Updated: Nov 6, 2019
According to CMSWire, the world economic value of digital transformation will top $100 trillion by 2025 [Macro and Micro Technology Trends for 2019; CMSWire]. It’s an exciting time, but one where many CTOs are under pressure to deliver results-driven transformation alongside increased responsibilities around data security, network speed, mobile staff access and an ever-broadening range of business applications.
The rate of Digital Transformation project failure is high with just 16% of 2018 McKinsey survey respondents reporting that their organisations’ transformations have improved performance with long term sustainable changes [Unlocking success in digital transformations; McKinsey]. Where are we going wrong?
Many such initiatives are driven by the desire for efficiency but simply result in existing, inefficient processes being digitised. Like any popular management concept, consultants and system vendors have been guilty of over-selling and under-delivering, minimising complexities for an appealing business case and excluding users from solution design.
As internal IT teams do not tend to have broad experience with Digital Transformation projects, it can be difficult to manage vendor hype, C-Suite expectations and user behaviour.
Having had the advantage of working as a consultant for over a decade across multiple industries, I have been able to identify the issues that are frequently experienced, and design a framework to reduce risk, help manage stakeholders and provide benchmarks to measure success.
I call this framework the 6I’s of Digital Transformation. It helps project teams clarify priorities with clear ROI and create a compelling, accurate business case for executive support. The resulting information can be used to prioritise areas that require focus and provide evidence for the selection and development of solutions. The 6I’s are:
- IDENTIFY: Create a list of opportunities for Digital Transformation throughout your organisation. This is best achieved by identifying the problems and opportunities for transformation through focus groups, new staff interviews, customer feedback and observing how people work.
- IMPACT: Measure the impact of the opportunities and calculate ROI to support the Digital Transformation initiative. This step incorporates both qualitative and quantitative considerations, so while a change may reduce costs, if it is not congruent with company culture or creates risk from future environmental change, these points will also be identified.
- IDEATE: Generate technology solution ideas to solve identified problems and assess the viability of each one. There is also an Ideate score assigned to each potential solution, to ensure a clear strategy in how solutions are created.
- INNOVATE: Decide which solutions to pursue and get into the details with the best ones. For system design, creating wireframes to get feedback and approval before completing detailed user requirements can save time – people are more likely to review a diagram than a wordy document.
- IMPLEMENT: If you have a strong solution design and your technical team is competent, implementation should be uncomplicated. Some project teams do encounter barriers due to competing projects, upgrades, freezes and organisational change so it’s best to progress this phase quickly.
- ITERATE: Measure the impact of the implemented solutions and look to enhance them, potentially running through the 6I’s again. Small changes can make a big difference and there may be further budget to consider out of scope initiatives after some quick wins.
The 6I’s framework delivers several benefits, not least of which is managing competing stakeholder priorities; there should be little room for politics or up-selling from over-enthusiastic consultants. It creates realistic expectations of project outcomes with measurable ROI that can be used to determine its success.
Perhaps most importantly, the process itself engages staff and users with the project before launch. Too often projects take place behind closed doors and ignore essential front-line process knowledge that may not be documented and can have significant impacts on solution workability and success, not to mention end-user interest.
The 6I’s of Digital Transformation is a highly useful tool for teams who want a transparent, harmonious, effective project. To learn more, or attend our next workshop, visit injio.com/6is/.
Managing Director, WebVine. With more than 20 years’ experience in the tech industry across three continents, Marcus Dervin is passionate about improving the way organisations work. Marcus is a recognised thought leader in the Digital Transformation space, contributing regular articles to the technology and business press.0