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Digital transformation: 11 habits of successful teams
Say no to innovation theater. Quantify what success looks like. Encourage widespread agility. Consider these practices of teams beating digital transformation challenges
7. Proceed incrementally
“Big bang digital transformation strategies don’t work anymore; organizations need to be ready to adapt and make incremental change in response to ever-changing market dynamics,” says Sherri Brouwer, senior director of industry solutions at IT consulting and services company Avanade.
Successful teams embrace the "test, iterate, and learn" mindset across small and large products – uncovering new business opportunities, revenue streams, and changes to business processes. “Companies have to rethink now and really focus on digital transformation. Being disciplined about investing in what matters to the business and stopping everything else can create entirely new experiences and business results,” Brouwer says.
8. Insist on cross-functional approach
“Silos no longer work in a world of digital transformation,” Edwards says. Technology people and business people need to come together as one to drive toward a common business goal. “This means that those with IT roles must have a greater understanding of the business and those with business roles must become more versed in the capabilities technology brings,” Edwards says.
9. Seek to be a constantly running innovation engine
“Having sporadic ideas every so often is not enough,” says John Castleman, CEO of digital consultancy Mobiquity. “The key that leads to true transformation is having a constant churn of ideas that will help companies identify solutions.”
Those ideas are best focused on specific friction points in the value chain. “Digital transformation leaders must understand that creating an innovative culture is a precondition to success. Encouraging cross-departmental collaboration will lead to more holistic ideas that solve for the friction points from all sides,” Castleman says. “Teams should also be sure to keep ideas in perspective and process the best ideas at predictable costs to make it easier to select winning ideas and scale quickly while maintaining a realistic budget.”
10. Approach change systematically
Everybody wants change, Kelker says. But nobody wants to be changed. “Change resistance is a real and often subtle challenge to digital transformation. It’s not about launching ‘feel-good’ workshops and innovation theater.”
Analyzing processes and introducing gradual changes that show results eases users into the change is a better approach. “You don’t force the team to change,” Kelker explains. “You enable it to change itself.”
11. Put customer needs ahead of technology
IT leaders should know this one well already, but let’s re-emphasize it, since certain people in your organization may be wowed a little too much by a particular technology. “Successful businesses take time to develop a clear understanding of their customers’ needs and the holes in the value chain that this technology will solve for,” Castleman says. “After establishing the end goals, teams can work backwards to develop the technology that will most effectively transform pain points for their customers.”
The best teams involve their customers in their development and delivery process to validate assumptions and test solutions. “Allowing customers to be involved will also demonstrate a commitment to the advancement of your industry, rather than just your company,” Castleman says. “Producing truly innovative digital tools can promote cross-industry open innovation initiatives to attract ideas, talent, and potential partners.”
[ Culture change is the hardest part of digital transformation. Get the digital transformation eBook: Teaching an elephant to dance. ]