Skip to main content

Digital Transformation

Top 5 Digital Transformation Best Practices: 4. Organize

Work_with_Our_Team_landing_page_shutterstock_350Don’t forget the other parts of this series:

  1. Gain Insight
  2. Vision and Goals
  3. Culture

In some ways, this topic is related to culture and highlights that so much of digital transformation does not deal directly with technology.  Our reality is that a change means dealing with people.  People organize in a variety of ways.  Those organizations have very specific explicit (bonus….) and implicit (culture) inducements to action.  Just starting down path and announcing, “Today we start our digital transformation. We are going to create the best possible customer experience.”  will do nothing if your organization remains the same.

There are a variety of things you should be doing in order to organize correctly.  Here are several thoughts:

  1. Engage leadership to understand the need and buy off on moving forward.  You cannot organize without leadership’s buyin.
  2. Review your organization and define what you need to change.  This could be organization, incentives, etc.
  3. Start small and create centers of excellence that focus on making progress quickly.  This refers to both business and IT but I’d push the idea within IT first.  You want these people focused on change and not maintaining they myriad of existing systems.

Engage Leadership

Thanks Eric Roch for pointing me to a great article in CIO Magazine about Scaling Digital that highlights this concept perfectly.

First the problem that Dave Smoley, CIO of AstraZeneca, faced:

“The reality is, we’ve got pockets of digital activity all over the place,” says Smoley, who has been CIO of the $26-billion pharmaceutical company since 2013. “Our commercial business is focused on social and content creation. Global medicine development is working with sensors and smart devices. Oncology is looking at digital injection technologies, and we have multiple groups using digital to improve the patient experience.”

Smoley loves to see all of this focus on digital, but as of yet, he sees only individual strategies. “Everyone is chasing the same problem, but we are not talking to each other.”

I love his two fold solution:

First it was about opening their eyes:

“I took the CEO and executive staff, and we spent a week in San Francisco,” says Smoley. “My CTO and I hosted the trip. We met with a bunch of really interesting cloud companies, some with products and services specifically for the life sciences.”

After meeting with some big players, Smoley and his CTO curated a half day of meetings with startup companies. “We did speed dating with a bunch of healthcare related technology companies, and our executives were completely blown away.”

Then it was about starting to organize for success:

“The Digital Center of Excellence spans the whole digital strategy piece, including social, apps, websites, devices, sensors and data analytics,” Smoley says. While the center is a business construct that stands next to IT, Smoley’s CTO is an official member of the group. “I want to make sure we’re having one conversation around what technology can and can’t do, not two. We want to avoid the scenario where there’s the digital conversation, and then there’s the IT conversation.”

You should read the whole article though.

Review Your Organization

Let’s face it, many organizations incent almost exactly the opposite results than digital agility within an organization.  You cannot get results without thinking through your organization.  I may be a little influenced by David Chapman who heads our Organization  Change Management practice but it makes a lot of sense and gets past a lot of the roadblocks we’ve faced in the past.

Sit down and do a review of your organization with someone who focuses on change management.  That way they can work through:

  • The organization
  • Communication
  • Incentives
  • How to change culture
  • etc.

From that you will have a series of recommendations you’ll put into your transformation roadmap.

Start Small

Nigel Fenwick at Forrester among others has recommended that you create a tea whose focus is on agility.  While there is some potential for the creation of yet another silo, this at least gets IT and the business on the same team pushing in the same direction.  Like AstraZeneca above, that Digital Center of Excellence or whatever you wish to call it will work on laying down the foundation, tools, and even solutions that solve your needs.

Another examples is Eric Roch’s recent post on Integration Strategy in a digital World.  He pushes agility and highlights that the heavy integration organization can get in the way of that.

So create a team, tie business and IT at the hip, focus on moving forward quickly.  Then tie that in with the other two items above…..

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Michael Porter

Mike Porter leads the Strategic Advisors team for Perficient. He has more than 21 years of experience helping organizations with technology and digital transformation, specifically around solving business problems related to CRM and data.

More from this Author

Follow Us