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Business Transformation – Going beyond digital transformation

While many companies have been inspired to get started on a so-called ‘digitalisation initiative’, many have also found that it is not as easy as some ‘digitalisation prophets’ have predicted, plus the goal of realising the real value of digitalisation, both internally and externally, is quite difficult without professional guidance. The usual result is that stakeholders are questioning the point of the exercise and failing to give it their full support – a certain recipe for failure. Over 70% of digital transformation initiatives have failed, adding to skepticism, rather than focussing on how to get it right!

Our 21+ years of experience shows that this is usually because of a lack of Executive Sponsorship and buy-in across the organisation. Part of the problem is often the perception is that digitalisation is the domain of the IT department, whereas an effective digital transformation programme really needs to be managed from a business perspective, as it is the business as a whole that should benefit from the changes and improvement that are inherent in such an initiative.

The transition to full digitalisation also means more than just switching to a handful of automated processes, since a full transition or transformation of the organisation (by definition) should encompass the entire organisational ecosystem. In order to be successful therefore, this requires more than the digitalisation of processes; it needs to be planned in terms of total business transformation. Here are some key steps:

Knowing where to start is one of the biggest questions, and we suggest the following:

1) Begin by evaluating current digital maturity versus where the company needs to be;
2) Define the targets and actions required to overcome gaps;
3) Prioritise actions that will contribute the most value to the business and
4) Ensure they are aligned with the overall business strategy.

Going Beyond Collaboration

Although there are plenty of tools available to support digital workflows including ‘robotic process automation’ (RPA), they are often characterised by a low level of sophistication, and also lack the level of integration required to deliver value to the organisation as a whole.

The “business transformation” concept also goes further than the simple automation of the internal primary value chain. It requires the integration of all departments and disciplines in the company, such as product development, sales, projects, quality, IT, risk, finance, customer service etc, where every task performed is in support of, and alignment with the business strategy. It should also ideally include integration with both customers and the supply chain, as this can strongly impact relationships with both customers and suppliers, improving workflows, and promoting delivery of better-quality products and services at lower costs. Start with a pilot project to demonstrate proof-of-value, and measure gains along the way.

There are various other areas that also need to be taken into account for successful business transformation eg:

  • the integration of data and requirements of all stakeholders
  • the use of data analytics
  • employing the right assets
  • change management
  • corporate culture
  • involvement and communication with people


Without first addressing the culture of the organisation, digitalisation is futile. The primary question you should be asking is WHY? How will digitalisation actually benefit the people using it, and will it reflect the business strategy goals?

Leadership needs to begin with addressing values – not commercial values, or even the ones on the reception wall… but internal values underlying human connection are what digital integration with integrity rely on.

Digital Transformation is about BUSINESS TRANSFORMATION, changing people, culture, processes, and using integrated information in real-time. New Age technology requires Re-skilling, Up-skilling and knowledge transfer from partners of excellence, experts in their field.

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