Thinking ahead, but starting today

How to identify and initiate the first steps into digital transformation.

The digital transformation is a relentlessly rapid process. Like a tsunami, it can wash away corporate structures at hitherto unknown speeds, and it can destroy entire companies and industries.

There is a lot of focus on the digital transformation. But this also poses a risk. Especially larger companies find it difficult to get a handle on the speed of the conversion processes. Many consider it a Herculean task to define their own digital strategy. The development and internal coordination of such a strategy within the company comes dangerously close to a never-ending story.

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The good news - there is a way. At Campana & Schott, we have found it very useful if at the beginning, the digital strategy is only defined at the divisional, departmental or even at the product level. What this means: Start the process in your own area at the same time or in advance of the digital strategy for the entire company. Use this time to develop, test and adjust the main parameters of your own digital road map. Therefore, while others are still engaged in general discussions, you should already begin to gain experience with new digital projects, quickly analyze results, and reject many good ideas - so only the best can be consistently pursued - and always adjust the direction of your own digital road map.

This procedure is even possible at the level of individual products! Main question: What can the Customer Journey for your product (or that of a traveler, patient or policyholder) look like? What new digital channels can be used to better reach the target groups for your product? And which new services create a particular and customer-relevant added value?

Our “recipe”

I recommend the following “recipe” for this process: At the beginning is the conceptual objective. The digital objective governs the direction of the entire team, and helps with building an agile mindset for each employee. It describes the visionary business idea - the “where we are going” part. In other words, with what combination of (digital) products, services and market access does the company intend to make its money in the future? The digital road map that defines the way to get there: A description of concrete, realistic implementation measures and dates. It also defines which organizational skills must be present in the team.

We have analyzed the transformation projects we supported during the last few years, and can be more specific in this regard. The following four steps have proven themselves with regard to the implementation of the conceptual objective:

Four Steps deliver everything you need

Typically, these contents can be developed in four steps. They may look as follows:

Step 1- Envisioning

The first step is used for coming together, defining a vision and for the initial definition of a location. Typically, the latter process involves the use of a digital maturity model. We recommend that the workshop results are subsequently developed into a draft customer journey or employee journey map.

Step 2 - Digital Potential

This step is used to enhance the digital customer journey and the digital employee journey (target and actual). These journey maps are used to identify the data (sources) and potential for improvement. The contents are: A discussion about the question “how a customer journey and employee journey unfolds its impact?”. Deriving initial potentials for improvement (also including new digital services or products), an assessment of the potential and prioritization.

After the second step, we often prepare an analysis of the required organizational skills. The main question is: “What type of capabilities are needed for which improvements?”

Step 3 - Digital Business Impact

Exactly these capabilities are discussed in step 3, and potentials for cost reductions and revenue increases or other qualitative effects are also estimated. This process results in an initial feasibility calculation. Ideally, it also leads to an initial business case.

To be able to start with the digital transformation in your own department, we recommend that ideas for possible prototypes are already developed at this stage - and then one or two are selected or the first prototype is already implemented!

Step 4 - Digital Strategy

The last phase represents a synthesis of all inputs: Outstanding decisions on the direction of the road map are made, and the business case is presented. At the end, you have a strategy for the digital transformation in your own department, together with an approved road map, and ideally your team will also proudly hold the validated prototype in its hand.

The benefit

I consider the above process a key accelerator for the digital transformation. It allows for the transformation to be implemented in one's own division, department or for one's own product. In the case of multinational organizations, the workshops can also be implemented consecutively in several regions. In that case, five to ten concrete starting points (collaborative opportunities) will be identified, which are then set up across the regions. In this way, the digital vision can be linked globally from the bottom up.

The procedure described here allows you to accelerate the process and already provides validated building blocks that you can contribute the digital strategy for the entire company. In addition, this process creates a level of commitment among your employees (and your leadership team), and also allows you to make an important contribution to creating an overall more agile organization.

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