A Roadmap for Facilitating Successful Digital Transformation

A Roadmap for Facilitating Successful Digital Transformation

Organisational Success Podcast

Anything that gives an organisation the advantage when it comes to digital transformation id to be welcomes. In this, the last episode in the digital transformation series of podcasts, David and Melanie unpack some recent research looking at what the evidence says about successful digital transformation.

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Podcasts in this digital transformation series

  1. What is digital transformation? 
  2. The trust for transformation model 
  3. Success factors for digital transformation
  4. The experience of a transformation consultant working with digital transformations in organisations
  5. Transformational Leadership, Uncertainty and Digital Transformation 
  6. Design Thinking and Company Resilience Support Organisations During Transformations
  7. A Roadmap for Facilitating Successful Digital Transformation – this podcast

Melanie Marshall

Melanie is a transformation and organisational change consultant and author of the book Trust: The foundation for Healthy Organisations and Teams. Melanie is based in Australia and spent 10 years in the Royal Australian Airforce and has a degree in Psychology from the University of Canberra. She co-hosts this mini series of seven podcasts with David.

successful digital transformation


DT 7 – A Roadmap for Facilitating Successful Digital Transformation

[00:00:00] David: Great, welcome back. And this is the next in the series where we’re just having a look at some of the research briefings that we’ve done in the Oxford review around digital transformation. And I’m joined again by Melanie Marshall and, as I say, what we’re going to have a look at is a research briefing, that’s in title “the roadmap facilitating successful digital transformation”, and that is based on a paper that was published, oh, that’s interesting, I’ve got a date on that. The paper’s called digital transformation, what we have learned thus far and what is next. And it’s from the Journal of creativity and innovation management, and just a reminder, our research briefings are a mixture of the paper and other studies that we’ve brought in just to kind of fill in a bit more context and kind of make the final, kind of jump out a little bit more, and basically what the paper’s saying is that what it was doing, it was looking at how leaders and managers can increase the effectiveness of digital transformation. What they found was, that they need to focus on four core [00:01:00] areas of operations and consider the implications that transformation’s going to have. And those are the strategy and the business models of the organisation, customer sales and marketing, the management, organisation and governance and the leadership and the employees, and they found that as organisations integrate more technology into their operations and enhance workflow processes with things like AI and IT, there’s a high risk of failure if leaders do not manage the transition effectively, leaders and managers need to be educated and equipped with the proper skills and thinking to be able to facilitate the changes required for successful digital transforma…. So, and I know this is one of your favorites. What are your thoughts, Melanie? 

[00:01:42] Melanie: Yes. This is my model in a couple of studies, which I was pretty excited about because yeah, it really does combine that notion of leadership at all levels, really good, solid business intelligence to make evidence-based decisions as well as then optimising and systemising [00:02:00] your performance by way of, what are those business models? What are the practices that you using and how are you pulling it together to actually deliver something that is a value? So, you can’t do any of that, you cannot transform without having good clear strategy and business models, a really good understanding of your customers, and it says customers and marketing, but I would also say customers and marketing from a perspective of who are your customers? What do they want and how are you going to serve them? So, that’s how I think in terms of marketing there. And then that management organisation and governance is, that’s really the nuts and bolts around how your employees are going to work to deliver those products and services. And how are you going to ensure that when you’re delivering those things, that you’re keeping an eye on them so that you can continuously improve and be getting feedback around what you’re putting out there and how it is service to people. So I think that’s really, really key, and then that notion of [00:03:00] leadership and employees as being part of the transformation? Well, it just goes without saying, so yeah, so both of these studies were really, really quite good, and it’s certainly where I’ve seen a lot of transformation efforts fail because the focus will be on the bright, shiny new thing, and that’s going to fix all of those other four bits, but in actual fact, it’s the quality that you are going to fade into the solution that will define or determine whether or not that solution truly is a success for you. So, yeah, I liked the underneath the hood approach to this briefing, as well as the studies that are discussed in this briefing. 

[00:03:39] David: Particularly like the rather than it being kind of an amorphous massive stuff that you’ve got to kind of consider cause there’s an awful lot to consider with digital transformation, is breaking it down into those four areas that the strategy and business models, customer sales, marketing, the management, the organisation, and the governance and the leadership and employees kind of makes it more [00:04:00] manageable and understand, but it adds that kind of twist of, okay, you know, have you really thought through the consequences of this process as we kind of go along and those consequences, because the process itself as a digital transformation kind of unfolds or emerges because it is kind of an emergent property because you’re operating in usually a changing context. As you move through the process, it also changes the organisation that considering what the consequences of the next steps are across those four areas, you know, really important because it can really derail a transformation process, if you don’t 

[00:04:36] Melanie: Well, you can’t run a business without these four things. It doesn’t get any more complicated than that. So, I don’t know why or how so many transformation efforts get stuck and they just think in terms of the solution, maybe because of the complexity of having to look at these things, you know, with in any, like that’s where the complexity comes in. It’s not just about the tech that you’re going to lay on [00:05:00] top of it, it’s have you done the heavy lifting? Have you done the work on these four things first, in order to be able to feed what is required into that technology for it to work the way that it needs to work or for it even to be designed so that it’s not just fit for purpose, but it’s fit for purpose with quality. And that’s the key, is it of quality and is it of, does it add value to people and… 

[00:05:23] David: Yeah, I think one of the reasons actually is a complete misunderstanding about what digital transformation is. You know, people say we’re going through a digital transformation, and actually what they’re doing is just bringing in a bit more IT or some AI or a program or something like that. One of the things that we discussed in the first of these podcasts was this difference between digital transformation and IT enabled organisational transformation, which is that latter case where you’re just bringing in some new stuff. Digital transformation actually changes the nature of the organisation and its identity, and that’s kind of a [00:06:00] really key thing to consider because the more you integrate these technologies and particularly some of the higher level technologies, AI machine learning and things like that into an organisation, it not only changes the scope that that organisation has, and the marketplace is that it’s likely to go into, they also starts to change the nature of the organisation and its identity and working out what you want that to be. I think it’s really important. 

[00:06:25] Melanie: Yeah. Hence, why having really good clarity around what the strategy is, but also what’s the business model, how are you going to deliver to that strategy? Whether it be a new strategy with a new identity and a new value proposition, or whether it be an existing strategy that could be delivered in a much better way. These four have to be covered off on regardless of what type of transformation you’re going through, and I think, you know, you mentioned data before, understanding what type of data do you need and what does that data mean in order to be able to either [00:07:00] introduce a new service, introduce a new product, change what you’re doing so that you get a genuine, meaningful benefit out of it. Like, you know, how you use that information, and certainly when it comes to that notion of management organisation and governance, what is it that you’re going to be governing? Yeah. What type of information are people going to be given in a more transparent, real time, agile way so that they can make better decisions on the fly? Because transformation is that also, that constantly moving adaptive nature to it, that people are going to have to be, the information that’s being shared also has to be good quality, and something that people can easily understand and then use in a way that is useful. 

[00:07:43] David: Yeah. And I think that last point about a usefulness, obviously, but the quality of the data. Quite often, especially when, in fact we’ve covered Mariel work around quality of data within big data models and things, and what she found [00:08:00] and a number of the research associates that she’s been working with is, people kind of get excited about using big data, but actually when you start to have a look inside it, it contains an awful lot of rubbish, and therefore what comes out of that actually isn’t useful. You know, it appears to be useful when you start to apply it, the models go wrong and it causes all sorts of problems. And that…. 

[00:08:23] Melanie: Yeah, more doesn’t equal better. And I think we can overcomplicate things for ourselves, by trying to measure too much, you know, what is it that we need to do in order to achieve the objective as opposed to achieve the objective and over cook it. And this briefing is really good because it does simplify the so many different considerations that you’ve got to make into those four components, so that you can then even just as those headings alone, you’ve got really good framework to be able to ask great questions of people, to say, do you actually understand what our new business model is going to be? How you’re going to be part of that, [00:09:00] what your role is? Because if you don’t, well, then that’s an opportunity for us to have a conversation and reduce the uncertainty, or if we don’t know what this is going to look like, how about we get together and start working through what that could be. So I think just these four headings alone are incredibly useful because that’s where you can have those conversations and start getting people to co-design the how together, so by the time it comes to either selecting a solution or preparing to adopt and implement the solution, you’ve already got people with you.

[00:09:32] David: Yeah, exactly. And also those people are going to help you think through the implications across these four areas. That’s brilliant Melanie. Thank you very much. This podcast was based on the research briefing, a roadmap for facilitating successful digital transformation, which members will find in the library and the primary reference for this, there’s actually five studies that we’ve incorporated into this one, is a 2021 [00:10:00] paper, digital transformation, what we’ve learned thus far and what is next from the Journal of creativity and innovation management. Thank you very much, Melanie. 

[00:10:08] Melanie: Thank you. See you next time. 

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David Wilkinson

David Wilkinson is the Editor-in-Chief of the Oxford Review. He is also acknowledged to be one of the world's leading experts in dealing with ambiguity and uncertainty and developing emotional resilience. David teaches and conducts research at a number of universities including the University of Oxford, Medical Sciences Division, Cardiff University, Oxford Brookes University School of Business and many more. He has worked with many organisations as a consultant and executive coach including Schroders, where he coaches and runs their leadership and management programmes, Royal Mail, Aimia, Hyundai, The RAF, The Pentagon, the governments of the UK, US, Saudi, Oman and the Yemen for example. In 2010 he developed the world's first and only model and programme for developing emotional resilience across entire populations and organisations which has since become known as the Fear to Flow model which is the subject of his next book. In 2012 he drove a 1973 VW across six countries in Southern Africa whilst collecting money for charity and conducting on the ground charity work including developing emotional literature in children and orphans in Africa and a number of other activities. He is the author of The Ambiguity Advanatage: What great leaders are great at, published by Palgrave Macmillian. See more: About: About David Wikipedia: David's Wikipedia Page