Digital Transformation Hub

Apr 18 2019 5 mins

The Soul of a Digital Transformation Program

The soul of DX Program

Globally, we as a society are being driven by the 4th industrial revolution. Japan’s plan for Society 5.0, is triggering a wave of transformation initiatives across countries and organizations. Society 5.0 is Japan’s vision for the future visualizing a super-smart society where technology such as big data, Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), and robots fuse into every industry and across all social segments.

The soul of DX Program

The vision of this information revolution is to solve current impossible problems, making everyday life more comfortable and sustainable. Nevertheless, as we move to Society 5.0, where humanity will be forward-looking and high achieving, a huge global transformation is underway, with “digital” being a key contributor.

In the last decade or so, the most discussed term in the technology companies is transformation. And, when we talk about different transformations in different industries, the one that is frequently discussed, yet least accomplished is “telco transformation”. The reason being that, the behavior and expectation of the customers are changing swiftly along with the “discovery” of more digital changes and innovations. Hence telcos are facing a mammoth task and are overburdened under the pressure to find new and effective ways to bring sustainability and reduce overall costs. Operators are swiftly transforming themselves from being traditional platform provider to become digital service enabler.

A survey conducted by TMForum among 185 executives from 93 unique CSPs which operate in 64 countries, and 175 executives from 75 unique supplier companies along with a dozen of follow-up interviews to discuss the survey results found that DX is happening worldwide, and operators (and their customers) are starting to reap the benefits of simplification and virtualization. Overall, CSPs need to pick up the pace in the race to transform.

Before we begin

Transformation visionaries of any organization or government need to understand that the inflow of latest technology will not help in pulling a horse out of a hat. A transformation does not happen overnight. By this, it means, that implementing the latest technology is only a meagre part of the intended program. Organizations need to reach to level of maturity so that they can start seeing the benefits for adapting to an increasingly digital competitive environment. Maturity is something that unfolds gradually. Wikipedia defines maturity as “…the ability to respond to the environment in an appropriate manner which also encompasses being aware of the correct time and location to behave and knowing when to act, according to the circumstances and the culture of the society one lives in.” In the same way, organizations need to reach to a certain level of maturity before boarding the wagon of transformation.

Assessment Framework

In view of this a Digital Maturity Model or DMM has been formulated by industry experts majorly at Deloitte Consulting and standardized by the TMForum. This Model helps in assessing the current state and capabilities of the organization and gives a series of assessment result to be clear where they need to transform or improve. When the organization proceeds as per the laid out model, it mutates to become a digitally matured organization having a clear view of its processes, workforce, ecosystem, market, vulnerabilities, assets, and adaptability and gives them a bigger picture to make smarter decisions by understanding the Culture, the knowledge level of users, and the ability to be innovative. As DX program is a journey by aligning culture, people, structure and tasks, DMM identifies gaps in each phase and establishes areas to focus on and where to start by serving as a guide and tool to be referred to throughout the process of transformation.

The industry standard is defined by TM forum, and has outlined in its Digital Maturity Model, which is a package of 110 specific digital criteria, broadly categorized into five dimensions:

  • Customer
  • Strategy
  • Technology
  • Operations
  • Culture/People & Organization

Another industry standard assessment framework is the one devised and formulated by Telco Giant Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd. known as the Open Roads Digital Maturity Model, or the ODMM. This gap assessment framework uses a collection of best-in-class indicators, which have identified by industry leaders within the OpenROADSCommunity uses specific key performance indicators across six key organizational dimensions to identify and benchmark maturity gaps.

Unlike the DMM, ODMM framework comprises of six dimensions:

  • Strategic Dynamism
  • Digital Culture, Talent and Skills
  • Data Centricity
  • Service Innovation
  • Optimized Delivery
  • Digital Technology Leadership

A third model known, is the THRIVE Transformation model, developed by Transformation Master Rob Llewellyn. This framework is comprises of six guiding principles, namely:

  • Transformation
  • Holistic
  • Response
  • Innovation
  • Holistic

This model, outlines a structured approach for industry leaders and transformation visionaries a holistic guide to maturing internal capabilities and mindsets, responding strategically and innovatively to market threats and opportunities, delivering new value to the market and satisfying the expectations of internal stakeholders through successful execution.

Details about each phase of the above frameworks, needs probably another writing, and you may contact me to understand in detail, but let us save that for another day.


As now we have understood, that implementation of the latest technology is just one part of the transformation program. Other domains like organizational upkeep, leadership, training, and mindset are equally important. Hence, there is a need to shift to gain Digital maturity when planning to go for Digital transformation. Not many leaders would be precisely aware how digitally mature their organization is, or the people working under him. A DX Program is fundamentally about three things: people, processes and technology. If we don’t get the people part right first, and then the whole transformation program will fail. This leads to work on another aspect, “Digital Leadership”, which I am currently researching on. Keep following my articles, and soon, I will be publishing a concise on the subject.

One example of a successful digital leadership is John Hurley, the CTO of RyanAir, and the man responsible and credited for its successful transformation program. In 2014, when RyanAir was hitting all time low, Hurley felt the need for transformation and took up the reigns for this task. Realizing that this can be achieved, when the whole organization needs to have the same thoughts, Hurley brought everyone on board including the CEO, by aligning his vision in their minds. From the point of being branded us “unlikeable”, RyanAir, rose to become the world’s busiest airline website handling over twice the amount of daily traffic compared to its nearest rivals and servicing two and a half million customers a day.


To summarize, any organization that aims for a total business e2e transformation needs to first assess its current state, and then benchmark against the industry standards, not compromising with the end consumer expectation to go through this stage of metamorphosis. The words of Hurley holds true: “Digital transformation is about speed, agility, feedback on products and most importantly customer first. Embrace digital – if you don’t you will die.”

Click on this link, to understand how a DX program is fuelled by being customer centric;

DX and DCX : A Joint Venture

About the Author

Mohammed Naquib photo Mohammed Naquib photo
Based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Mohammed Naquib is a certified digital transformation professional, having a rich experience working with tier 1 telco companies and CSPs in Lat-Am, Africa and the Middle East. His work comprises of delivering world class digital customer experience solutions to telco customers.

When not working, Naquib spends most of his time reading and following transformation case studies of organisations and companies and digesting the latest trends driving the Society 5.0


Connect with Mohammed Naquib here:


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