10 best practices for any digital transformation program

15 September 2020 Consultancy.asia 6 min. read
More news on

While digital transformation is key to staying competitive in today’s rapidly digitising business environment, its implementation can be tricky and overwhelming. A new report from Golden Equator Consulting lays out ten best practices that can ease the process.

Somewhere in the last decade, technology went from a tool that could simplify operations to a philosophy that could improve and enhance every aspect of a business – from automating repetitive tasks to using analytics as a benchmark for new products and services. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. What followed is a flurry of investments, as organisations pushed to reinvent themselves for the digital age.

Today, businesses still grapple with their tech investments, seeking maximum value for money. “Every organisation is different and there really is no “one size fits all” approach,” explained Meredith Carson, Managing Partner at Golden Equator Consulting – a Singapore-based management consultancy.

Digital transformation is challenging for most businessesFinding the right formula is complex, and presents challenges. In fact, Golden Equator Consulting's report reveals that nearly 90% of all organisations face “huge challenges or challenges to a certain extent” when embarking on their digital transformation journey. Only around 10% report that it is not challenging, and a meagre 3% have actually completed a company-wide digital transformation initiative while reaping the pre-targeted benefits.

Digital transformation best practices

As businesses work to overcome these barriers, here are ten best digital transformation practices put forth by the experts.

Know yourself
Step one is to get to know your business, and its specific digital needs. “Understand the current business landscape and your business value proposition,” explained Carson. For her, this means really nailing down the specifics.

“Start by examining existing processes, identifying areas for improvement and defining requirements that should be fulfilled.”

Understand your customer
Customers are far from fixed entities, and can be highly changeable in their preferences in priorities. “Find out what they need and want, as well as their motivations,” suggests Carson.

In today’s market place, this can be a full-time job in itself, as needs and wants change by the day. Making sure that your offering is the best out there brings us to Golden Equator Consulting’s next recommendation.

Understand the marketplace
“Find out who your potential competitors are, what they offer, and the service/product gaps your businesses can plug,” explained Carson.

After all, the goal is to gain the competitive edge in the market, so knowing what your competitors are capable of can be critical.

Take stock of resources
Of course, tech investments should fall within the means of a business, and need to allow time for returns to emerge.

Carson suggests asking yourself one central question: “How much time, talent and cash can you dedicate to developing and marketing your service/product?”

Do your research
Once you have a clear overview of your business needs, customers and resources, it’s time to find the best solution for you. Key is to familiarise yourself with all that the digital landscape has to offer. “Assess options and think big,” is Carson’s advice.

Best-practices for Digital Transformation, Integration and Optimisation

Evaluate carefully
Seeing what’s out there is one thing, but taking your time to select the right solution for you is equally important.

“Shortlist and evaluate solutions, then select one that best meets your requirements.” Golden Equator Consulting doesn’t just limit this to the current needs of your business, but your future needs as well.

In some cases, this will mean foregoing one solution for another – or “choosing your battles,” as Carson puts it. "Rather than expecting a 'silver bullet' solution, be selective and deliberate in your approach.  

Establish strategy and tactics
Once the solution of choice has been identified, it’s best to have supporting factors in place.

“These can include product/service development timelines, sales and go-to-market strategies, as well as regular progress reviews.”

These should be clearly aligned with a business case. “Never go digital for the sake of ‘going digital’,” stated the report. “Instead, ensure that your stakeholders are clear about the objectives, investment, process and the desired outcomes.”

Educate end-users
“From the get-go, educate your end-users about the solutions – as well as the rationale for implementing the solutions – in order to ‘ease’ them into using the new solution. Engage their expertise in reorganising affected business processes and encourage appropriate behaviours for proper usage,” said Carson.

Measure efficacy
The success of the solution needs to be monitored in real time. Carson: “Use various objective metrics in order to evaluate the efficacy of the new solution at various, set intervals.”

Conduct an internal technology audit
These measurements can be used to inform a periodical tech audit. “Establish and map out which areas of your business create digital bloat, as well as where potential efficiencies can be realised.”

Steps taken to drive digital initiatives

Preparation and commitment

So these ten practices can improve the efficacy of tech investments, and subsequently the effectiveness of digital transformations. That being said, Golden Equator Consulting points out that digital transformation is not just about strategy and products; it’s also about people and culture – two factors that ensure that digital change is embedded in the new way of working.

Implementing an effective digital transformation strategy is about commitment to the cause, which is still lacking to some extent. For instance, only a third actually have a dedicated leadership position – such as Chief Digital Transformation Officer – in place to drive the process.

Even a dedicated digital transformation team features in well below half of all organisations. Other key components in the process such as a clear transformation timeline, a policy document, resource allocations, collaborations and expert onboarding are all realities in around a third or less of all organisations.

For Golden Equator Consulting, this philosophy and commitment needs to change in order to drive successful transformation.