect on efficiencies.
Before 2020, traditional Digital Transformation programmes were considered difficult to plan in their entirety due to the unknown(and unprecedented) change in the culture. As we continue to travel towards the #new normal’, some of the unknown unknowns have now been uncovered so planning our next DX programme is more informed than it has ever been.
The outstanding element that organisations must not lose sight of, is that technology will continue to evolve even as we move to the next phase of DX programmes. And so will business processes, policies, and standards.
Get enabled with technology
Considering the scale of Digital Transformation programmes and the multifaceted nature of the workstreams it’s important to use the right tool for the job. As an example, planning an Enterprise migration to Office 365 is a complex undertaking for which teams need to know exactly what steps to take when to perform them, and the resources required to successfully deliver it.
Teams should also need to be fully aware of all the inevitable interdependencies and be able to identify bottlenecks prior to them morphing into a significant issue that impacts timelines.
Despite the vision to modernise through digital technologies, many teams have no option but to utilise solutions that don’t offer the degree of visibility and control that is required to run a complex programme. Plans on Excel, PowerPoint and even on Microsoft Paint (true story!) have been evidenced, which despite enabling creative freedom, isn’t the most practical choice.
It is easy and relatively inexpensive to enable organisation and teas with the latest offering from Microsoft, Project for the Web.
It is available within Microsoft 365 and can be rolled out to the PMO or Transformation team prior to any wider Office 365 rollout, something which an increasing number of Wellingtone Clients are starting to do. This quick and easy solution is browser-based, simple to use, with a lovely user interface. It will provide teams with a best practice solution for managing their workload and a live* reporting suite for Senior Leaders to see progress, problems, and good news stories.
*based on a schedule set by the M365 Administrator
Think Past Technology
In my 2021 PMO Digitalisation article, I talk about the importance of levering our PPM Communities to bring digital PMO services to the table for PMO internal Customers.
Much of the same is true for the organisational Digital Transformation that is likely to follow over the next few years with a focus on cleaning up our tools and infrastructure to future-proof our organisations and reduce risk exposure.
Considering the technology is, however, just one aspect of future Digital Transformation programmes, with the new work economy demanding that the wellbeing of our people is considered as further changes are planned.
Focusing on people can encompass several elements that must be planned into the DX programme and future blueprint including but not limited to:
- What change management approach will support users best
- Communications plan that support pre, during, and post changes
- Virtual versus in-person events for familiarisation and collaboration
- Setting up (or revisiting) the remit of the PPM Community of Practice to deliver various learning opportunities
- Is the PMO Service catalogue fit for the purpose
- Availability of Champions that can support people on a day-to-day basis
- Consideration of the level of change teams can bear
- Digital over-connectivity
All of these considerations require thoughtful planning for the next steps of a Digital Transformation. Ensuring that those impacted (especially if geographically dispersed) feel considered, listened to, and part of the solution.
People are always the most complicated part of the change. They are difficult to quantify, get annoyed when you try to measure them… And there are so many of them.
It is human nature to have a distaste for change, especially when one feels like the last person to find out something important. As part of the next step in a Digital Transformation, Leadership and PMOs should encourage their teams to develop resilience through investment in their development, coaching, mentoring, and community events.
Watch this short video from the IPMA Best Practice Week which explores resilience, and some tactics that you can use to start to plan your journey to resilience.