Igniting Digital Transformation in Your Business (Part II) – Crafting Your Digital Strategy in 2019
Following on the recent article, a fundamental shift is occurring globally that makes a digital strategy a requirement rather than a “nice to have” ad hoc technology project. With the advent of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Robotic Process Automation (RPA), it’s essential for a company to have a cohesive, integrated, enterprise-wide digital strategy in order to remain relevant, efficient and effective.
That said, the sheer scope and planning implied by a digital transformation can be utterly overwhelming. One of the first questions executives often think is, “Where do we begin? How can we formulate a strategy that can transform an entire organization?”
The Approach — from Traditional to Visionary
From the same MIT/Deloitte article  , Benn Konsynski suggests organizations should work backward from a future vision rather than analyzing current capabilities and then plotting the next steps. He suggests this because a vision, rather than individual technologies, drives the transformation process. Traditional strategies are too linear and static in an environment that is always changing.
For strategies to be flexible, agile and future-oriented, executives should create a vision with clear stepping stones or waves. Each successive evolution requires the business to go through an adaptation in order to reach the end vision .
The First Action to Digital
Transformation — Digitization
The very first stepping stone to digital transformation as a vision is via digitization. Digitization is an operational necessity because it streamlines previously cumbersome processes and enhances cost efficiency. Digitization enables an organization to convert copious amounts of information accurately, making it available and accessible in a digital format that can be used for anything from customer service to executive decision making.
Analog data will always exist to some extent, but large-scale digitization is a must for a modern company in any industry to process and leverage the massive amounts of information necessary to plan, operate and evaluate the business.
Talent Challenge — Build or Acquire Expertise?
While training is an essential aspect of the business, it’s about a longer-term approach. Hiring is ideal but any executive knows it can be quite costly due to high competition because the existing talent in this space is currently limited.
Outsourcing to partners who specialize in digitization is an optimal alternative because contracting experts help address business challenges instantly while enabling your staff the time to develop in this competency. Creating an internal Center of Excellence (CoE) takes time and while it’s nice to be able to drive digital transformation from within, beginning with a strategic partner with in-depth experience helping organizations reach their goals is a great way to leapfrog through the early growing pains.
Next Steps — Ask the Experts
Digital Transformation requires a clear vision as well as the right partner to help you achieve each stepping stone toward your goals. I recommend working with innovative thinkers outside your field of expertise to help you ideate, design and hone your digital transformation.
 – https://www2.deloitte.com/insights/us/en/topics/digital-transformation/digital-transformation-strategy-digitally-mature.html
 – https://www.weforum.org/reports/the-digital-enterpise-moving-from-experimentation-to-transformation