The Secret to Digital Transformation Success Is in the Planning


Digital transformation is not just a buzzword — it’s a survival strategy for businesses in the 21st century. It may involve digitizing your current business processes or adopting new digital models, such as shifting to a hybrid work model or cloud computing.

No matter the details or logistics, the goals of digital transformation are to help organizations stay relevant in today’s technology-driven society, remain competitive in their industries, and increase profitability through more efficient processes and improved customer satisfaction.

In addition to business processes, other key pillars of digital transformation are:

  • Customer experience
  • Unlocking business value through efficiencies
  • Partner connections across your supply chain
  • Data and artificial intelligence
  • New business models
  • Industry disruption
  • Security
  • Collaboration and modern work
  • Sustainability

Assessing the facets above will help you find areas of opportunity as you begin the digital transformation process. Ready to get started? Not so fast.

Why you shouldn’t jump right in

Before you purchase a new widget or piece of software in hopes of digitally transforming your organization, you should have a plan.

Think of your digital transformation as a road trip. Say you want to travel from New York City to Los Angeles. If you don’t have a plan and all you know is that you need a vehicle and you want to travel west, you may end up driving a dump truck to New Jersey during a thunderstorm in a snowsuit – without enough cash for dinner.

To get to LA on time, fed and appropriately dressed, you need to map out your itinerary before you get behind the wheel. This means knowing how much money and time to budget for gas, meals and stopping to rest.  

Similarly, when working toward digital transformation, you must be thoughtful about where you want to go and how you will get there. Your economic situation must not solely dictate your budget and decision-making. And you shouldn’t sacrifice long-term solutions for short-term fixes. Otherwise, you could end up with the wrong technology, solving non-existent problems and running short on funds to make things right.

Instead, focus on outcomes and determine where you’ll get the most business value. Think about where you want your organization to be in five years so you can link digital transformation to an actual strategy and have a solid business case. Also, note that you may have to slow down to go faster.

Looking for guidance in designing your own journey to digital transformation success? Access our Digital Transformation Roadmap.

How to help ensure digital transformation success

Incorporate the following practices into your plan to stay focused on business outcomes and make success more likely.

Manage change

Prosci describes change management as “an enabling framework for managing the people side of change.” More than just a communication plan, change management encompasses all that is involved in equipping and supporting individuals in organizations experiencing shifts. 

For change to stick and result in the desired outcomes, that change must be adopted — and it can’t be adopted unless there is buy-in from employees. Effective change management only happens when it’s a team effort. To foster this buy-in, it’s important that employees understand why the change is taking place and how it will benefit the organization. It’s also critical to identify the right champions of the change, such as leaders or well-respected contributors in the organization.

Benefits don’t just stem from the proposed innovation, however. The process of change management itself also provides the following advantages:

  • It lays out clear goals, helping organizations track progress and measure results.
  • It makes employees aware of each facet of the change, allowing them to navigate it more efficiently and effectively.
  • It makes successful innovation possible, clearly demonstrating to organizations the return on investment (ROI) of their efforts.
  • It’s a process that can be recreated and easily applied in other capacities within an organization.

Keep in mind that buy-in from leadership is just as important as that from employees. It can’t be stressed enough that organizational culture is a team effort.

Provide training

Going hand in hand with change management is training.

The training process should be designed to help employees adapt to the new changes in the workplace. But it shouldn’t stop after employees successfully adopt and implement the change.

A transformation project is never done. Just as you finish one initiative, the market will change, technology will change or there will be new competitors. There may be several disruptions to your newfound transformation. Because of this, training should be an ongoing project and one that evolves with your organization.

Track progress

The metrics you track will depend on the specifics of the digital transformation your organization is striving toward, as well as the business outcomes you’re working to achieve. Those outcomes should translate to business value you can measure, analyze and interpret. You must define the business value you’re aiming for and track it to understand the impact.

For example, if your organization wants to shift to a hybrid work model, it may be important to track employee satisfaction and retention, utilization of digital collaboration tools, the ratio of planned to finished tasks and profitability as a measure of productivity — to name a few.

Another metric to monitor closely is your budget. It can be tempting to seek out a near-term solution to help your organization progress digitally, but this often leads to spending more over time because the short-term fix didn’t fully solve the problem. Instead, remember that the best way to make decisions about your budget is to have a plan.

If you’d like help creating this plan to lay the groundwork for digital transformation, reach out to our team of skilled consultants to receive an assessment of your business and technology strategy. Eide Bailly has helped hundreds of organizations transform their people, processes and technology to achieve digital-focused success.

Stay current on your favorite topics


Applicable Offerings

Take a deeper dive into this Insight’s subject matter.

Digital & Technology Solutions