Digital transformation is a concept and process that is much larger and more extensive than the collection of measures that organizations have taken as a response to the corona epidemic. It deals with the integration of digital technologies in order to bring value to customers and deals with preparing the organization for the future business environment. How do you start the journey and how do you set off without failing? The guide is according to Raz Heiferman, a lecturer in the senior management course for CIO managers
Digital transformation continues to be high on the agenda of many organizations and the subject of many academic studies and articles. The COVID-19 virus, in all its variants, has resulted in the acceleration of the transition of organizations to digital – distance teaching, shopping and e-commerce, distance medicine, working from home and more. All of these steps brought greater awareness of the use and importance of the transition to digital, but at the same time also created some confusion regarding the concept of digital transformation.
Organizations that took these steps as a quick and immediate response to the directives, constraints and closures following the virus, tend to think that they have carried out and completed the digital transformation.
But… digital transformation is a concept and process that is much larger and more extensive than the collection of measures that organizations have taken as a response to the epidemic. It deals with the integration of digital technologies in the whole spectrum of the organization’s activities, with the aim of bringing value to its customers and deals with preparing the organization for the future business environment. The actions that organizations have taken to deal with the epidemic are important steps, but are only part of the digital transformation. The digital transformation is a long and challenging journey and it is not recommended that the organization delude itself and think that it has finished it.
“The actions that the organizations took to deal with the epidemic are important, but are only a part of the digital transformation. The digital transformation is a long and challenging journey and it is not recommended that the organization delude itself and think that it has finished it.”
Raz Heiferman, a senior consultant for digital transformation at BDO Israel and a lecturer in the Technion’s senior management CIO course for CMOs, reveals to us the steps necessary to carry out a digital transformation: the world is changing rapidly and one of the forces causing the changes is the digital force, a force that has brought about a tremendous wave of innovation, business models new and new forms of doing business. Digital transformation is a term that describes the broad set of changes that the organization must make in order to face and leverage the new opportunities and at the same time deal with the risks of disruption that digital may bring. As the saying goes, “the waves cannot be stopped, so it is recommended to learn to surf them”. The digital transformation is the process in which the organization learns to surf the ceaseless digital waves. Ultimately, every organization becomes a digital organization and uses the Internet and digital to do business and uses innovative technologies to attract and bring value to its customers
Planning the digital journey
As in everything in life, planning is a prerequisite and necessary for success. You need to take a map, see where the starting point is and where the planned destination is, plan the route and the stops along the way and of course equip yourself with the appropriate equipment. Digital transformation is no different and requires advance planning – defining a vision and goal, planning the steps in the journey and only then setting out. It is sometimes surprising to find organizations that start the digital journey without doing a master plan, and start straight away with the implementation of such and such digital projects. It is worth remembering – good execution begins with good planning.
Get to know one of the popular methodologies for digital transformation developed at the IMD School of Business Administration. The methodology consists of several stages – the rationale for the journey, planning the journey and setting off.
The Why phase – a phase whose purpose is to harness the senior management of the organization to the digital transformation process. At this stage, senior management is exposed to concepts, models and ideas of digital transformation, examines the developments in the industry in which the organization operates, the risks of disruption that can come from new technologies or new business models, and more. At this stage, the management must define the vision and the overarching goal to carry out the transformation. This vision will be a kind of North Star of the whole process. The importance of this stage is in the organizational commitment of the management members to a strategic move of the digital transformation. This is usually a relatively short stage.
The What phase – the planning phase of the digital transformation. At this stage, an interdisciplinary team, representing the various business disciplines in the organization, works for a relatively short period of time on locating and identifying the digital ventures that will bring the most value to the organization. Each such project goes through a short process of examination in terms of cost/benefit, risks and implications and finally an examination of its prioritization in relation to all the projects is carried out. The product of this process is the organization’s digital road map, a map showing the projects recommended for execution and the order of their execution. This document is presented to the organization’s management for approval and the allocation of the required resources.
The How phase – this is the phase of implementing the various initiatives. At this stage, technology and supplier are selected, the project team is established, and the project is realized and implemented. Naturally, this stage is longer and more complex and of course depends on the type of solution that the organization has decided on.
The Evaluate stage – this is a parallel stage to the realization process and its purpose is to continue to regularly examine the new developments in the fields of technology, the new business models, the new competitors, etc. According to the results of the evaluation process, the organization must update the digital road map. Since the digital transformation process is a long process, it is important to examine the latest developments to ensure the relevance of the decisions and directions chosen when planning the process.