The Yellow Brick Road to Digital Transformation:          An Executive Guide

yellow brick river-1
yellow brick river-1-1

If your enterprise is going through a digital transformation, it may feel like you’ve been picked up by a chaotic tornado of immature IT solutions, outdated practices, manual workflows, and loosely integrated data sources. This tornado often leaves a trail of reporting gaps, costly human mistakes, and poor business agility behind it.

Where did this tornado come from? Usually, a managerial fascination with “shiny objects” and quick fixes. Just because you are “switching to the cloud” and have expensive technology, a website, and a smartphone app doesn’t necessarily mean you are on the right track.

Thinking that these steps are sufficient is equivalent to relying on the Wizard of Oz to solve all your problems from behind the curtain?

Every successful organization needs to evolve if it wants to stay successful. But digital transformation realities place more pressure than ever on executives to identify the path this evolution should take. See these discouraging statistics, for example.


survey results


What is a digital transformation?

Every enterprise will take its own unique path to digital transformation. Broadly speaking, however,adigital transformation involves

  • how a business integrates technology to change how it operates and deliver better value to its customers and

  • a cultural shift towards more agility, experimentation, and challenges to the status quo.


An executive guide to digital transformation

Identify your customer-centric transformation vision and objectives

Assuming you have already gained the full support of management, your vision and objectives must be clearly articulated in order for them to resonate with your stakeholders, customers, and employees. It’s also vital that your transformation strategy directly translate into improved business outcomes.

Here are some questions you should consider:

  • Why do we need to enhance or transform our technology right now? What areour transformation vision and objectives over the short, medium, and long terms?

  • How much of a transformation are we willing to make?

  • What are our transformation focus areas/ priorities essential to overall business success?

  • How will these changes deliver value to our customers?

  • What does digital transformation success look like?


Plot your journey with your technology partner

Oxford group survey results


Without a roadmap, your organization may be spending money on loosely coupled, siloed, or even duplicated initiatives. A roadmap is a high-level blueprint allowing you to align business objectives with digital initiatives. This plan is typically focused on short to medium term activities. When preparing this roadmap, work with your IT teams, executives, and technology partners to:

  • Assess your current state and determine your digital maturity

  • Evaluate how your current digital tools address your immediate and future needs

  • Research and analyze the market for digital technologies, platforms, technology vendors, and solutions

  • Identify realistic, achievable, and meaningful milestones

  • Identify the key people involved in the transformation and their roles

  • Identify baselines and KPIs relating to, for example, increased availability, inventory cost reduction, reactive maintenance reduction, incident reduction, customer retention, increased loyalty, etc.

  • Identify immediate steps critical to getting started


Think Big, Start Small, Act Now

Instead of attempting to execute the overall project all at once, focusing on relatively small-scale proofs of concept will save your organization significant time, effort, and money in case a certain concept fails. It will also guarantee quick feedback loops and well-identified improvement areas in larger implementations. Simultaneous micro projects will allow you to iteratively move forward towards your larger vision. Failing fast is a key to success; the faster you experience a failure, the faster you can correct for it.


Build a workforce culture of continuous improvement – “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”- Peter Drucker

Since a digital transformation is not a one-off event but rather an ever-evolving process, a continuous improvement mindset is necessary to fuel the initiative moving forward. Corporate executives and managers should seed cultural change by rewarding innovation, encouraging radical thinking, and ensuring that metrics align with customer outcomes.

Summing up, digital transformations involve multiple factors. This complexity is one of the main reasons only 3% of organizations report completely successful transformation journeys. Therefore, it’s important that businesses find the right technology partners to help them bring their visions to life.

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