Business Transformation

Why Exceptional Leadership Matters in Digital and Business Transformation.

The role of the CEO in digital transformation means rethinking business models and technology.

Typically, in leading business and digital transformation, a leader will require certain traits to achieve transformation success. An opportunist, forward-thinking, the ambitious risk-taking leader will be adept at taking on the role of leading an organisation through change, providing excellent communications as to why change is happening within an organisation helping individuals understand why change is necessary.

The most challenging part of all is working through resistance to change within an organisation.

Leading digital transformation requires a shift in mindset.

The leadership series by EY pdf is an excellent read and an excellent place to start for digital transformation. The document details what a leader should focus on states that reviewing the competency framework of an organisation is essential.

What makes someone a good digital leader?

The Gov.UK blog answers this question well. In essence, people are fundamentally an essential part of digital transformation.

Does digital transformation have a different meaning every time you read about it, buzzwords unknown to you?  

Microsoft defines digital transformation as bringing together people, data and processes. Microsoft offers Dynamics 365, which empowers customer experience and provides deeper customer engagement. You can get an overview of Microsoft Office 365 Dynamics here. To engage with your customers, you need an organisation with strong leadership to change the way the organisation is currently working. A growth mindset instilled within an organisation will create a culture of drive and ambition.

As technology disrupts the business in a constant change of the digital era, continuously keeping up with what’s going on can be difficult. Sustained growth can become somewhat sparse.

A different perspective in the eyes of many CEO’s and leaders can easily mean different things about digital transformation. If confusion within an organisation has something to count for the digital transformation can fail miserably.  

Digital transformation can look very different in every organisation, and every organisation is at varying stages of its transformation programme. As you can imagine, it’s much easier for startups to build an agile business than a large organisation with legacy systems trying to adapt and change. However, placing the right people in teams, including the right leaders and CEO’s within the organisation is a great place to start — the same for both startups and large organisation.

The growing gap within this sector is finding consultants who have ample business experience combined with technical expertise. It can become overwhelming at the rate at which technology is advancing with buzzwords such as IoT, AI, and machine learning, which can be challenging to understand in the context of business. If leaders are willing to become more risk-averse then using these technologies in business operations, if done correctly, may have a considerable impact on costs and productivity.

Well, it’s such a broad scope that digital transformation is business change within an organisation to produce better outcomes using digitisation, ultimately having a customer-centric approach.  

Digital transformation is rapidly changing over the years as we’ve seen. Focusing on customer value propositions is vital, yet digitisation is a challenge overcoming organisational culture issues becoming the biggest obstacle in organisations.

Another great article on Why effective leadership matters state that change starts with the leadership team as we’ve mentioned above. As it is becoming apparent we realise that digital transformation requires influential leaders with traits and competencies, which drive the necessary changes needed for successful transformation. The change comes about from external factors such as shifting markets and disruptive technology.

Empowering teams and employees

So the digital transformation journey begins with the leadership team. The initial early stage of adoption in digital transformation is a crucial part of the CEO’s role. Set clear objectives with a vision that is understood within and throughout the organisation will lay the foundation for successful transformation.

Reviewing business processes.

Leveraging new opportunities and reviewing business models as new technologies become available, ensuring that the culture and mindset of the organisation align with the strategic business objectives.

Mastering Technology

Furthermore, CEO’s should look to explore new ways of working if current methods are not working with technologies such as AI. Include improvements in mobile working, automation and data in the digital strategy. CEO’s should look to be utilising their in-house IT department and integrating technology in every aspect of the business.

Learn to get it right, taking risks and failing if you have to.

Digital transformation is a constant change; in most cases, CEO’s ensure that the transformation is risk-averse and on budget. However, evolving as an organisation is paramount to ensure the longevity of the organisation and taking risks is crucial, especially now more than ever. We have the technology to do what we need to do, but we are still holding back to truly transform what needs to become a reality realising the full potential.

Ongoing, excellent communications and collaboration within teams are pivotal to success.

As McKenzie states, building a culture of constant change will revolutionise your organisation.

Our blog post on How fostering a growth mindset will cultivate a company’s culture to digital success looks at examples of brands like Nike, McDonalds and Walt Disney. These brands have developed a growth mindset culture, which is essential to an organisations success. Digital Transformation requires growth mindsets and influential leaders who can define an excellent digital transformation strategy.

A growth mindset is essential. You may have undergone digital transformation in your organisation or currently experiencing change from digital processes and digitisation, but some digital projects may not have gone to plan or on budget due to people problems and issues. Culture seems to be a real issue. Changing existing organisations which have been running for many years in a set way with the same management style and leadership may not be suited to digital and business transformation. Resilience to change can become an obstacle. It’s apparent, organisations require a new perspective and drive if they are to be successful in delivering business digital transformation and look for external expertise is the way forward.

What does a digital transformation leader/consultant do?

The process starts with reviewing your existing organisation, and digital transformation consultants take a look at your current setup within your organisation. The digital strategy is devised working closely with the CEO, and a digital transformation board and the team is established to deliver the digital transformation.  

Digital leaders work closely within organisation teams, delivering workshops, help organisations understand digital and change in the context of your business.

A Digital Transformation Strategy that’s right for you.

Getting your digital transformation strategy right is pivotal. To ensure success, start by answering these questions:

Is our organisation culture right for sustainable change?

Do we have a growth mindset?

Do we need to replace our existing technology?

Do we need to bring in external digital transformation consultants who can help define our digital strategy?

Have we the right skills in house to deliver the transformation programmes or do we need help from businesses who offer transformation services?

Do we have an agreement within our leadership team?

Does the vision of the organisation align closely with the digital strategy?

Challenges include integrating systems to allow data to flow in one central place to data analysis.

Digital transformation is a company-wide programme. McKinsey Digital Transformation 3 Steps to Success explains the main pillars that need to be addressed for Digital Transformation to work successfully.

McKenzie states that Digital Transformation requires commitment from management and senior leads in order of transformation to be successful. A great read so ensure you take a look here: The Roadmap to Digital Transformation

In our experience of delivering change within an organisation, we’ve found that it’s better to recruit external consultants who have experience in change management and driving and accelerating projects and programmes to deliver digital successfully. Sometimes, internal issues can hinder digital transformation or even halt them. The expertise of delivering transformation services lies between strong business acumen coupled with technology insights. Our consultants tend to provide a clear set of the objective from the outset.

In summary, CEOs and leaders should be prepared to take risks and be more innovative to change and adapt to digital. Leaders are very good at recruiting the right talent for the right roles and in most cases, bringing in external consultants who have proven the experience of delivering change projects and programmes. A result driven approach will ensure that digital transformation is successful. Carefully monitoring and reviewing the change will ensure a smooth delivery. However, remember, digital transformation is a journey and not a one-off project.

Digital Transformation Examples

Guardian News and Media had operating losses in revenue triggering business and digital transformation. The change was necessary, and KPMG helped Guardian plan and implement a vision that was organisation wide. Although Guardian had a 5-year strategy, they were unable to take ownership and get the buy-in from stakeholders and teams. You can download KPMG’s Guardian case study Embracing change with a new operating model

Nike introduced the new Nike Plus Membership giving its members a lifestyle shopping experience. Think of it as an extension to the Nike Website and App but a more customer-centric approach.The capability of accessing and tapping into new data streams from their customers to further define the successful customer experience and improve the service that Nike offers is a win-win for both Nike and their customers.

An article by Nancy Luna about AI Powered Menu Boards explains how McDonalds is changing the way it’s interacting with consumers. AI Powered Menu Boards at McDonald’s enables Digital Transformation at McDonald’s

Customer personalisation was key to McDonald’s. So in turn, enhancing the customer experience.

Creativity is key to digital transformation. Initiatives that are defined by a digital strategy and set by influential leaders are communicated and driven throughout the organisation. For digital transformation to be successful, the leaders will create a digital culture ready to embrace change in the way they work.

Improving customer service with digital.

Is it all about technology?

An excellent article on strategy, not technology drives digital transformation by Deloitte states that technology is not the driving force of successful digital transformation.

Technology plays a part in digital transformation but its not the underlying success factor in a successful digital transformation programme. All areas of the organisation require improvement using digital and enhancing business processes. Mostly, it’s all about the customer. Improve your customer service through digital, and your organisation will run seamlessly.

However, it’s not as simple as that.

Improving productivity with cloud technology

Cloud technologies adopted improve efficiencies and productivity within an organisation, but there are so many advanced technologies it can become challenging to choose what’s right for you. To mention great collaborative tools.

Office 365 is excellent for productivity and collaboration.

Cloud-based apps allow your staff to access desktop applications like Word and Excel through their browser on their desktop as well as on their mobile devices. Office 365 improves flexibility and can allow staff to work from home or anywhere else. Apps such as Skype, teams and SharePoint allow for staff to collaborate regardless of where they are making it easier to chat and work.

Google also has excellent cloud-based tools, and we are all familiar with Google Drive and Gmail. Smaller businesses tend to go with Google products as they are much affordable.

Digital Transformation within a startup versus a big organisation

Startups are agile and can move fast. Substantial corporate transformation is much trickier to get digital transformation up and running without taking too much time. The levels of energy and drive within a startup is much different from a large corporate organisation. The advantages that a startup has over a large organisation is that they can adapt to change quickly with speed and agility. They use more automation to get work done and generally can work rapidly.

Digital Transformation Strategy Consulting

This post should set you off to an excellent start, but you may further questions, and you can contact us if you require any help or assistance if you require digital transformation services or need a digital transformation strategy defined.

Our digital transformation services can help your organisation deliver your requirements and provide the change and innovation that is necessary.

To view some of our business transformation projects please visit:

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By Paresh

Expertise in Digital and Business Transformation with over 15 years experience in Technology and Business