Planning for digital transformations


With customers’ expectations rising for short, sharp and digital transactions, many organisations are implementing digital transformations or customer-focused journey plans.

The reasons can vary from one-upping the competition becoming bigger and bolder, keeping up with customer expectations, or even just needing to do more with less in an era of fiscal uncertainty.

There are even memes about digital transformation. One doing the rounds was about the taxi industry’s inability to innovate killing its business, instead of the usual scapegoat, Uber. Agree or disagree with the meme, a focus on putting innovation and digital first is growing.

uber taxis digital transformation

As the need for digital transformation grows, so does the need to look at the process in bringing these ambitions to life. To truly transform an organisation, you must plan out the entire journey. This includes having a vision for a successful endgame in mind. The organisation’s direction and the project’s ambitions should fit together seamlessly, creating an overarching strategy and journey map.  

There is plenty of talk out there about the change journey, steps you should take, the way you should communicate... What if we focused on the process of planning the digital transformation and how the project team can take the organisation on this journey?

When you start a new business, a smart move is to use an 'Incubator Space’ or ‘Business Accelerator'. These spaces give your business access to the technology it needs to kickstart innovative thinking. They also give you access to specialists who know exactly how to grow your business. Cool concept, right? The Melbourne Innovation Centre is a great example of Incubator Spaces if you haven’t seen one before.

Why not take this concept and apply it to digital transformation preparation?

Going into a training room or boardroom with all the key stakeholders is a great start, but I think you can do better. What if you had a physical space dedicated to really working out what your goals are? A space to figure out exactly how you want people to connect to the digital journey before you begin a project and how they’ll experience the outcomes you want.

You can start this process by visiting other workspaces that have implemented innovative solutions like Incubator Spaces. This is a good way of keeping up with industry trends and learning from others’ tried and tested approaches.

The challenge in doing this in isolation is that the companies you visit aren't yours. They’re going to have a different culture to yours; sure, their journey may be similar but it’s not the same. You have different sponsors with unique views, different customers, and different project history. All of these factors will influence how people feel about the project and the desired outcomes. So, while other workspaces may have a cool internal app or interactive screen, make sure you figure out if it works in the context of your organisation before implementing anything. Take inspiration, but don’t copy.

Combining these ideas so you can plan together with the right people in the right space will help set you up for a successful digital transformation. You don't need to splash out on a purpose-built room. Get away from the day-to-day grind of your business. Find a space you can go to that will give you a unique perspective - hire out a cinema, go to a lush park, tap into a local business hub. It’s important to choose somewhere that lines up with what you are trying to achieve. More importantly, tap into people who can challenge you to think differently; after all, a digital transformation is all about transforming the minds of people who are embedded in your current ways of working and thinking.

The challenge is now, who will you invite to the strategy session for your next digital project?

Rachael Meredith