Our objective is to provide Chief Information Officers (CIO) and Chief Technology Officers (CTO) and in further consequence the corporate management best possible support for digital transformations and to generate business value. We achieve this either by project execution as planned by our clients or otherwise by contributing our expertise for a jointly developed approach and its implementation.
Based on our experience, digital transformation is successful and sustainable if innovative information and communication technology (ICT) is implemented being tightly coupled with adequate management systems, lean processes at a high maturity level and role-based organisational structures.
For requests requiring a strategic realignment of digitalisation, we recommend launching a concept study as a preliminary project, including a ICT prototype development. Lessons learned and comprehensive defined requirements of the preliminary project are subsequently transferred into the final specification before implementation of the innovative solution and rollout within the enterprise.
On the basis of respective requirements, our approach is jointly custom-tailored with our clients, and a suitable roadmap and implementation plan for the digital transformation is developed. Our approach is fully scalable and not only applicable to large-scale projects in multinational corporations but also to mid-sized enterprises and innovative start-up companies.
Depending on the specific requirements and objectives of the digital transformation, distinct tasks varying in complexity and scope are necessary. According to our holistic approach the following six success factors should exist or respectively be implemented during the digital transformation process:
- Willingness to change
- Definition of objectives for the digital transformation and a rough budget estimate
- Implementation and improvement of management systems and development of key performance indicators
- Concurrent change of innovative ICT, processes and organisational structures
- Strategic and operational personnel planning and development
- Consequent implementation and correction measures for target-actual deviations
In case not all success factors are initially present, or cannot be implemented right from the start, our holistic approach recommends that missing success factors are gradually implemented during the course of the digital transformation. This enables a sustainable and cost-efficient transition along the entire life-cycle of the digital transformation.
1. Willingness to change
An important prerequisite for a sustainable and successful digital transformation within an enterprise is the willingness to change by corporate management, which may require a change in corporate culture. Willingness to change is independent of company size and arises out of different reasons, for example, identified chances and opportunities of the digitalisation for the own business model with a likely impact on business success, legal compliance requirements, or supervisory aspects. Willingness to change is a driving force for a successful and sustainable digital transformation, and should be communicated to employees and suppliers right from the start.
2. Definition of objectives for the digital transformation and a rough budget estimate
Based on the reasons for the change, objectives for the digital transformation should be defined. Consequently, derived from these objectives, the further specifications of the governance, the risk appetite, and the strategy for the digital transformation can be planned and specified. This includes a roadmap, a milestone plan and a first rough estimate of the necessary budget.
3. Implementation and improvement of management systems and development of key performance indicators
To achieve the objectives of the digital transformation, management systems and key performance indicators must be implemented and improved. In our holistic approach, when we speak about management systems we mean all types of cyclic process models that implement the four phases Plan, Do, Check, Act, and that use key performance indicators for continuous improvement.
Many enterprises implement cyclic processes and target-actual comparisons only for control of monetary key performance indicators, for example in the areas of financial controlling or sales. However, measurement of the achieved objectives and control of tasks should be extended to all relevant new processes, organisational roles and structures and employee qualifications as integral parts of any successful and sustainable digital transformation.
If different management systems are tightly coupled, we speak of integrated management systems in the context of our holistic approach. On the one hand, they enable a consistent top-down control by key performance indicators based targets, from corporate management to the operational management of the implementation processes. On the other hand, they facilitate bottom-up feedback of implementation results and deviations from the plan to the corporate management.
4. Concurrent change of innovative ICT, processes and organisational structures
Business processes are tightly coupled to the executing organisational structure and the required ICT, and should therefore be concurrently changed for a successful and sustainable transformation. The challenge lies not only in the design and implementation of innovative ICT, lean target processes at a high maturity level and role-based organisational structures but also that they are planned and implemented by the management systems deployed in the previous phase and checked regarding the achieved objectives.
5. Strategic and operational personnel planning and development
Based on the objectives and the strategy of the digital transformation, personnel planning and development on strategic and operational levels are necessary for a successful and sustainable digital transformation. The necessary employee qualifications have to be available at the right time and place. To enable enterprises to withstand the accelerating changes of our Information Society and its ICT, personnel development and a high willingness of the employees to extend their qualifications should be centrally deployed.
6. Consistent implementation and correction measures for target-actual deviations
As technical and organisational changes for successful and sustainable digital transformation require a long implementation time, usually up to several years, it is necessary that they are consistently implemented and that correction measures for target-actual deviations are consistently executed. It is essential to focus on the achieved target values especially in terms of objectives for newly implemented innovative ICT, processes and organisational structures, including roles and employee qualifications.