Numerous strategy firms are offering digital transformation services, but in reality are only offering recommendations. Look for firms that can grasp the strategic vision, architect the solution, deploy the application to the cloud, and support the inevitable changes your business will require. These are full-service firms. Steer clear of deliverables that only include PDF reports documenting current & future state diagrams and powerpoint presentations documenting their findings. Recommendations do not equal results.
Once you decide to invest, appoint key personnel from the leadership team to advise on the project / program. Empower them to make design decisions or set up a committee of knowledgeable personnel who understand the business needs the IT solution will address. By setting goals, assigning personnel, and agreeing on delivery dates - your team can accurately track if the initiative is on target which will reduce the risk of failure.
Don’t silo your teams, strategic project management keeps project objectives aligned with corporate goals.
Each part of your business provides necessary value to the organization as a whole. It is important they coordinate efforts (i.e. row together). Read more about project management.
While building in-house capabilities is an option, you do not have to go it alone. Look to partner for capability and capacity.
If your business lacks the technical skill and / or budget to build out IT infrastructure, database management, and software development capabilities; consider strategic partnerships. For around the cost of a full time employee (FTE) your business can deploy innovative applications that streamline productivity, provide new services, and possibly transform your business model.
Believe the hype that cloud technologies can scale to support top & bottom line growth to leapfrog the competition.
Earlier this year, Amazon Web Services (the undisputed Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) leader) reported approximately a $12 Billion / year run-rate. This is significant because it demonstrates businesses of all sizes are capitalizing on cloud investments via Amazon’s infrastructure. If you have identified a need (i.e. a problem or process that costs the business thousands to millions of dollars in lost productivity), but lack the organization skill to implement an IT solution; a strategic partner who provides the results as-a-service can support top and bottom line growth to leapfrog the competition. Thousands of users are already recognizing these benefits.
Think big - play offense.
An HBS study on digital transformation strategies found that incumbent companies are losing market share because they are playing defense.
For companies committed to transforming and adapting, the key is to make sure that their strategy really is transformational and not just a bundle of cost-cutting measures. Our data shows that, while digital attackers often enter markets with a platform-based business model, only a handful of incumbents have done so. In effect, incumbents are losing because they’re playing defense. For companies looking to successfully ward off digital disruption, they have to play offense.
- Harvard Business Review - Jacques Bughin & Nicholas Van Zeebroeck
Start, structure, then scale.
Remember - a “big-bang” approach means big risk! Multi-year implementations are a thing of the past. To begin adopting cloud into your organization you must start, structure, then scale. IF you lack the capabilites, look for full-service firms that have a credible track-record.
Start with an isolated project that will provide value when executed, and communicate your long term vision. A strategic partner who understands cloud technology will explain when to buy, where to build, and should communicate a clear, phased approach to execution. Read this brief on when integration makes sense if you are interested in leveraging existing IT-investments.
People & processes are the biggest challenges, the technologies are proven.
From media to manufacturing and everything in between - cloud technologies are providing value to virtually every industry. The biggest challenge is getting the people and processes in place.