Think SMALL to make big digital transformation impact

Digital transformation can be daunting.  Simon Kent says that by starting small, IT leaders can deliver short-term wins which lead to long-term cultural change.

ITSM professionals running large, ambitious digital transformation projects must start small if they are to deliver the IT business value demanded by the business.  Analyst IDC says that successful digital transformation programmes begin with smaller, agile projects which build much-needed confidence before digital transformation can scale across the business.

IDC defines digital transformation in a refreshingly simple way: “requiring business and IT to work together towards shared goals.”  I like this approach because it distils the value of digital transformation into something tangible.  IT often loses sight of its aims and by keeping the purpose of digital transformation simple and achievable I believe it has a much better chance of succeeding.

IDC also suggests that focusing on customer experience is a great starting point for digital transformation projects.  Again, I second this approach because working on customer experience means it’s relatively easy to see where IT and business can deliver shared corporate aims.

Customer experience is recognised as a competitive differentiator – perhaps even the key differentiator in the digital age.  Many disruptive businesses, such as Uber, Airbnb and Amazon have altered their competitive landscape by using technology to transform the customer experience.  Of course, these are extreme examples, but customer experience undeniably has a massive bearing on the success or failure of a business.

Businesses are increasingly defined by their technology.  How easy is it to find and use the website? Is the app intuitive and does it offer value?  Does automation help or hinder business processes? Does IT help employees work more effectively and creatively?

IT leaders can prove their value by improving these mechanisms and that is one of the key tenets of digital transformation.  However, rather than the daunting notion of trying to change the business overnight, the correct strategy is to focus on one area and build slowly. 

Digital transformation is about improving one thing, fixing one problem, or making one procedure work better than ever before.  Once it’s been achieved once and the business sees it happening, it’s much easier to replicate, multiple times and across the business.

Given the ambitious scale of digital transformation, it may seem a contradiction to think small.  But logically, this is exactly how IT will begin proving its ongoing contribution to the business. 

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