Managing Digital Transformation: Strategies, Roadmapping and Examples

Digital transformation – it’s happening all around us. Emerging technologies have reshaped industries and forged new ones, all in the space of a decade. Small wonder so many businesses are clamouring to put digitisation to work for their organisation.

The reality is, though, that of the digital transformation projects undertaken, 90% fail. That’s a huge proportion of businesses whose aspirations for a digital future stalled before they began.

To help give your digital transformation project the best chance of success, we’ve put together this simplified guide, covering proven strategies and key things to note. We’ll also take a look at a handful of businesses whose digital changes can inspire your own.


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Digital Transformation: Why it Matters

As the 21st century has rumbled on, one thing has become evident: the future lies in digital. Such has been digital’s rise that even traditional industries have adapted to the new technological landscape – perhaps out of will but, more likely, necessity.

Now, in 2021, businesses are investing in digital transformation less through FOMO (fear of missing out) and more through FOFO – fear of falling off. Never has it felt more critical to embrace next-gen tech and revolutionise company processes, to keep pace with the decade’s core change-makers.

And, as the so-called ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ continues, companies in every industry must be lean, agile and future-focused if they’re to remain relevant. Because that’s the essence of digital transformation – ensuring that, at every level, your business is equipped to ride the wave of technological change and innovation.

Roadmapping Digital Transformation in 5 Strategic Steps

Digital transformation doesn’t happen overnight. But by strategising and roadmapping your digital adoption, there are means of making the process simpler while bolstering your chances of success.

Here, we’ll look at 5 steps to roadmap your digital transformation.


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Stage 1: Preparing for Change

The first step in effective digital change management is recognising why it’s essential and preparing accordingly. But what does this mean in practice?

Making preparations for digital transformation encompasses several deliberate actions. First, draw up a ‘charter’ which articulates the why and how of your transformation, sharing this with senior stakeholders and partners to attain their approval and buy-in.

Next, draw up a log where you can track and document any technological changes you put in place throughout the process. This is an essential step, allowing you to review your progress and roadmap different avenues going forward.

Stage 2: Defining the Outcome

Next, and closely linked to the preparation phase, is defining the outcomes of your digital transformation. This takes your initial goals and objectives a stage further, with clearly-defined pathways in place which show how you will get from point A to point B.

Begin by mapping the journeys of different processes you plan to put in place; how will they affect day-to-day business operations? Think of this like a risk assessment; you need to understand different outcomes, so you can mitigate risk factors and avoid pitfalls to failure.

At this stage, it’s also worth holding regular ‘steer’ meetings with key stakeholders from different departments within the business. Progress updates are important to keep everything on track, and will give you the confidence that every area of the business is moving forward in a positive way.


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Stage 3: Developing New Processes

From your defined outcomes, the next task is to refine and develop processes which integrate and align with your new digital capacities. The most challenging part of any digital transformation project; you need to strike a balance between implementing new technologies while ensuring the buy-in of your personnel and the smooth integration of your legacy systems and data.

Consider existing workflows and make clearly-defined changes which are perceptible to your employees and colleagues. Additional training, support and resources may be necessary in some cases, which is why it’s so important to refine and test new processes ahead of the technology go-live date.

Stage 4: Building and Developing

The penultimate stage in your digital transformation journey is to test, develop and get feedback on new processes, workflows and system changes. This is your last opportunity to organise and manage process changes before full deployment, so comprehensive review sessions and testing are imperative.

A soft rollout to key personnel and stakeholders can help you gauge the effectiveness of new workflows and deliverables; what problems need addressing ahead of go-live? And which processes will you need to monitor closely during the first few weeks after deployment?

Feedback and review sessions can be useful at this stage, as others may spot something you haven’t. You should also assign change management project duties to senior personnel, so they can oversee progress in all areas of the business.

Stage 5: Go-Live

Go-live day may feel momentous, and it is, but the work’s not yet done. Before you hit the start button on new digital tech, carefully review your change log to ensure nothing has been missed, before going over recently-received feedback to ensure everything is accounted for.

After deployment, monitor processes and workflows carefully; is everything working as it should? This is also an opportunity to gather feedback from the wider business; you want to make sure that personnel at all levels are happy with the new processes, and that any individual problems are resolved at an early stage.

And there you have it – five steps to effective digital transformation. Of course, this is a condensed, simplified roadmap, but it proves that with a strategic approach, even the least-tech-savvy businesses can adapt to significant technological changes within their organisation.


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Businesses Using Digital Transformation Effectively

While the success rate for digital transformation may be troublingly low, many businesses and organisations have made a go of effective digital adoption – whether out of necessity or as a means of streamlining operations.

A great example of a UK business which had to embrace digital is Yell. Previously the beloved ‘Yellow Pages’, Yell has made a success of transforming itself into a relevant and engaging digital platform – moving away from its physical directory model to become one of the web’s most trusted online sources for ratings and reviews.

Not only is the story of Yell’s digital transformation a success, it also demonstrates just how long it can take. The Yellow Pages first went digital over 20 years ago, and has faced an uphill battle to establish itself in this competitive online arena.

Now to a business which adopted digital not out of necessity, but as a means of growth: JPMorgan. Back in 2017, the financial services giant deployed new digital software capable of completing work that would have taken an experienced legal team 360,000 hours – streamlining its operations in line with the absolute pinnacle in technological performance.

Since unveiling its ‘COIN’ programme, JPMorgan has embraced digital across its entire operation, bringing in new teams to manage cloud infrastructures, robotics and big data. Its digital transformation has been an unrivalled success, and organisations from every industry can learn a thing or two from their approach.


We hope you’ve enjoyed this simplified look at digital transformation and what it means for your business. At JS3 Global, our experienced ERP software specialists can help businesses like yours adopt the latest digital technologies. We’ll work closely with you throughout the process, ensuring smooth integration and outstanding ROI. For more information, visit the homepage or call us on +44(0)161 503 0866.