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A new language for digital transformation

Organisations still struggle to advance digital transformation. A common language that transcends technology could be the key to strategic transformation.

The ability to adapt is critical to future success.

To survive—and thrive—leaders must focus their strategies on two overarching goals: maintaining a competitive advantage and enabling the ability to win in a way that embraces rather than resists change. In the twenty-first century, an adaptive business is typically powered by digital technology, prompting many organisations to pursue digital transformation. However, many transformations fail because it is challenging to drive cross-functional change, plan beyond one technology at a time, and develop a strategy that can withstand as technology evolves and organisations' core assumptions shift.

Organisations require a common language for digital transformation as part of their business strategy to drive their capacity for change and ability to win. This can help them avoid the trap of pursuing a technology-first approach instead of starting with strategy in a way that ultimately leads to greater value.

Five digital imperatives: A common language

We’ve identified five business outcomes that technology impacts and enables.

  • Experiences: Focusses on creating interactions that are seamless, efficient, productive, secure, differentiated, and joyous for users, whether a customer, part of the workforce or another stakeholder within the ecosystem.
  • Insights: Assesses what data, analysis, operating model and workforce are required to enable business, product, customer, or workforce strategies.
  • Platforms: Focusses on how information needs to be stored, processed, networked and secured across an organisation with a range of potential technologies available.
  • Connectivity: Involves information flow considerations in terms of how platforms, experiences, and insights are powered, touching on the future of the internet and networking with other organisations/ecosystems
  • Integrity: Focusses on driving purpose and improving resilience, security, and trust across all internal and external facing business systems and processes and involves creating a cyber-minded culture enterprise-wide to address continuously evolving threats.

Driving an effective digital transformation: Four actionable recommendations

Our digital imperatives can enable organisations to drive transformations that align to their overarching ambition while remaining open to future strategy changes. The framework we’re proposing can help organisations take the following key actions:

  • Develop adaptive strategies: Ask the tough questions – Are technology investments explicitly tied to the corporate strategy? Do we have the right leadership, operating model and workforce to execute that strategy?
  • Translate across teams: If your leadership team isn't talking the same language, spend time cross educating and cross-pollinating to get to the same language.
  • Build 'no regret' muscles: Take a hard line to shut down non–essential investments and, instead, make a smaller number of bigger bets aligned to your true corporate strategy.
  • Seek a state of dynamic equilibrium: Look to achieve a fluid, fungible, integrated technology strategy where the variables in the equation are unchanging over time.

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