Best Practices

A Complete Guide to Developing a Digital Transformation Roadmap

Jonathan Friedman
October 22, 2021
A Complete Guide to Developing a Digital Transformation Roadmap

Did you know that as much as 80% of companies aren't fully taking advantage of technology? If you're concerned that your company isn't getting the most from your people or your processes, then you need to consider a digital transformation. 


You're probably in a position where you know you need to utilize the many advances in technology for your business. But you're not sure how to accomplish that. What you need is a digital transformation roadmap to guide you through your journey. 


Don't worry if buzzwords like digital transformation seem confusing; we've got you covered. So, keep reading to learn all about what digital transformation is and how you can create a winning digital transformation roadmap for your team to follow. 


Below is everything we will cover. Feel free to skip ahead.



What is digital transformation? 


Technology has changed and improved the way we do business. But, before we jump into what digital transformation is, let's start with what digital transformation isn't. Digital transformation isn't:

 


While these tactics might be steps you take along your transformation journey, they aren't in and of themselves digital transformation. Unfortunately, digital transformation can be challenging to define. But we'll break it down for you and do our best to show you how you can implement it for ultimate success within your organization. 


Digital transformation is about building a culture within your company. It's about looking at how you're already doing things and then assessing how you can improve upon everything by bringing in digital technology.


Any technology that you can use to improve your business or business processes is digital transformation.  


Therefore, you need to take the time to look at every aspect of your business. Then determine if it can be improved by adding or improving the technological aspects of it. Whether it's your customer management system, or planning software, or advanced robotics (e.g., robotic process automation), or artificial intelligence, all of these are included within the umbrella of digital transformation. 


Digital transformation can enable and empower your business to be more efficient and more effective so you can stay competitive within your industry. And while digital technology is the driver for the change, the key to digital transformation is the actual change or transformation within your company that brings success for companies everywhere. 


What is a digital transformation roadmap?


Anyone can buy a new software program and say they're doing digital transformation. But if nobody on your team knows how to use that software or doesn't like it, then you won't realize the exact change you could with the proper framework. You need to have the correct blueprint to follow to ensure the level of success you want for your business. 


The best way to nurture a culture of change within your organization is to have a set of steps everyone can follow. This is what we'll walk you through to create the best digital strategy for you and your team to follow. 


As we mentioned earlier, it can be challenging to discern between following a set strategy and utilizing key tactics when reaching your goals. Tactics are the tools your team uses to accomplish your strategy. While your strategy is the big picture view of what your organization is working towards. 


When it comes to digital transformation, you might envision needing to increase your IT department. Or you might think you need to move everything to the cloud. However, these are only mere steps along the path towards your transformation. 


Therefore you need to take some time to step back and assess where you are as a company and where you want to go. Then you can use the lens of your overall business goals to determine the best steps for you to take for your specific company goals.


No two businesses will have the exact same roadmap. This is because no two companies have the same business plan, business goals, or business strategy that they need to align their digital transformation with. 


How to create your digital transformation roadmap


Suppose you just get started on your transformation without first sitting down and mapping out your journey. In that case, you run the risk of your investments costing too much money, taking too long to implement, and lack effective implementation from your team. 


However, when you take the time to create a roadmap, you give your team the tool that shows everyone all the pieces of the puzzle. Everyone can see how their part fits into the puzzle and helps to achieve the final goals or objectives. 


It would be best to create a visual roadmap that can communicate with your team the goals you want to reach and the steps necessary to reach them. This visual representation will allow your team to stay focused throughout the journey. And it will also ensure that everyone can tell at a glance if their tasks are staying in alignment with the overall objectives. 


It can feel overwhelming to create this visual representation. That's why we've mapped out the ten-step process you need to follow to ensure you realize the most success you can from your transformation.


You can group our ten steps into three phases: define value, launch your strategies, and finally scale for success. 

Digital transformation roadmap


Define value


The first phase of your digital transformation roadmap is your chance to chart your course. You'll show your team what your company stands for and how the transformation will bring value to your company as well as your customers. 


1. Set clear and ambitious strategic objectives


As you begin your transformation, be sure to set strong goals. The more ambitious and clear your goals are, the more likely you'll be able to show how significant a digital transformation is. To get everyone on board with your plan, you need to show them just what new technological implementation can deliver for them.


As you set ambitious goals, you'll show your team the new ways technology can help you reach your goals. Additionally, by setting the right targets, your executive team can see what their investments can achieve. 


The focus of creating business goals based on a transformation is to consider what you're not already doing or doing well. Do you need to improve your customer experience? Or do you need to increase the productivity and efficiency of your employees?


These are the questions you need to ask. Otherwise, as we mentioned earlier, you'll risk choosing the wrong tactics for your transformation. While moving to the cloud is a tremendous digital transformational tactic, if it's not suitable for your company, then don't spend the time and money needed to make that move. 


However, if you find that most of your workforce is now working remotely, then moving to the cloud might be a new priority that it wasn't a year ago. It can be hard to take the time away from your daily duties to do this vital brainstorming work. But don't make the mistake of skipping this critical step as it will lay the foundation for the following steps in creating your successful roadmap. 


2. Secure commitment from senior management


Your transformation begins when you determine the end goals in step one and then clearly share with your team your vision for the future. Transformation starts by getting your team to buy into it. 


And the place you need to start is with your top-level C-suite executives. It would help if you had a total commitment from the top level that they will communicate with your teams to encourage everyone to adopt these changes. 


The good news is there are simple and concrete ways to get everyone on your team on board with the change. When you involve people in the process and are transparent with them, most people respond to new changes positively. When you show them where you're going and how you'll get there, you will have more success in reaching your team to buy into these new changes. 


Your senior team is vital to the success of your digital transformation. Your leaders can help bring accountability to your transformation. This is why it's so important to get early commitment from management. 


3. Secure your finances


Unfortunately, technology can be expensive. And investing in new upgrades can start to pinch the bottom line of your company. As an executive or manager for your company, you have to ensure your company remains profitable.


Therefore, once you have the buy-in from your senior leadership, your next step is to secure the funds to maximize your transformation truly. 


Digital transformation will take an investment from you and sometimes require a significant amount of money and time to implement. People will have to be trained, and you will take time away from productivity. However, in the end, the increase in efficiency and capacity will pay for itself many times over. 


For now, don't worry about the exact technology you'll purchase or invest in. Look at where the funding can come from as you start to research ways to improve through technology. 


Will you finance it with new investors? Will you save so you can pay for it in advance? Determine now how you'll fund your transformation so that once you work through the remaining steps, you can get started immediately. 


Launch strategic initiatives


As you build momentum with your digital transformation, you must ensure that you launch strategic initiatives and that they are correctly sequenced. Additionally, you must ensure that you have the right people assigned to your strategic initiatives.


Nurturing a digital culture begins at the top and flows through the company. That's why you started with transparent communication from your senior leadership about your ambitious goals. 


Now that you have the right resources, it's time to launch.


4. Pick quick wins first


As you create your digital transformation roadmap, it can be challenging to determine where you should focus your priorities first. Based on the necessity to get your team on board, you should choose the quick win first. Simply put, the best way to get your team on board and to build momentum is to help them experience quick wins.


You might have a dozen ideas for how technology can improve your workplace. However, as you choose the first place to start, look at what will give your employees the most improvement within their workplace, but with the shortest duration. This could be transitioning away from an in-person meeting and endless email threads in favor of online collaboration apps. 


Choose the best way to show your team how they can benefit from adding or improving existing technology within their daily workflow. Then as you implement that first win and your teams see that digital transformation can indeed change their work for the better, you'll have better buy-in later on with larger projects and transitions.

 

5. Pick your high-caliber launch team


To implement effective change within your organization, your team must start at the top. Without the full backing of your leadership team, you will never realize the full potential of a digital transformation. Once you have the commitment of your senior leadership, it's time to gather the rest of your team. 


Whether you appoint a PM or a CDO, you need to identify a truly transformational leader who can effectively implement change and work well with your executive team and those responsible for doing the actual work. Any change initiative or transformation will require that you create a stellar lineup of employees who can help implement that change in your workplace.


So, who will be on your launch team? Who will help design the process for the change you're about to embark on? Who will implement those changes and work with your employees to ensure a successful onboarding and training process? 


As you begin to implement new processes and use new technologies, you might also find yourself needing to hire fresh talent. Take this opportunity to pinpoint where you can realize the most significant return on your investment and hire the right people for the right jobs as you implement your strategy. 


Transformation isn't just about reinventing the wheel. You need to equip your team with the resources they need to be successful. And that starts with your leaders. 


6. Determine the milestones along your journey


You've now laid the foundation to start mapping out your journey in better detail. You know where you're going, how you're going to pay for it, and who will implement it. Now you need to chart the course through milestones so that everyone can know they're on the right path throughout your journey. 


Digital transformation doesn't happen overnight. It will take time and will best be completed in short phases. Gather your team and research so you can start to map out the milestones that need to be completed in order to reach your final destination. 


Again, everyone's final destination will be different. And your business priorities will differ from others. So there isn't one singular path to follow for every company to reach digital transformation. 


Be sure to secure your OKRs so you can determine the milestones you'll reach in your launch. Following the right metrics to reach your milestones is key to successfully completing the digital transformation process. 


This is why it's essential to follow each step so you know where you're going as you start to outline the process. Once you know what can be improved through the use of new or improved technology, you can begin to prioritize in which order you'll affect change.  


7. Embrace the agile framework


As mentioned earlier, digital transformation isn't a short and easy process. That's why so many companies fail to take advantage of the many benefits of improving their technology. As you create your milestones for your roadmap, embrace the ideology behind the agile framework


Understand that effective change will happen in phases. And as you complete each phase, you can take the time to determine what worked well and what didn't. Then make changes based on those observances so that you can ensure your transformation is as successful as possible. 


Just because you created your roadmap doesn't mean you carved it in stone. An excellent planning software will allow you to take the time between each implementation stage to evaluate the process and make changes accordingly. 


Unfortunately for many large organizations, maintaining agility can feel impossible. However, with the right tools, your team can make improvements to its operational model and structure. The platform you choose to plan your transformation can allow even large teams to utilize agile methodologies.  


Scale for success


At this point during your digital transformation roadmap, you should have several strategic initiatives up and running. The work being executed should seem under control, and you should be focused on sequencing the work ahead. However, that doesn't mean that you should become complacent. This is the exact time when you should be thinking about supercharging your transformation. In other words, you should be looking to build upon your successes and scale.


In order to scale successfully, you'll need to pay closer attention to building more capabilities and eventually creating an entirely new operating model.

 

8. Prioritize strategic initiatives based on speed and return on investment


Managing your strategic initiatives can be difficult. However, when you know your priorities, you can sequence each initiative in the best order. In order to choose the best sequence, consider how quickly you can complete specific initiatives. 


In addition, some initiatives will take longer to realize their full return on investment. At the same time, others will show a return much more quickly. This is why it's imperative to look at your ROI when determining the best sequence. 


Reducing complexities and ensuring a speedy return on value will give your team the wins they need to keep going in your digital transformation. Don't try to spread yourself too thin. Choose wisely and concentrate your efforts on specific areas before moving on to further initiatives. 


This is how you'll realize a successful digital transformation and ensure a seamless transition for both your employees and your customers. 


9. Build capabilities


Improved technology can allow your team to do more in less time and with fewer resources. Adding or upgrading your use of technology in the workplace will increase the capabilities of your business


As you implement new technology within the workplace, you'll need to also invest in your people. New skills and new systems will need to be embraced and learned so that they can get the most from the latest technology. Don't shy away from investing in your people. 


If you don't equip your employees with the skills they need to get the most from the new technology, you might as well not have invested in it in the first place. Digital transformation is company-wide and needs to extend much further than the IT department. It doesn't matter how great the new equipment is if nobody knows how to use it. 


So, once you've determined the course you'll follow, empower your team through education. Help show your employees how these new changes will help them, and they'll be much more responsive as you begin to implement your transformation. 


10. Adopt a new operating model


We started with your purpose by setting clear and ambitious goals. Your operating model determines how well you can maintain your capabilities. As you reach to achieve your strategies, you need to combine the why with the how consistently. 


You need to continually review and redesign your operating model to stay competitive in your industry. And this is significantly even more important when you make significant changes, such as a digital transformation. This is why it's essential to lean away from your traditional operating model and implement a new one consistent with your transformed culture. 


This is how you can scale your business to the level you've always wanted. You've improved your operations; you've increased your team's capabilities, and thanks to new technology, you and your team can continue to scale your way to success. 


Empower your team with the right tool to manage your transformation


As you create your digital transformation roadmap, you need to have a central location for everyone to stay in sync. You can end the seemingly endless meetings and emails with a collaborative platform that allows everyone on your team to plan and communicate throughout the journey. 


Here at TrueNxus, we believe we've created the best cross-functional collaboration platform for companies to implement digital transformations effectively. Transformation doesn't come quickly and easily. However, with the right tools, your team will be successful, and you'll see the amazing benefits that can come from embracing new technology. 


You can give your team a powerful program that will allow them to see the entire process in manageable chunks. From automated status reports and notifications to personalized views of project plans, TrueNxus gives your team a better way to plan and complete your transformation process. 


No longer will people come to you asking what the status of the transformation is. With TrueNxus, everyone can see what's been completed and what still needs to be done, and by when. 


Once you've empowered your team to embrace the process, you can move away from micro-managing. And you'll have more time for strategic thinking. 


Digital transformation best practices


Investing in new technology to improve productivity is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to digital transformation. And many companies find it difficult to succeed in the long term. If you want to transform your organization's culture successfully, you need to implement certain best practices. 


Let's dive into each of these in more depth so you can see how your transformation can go further than just investing in new equipment or software.  


Involve leadership


One of the key best practices to a successful digital transformation includes having a dynamic leadership team. Leaders can't simply dictate to their teams that a transformation is about to happen. They must instead continually communicate with everyone about everything from the goals to implementing your strategy. 


Businesses that have seen the most success from their transformation have fostered a sense of urgency for making these changes. They also ensure open and transparent collaboration and communication amongst your teams. 


Lastly, successful leadership teams ensure that their key leaders are integrally involved in developing the initiatives through the transformation. When your leadership is involved in this manner and ensures collaboration between units, you'll realize much more success throughout your transformation. 


Empower your team


As you embark on your transformation journey, you must empower your employees to take action in achieving your goals. To do this, you need to set clear expectations and then give them autonomy over their decisions. 


As you provide the necessary resources and training that your team needs, they'll realize the many benefits you can gain by adopting new technologies. But without the resources and training, you run the risk of your team not fully utilizing the transformation and new technology. 


The companies that realize the greatest results from their digital transformation make an investment in their people as much as they do to improve the technology.


Improve customer experience


Change doesn't happen in a bubble. Your customers experience change from technology as well. And they want to be able to interact with your customer service team at any time of the day or night. You can provide a stellar experience for your customers by embracing technological advances. 


Technology can improve the customer experience in a variety of ways. This includes everything from:



These digital avenues provide a better experience for your customers. And this is how you and your team can see great potential for improvement through digital transformation.


Follow these best practices as you create your roadmap, and you'll realize far great success at the end of your transformation. Again, these tactics might be what most people think of when they think of digital transformation. Still, you've seen in this process for creating your roadmap that they're simply the tactics you can implement to accomplish your overall strategies. 


Now you're ready to create your roadmap and begin to transform the entire environment within your organization with the use of improved technological advances. 


Follow your roadmap to stay ahead of the competition


We started this article by telling you that eight out of ten businesses aren't utilizing technology as fully as they could be. In this article, we've given you the tools you need to create a digital transformation roadmap so you can ensure you're in the 20% that is enjoying the full benefits that improved technology can give you and your business. 


To ensure success in your transformation journey, leverage TrueNxus, and plan, execute, and monitor and report your digital transformation roadmap in one place.


Get started today with your free two-week trial. We'll show you how TrueNxus can benefit everyone on your team throughout your digital transformation.