Today, more companies are focused on digital transformation than ever. In a 2018 survey by Tech Pro Research, 70% of respondents indicated their companies had a digital transformation strategy in place or in development.
But the fact that business is more digitized doesn’t inherently mean it’s become better.
Many SMBs invest in transformation strategies that never see the light of day because they get so caught up in the excitement of digital that they fail to construct a self-funding business case or a digital use case capable of acquiring executive buy-in or funding.
Worse, others who win funding only to launch projects with no tracking eventually fail when they’re unable to report on the value of the initiative.
Lofty claims of digital transformation benefits (such as a more engaged workforce, more satisfied customers and more effective operations) are worth little if you don’t show exactly how they will generate business value and what their outcomes are worth.
To avoid falling short, a successful transformation needs to capture the right data and use it to demonstrate business value. Here’s how you can create and demonstrate value with digital transformation.
Digital Business Value
To make an impact, transformation leaders need to blend tech-savviness and business sense. They need to be able to show executives how their efforts will create value and carefully craft a business case with digital business value indicators to secure buy-in, prove the business value realized and build momentum by securing funding for current and future initiatives.
When you establish clear digital business value, you will keep digital business transformation high on the CEO’s list of strategic priorities.
Digital transformation concepts often raise questions about cross-functional priorities and where to invest in innovation. But without a quantified link to value and a solid business case, such efforts are usually unable to achieve approval.
So, they stall before they get going and innovative teams are left demoralized and uninterested in pursuing further transformation initiatives. This sort of loss can affect your company trajectory and culture in a big way when compounded by other failed initiatives.
Winning with a Self-Funding Business Case
The most successful digital transformations are self-funding and their quick wins demonstrate clear business value. Since your company decision-makers need to choose between various initiatives to drive business and please stakeholders, providing a case for a self-funding transformation is the best way to help your initiative gain traction.
With a self-funding business case, a transformation program can maintain momentum and build serious executive buy-in across the organization.
To express your case, you need to get clear about what your digital initiatives will be worth and exactly how they will generate value. You need to demonstrate your digital business value journey, which includes planned, tracked and realized digital business value. This value also needs to stack up well against the cost required to implement and support other competing strategic initiatives to help it gain traction at your business.
Looking for a place to start?
The question to ask is not what and how but why and for whom. It is not just where to save but also where to invest. That is what digital transformation is about: goals, risks and tangible benefits for people in a holistic perspective.
If you don’t have a specific transformation in mind, start with how you can create a better experience for your customers and let them guide your development. Look for opportunities to report on customer satisfaction, the amount of time customers spend in your sales lifecycle or how many of them are repeating business as facilitated by your new digital efforts, for example.
Three Digital Business Value Takeaways
Each digital transformation is unique. Thus, the goals you set for improvement will be unique to your initiative, but reporting their success to your company to ensure trust in future initiatives can be acquired with three steps:
- Include a few quick wins to tackle early on in the transformation to show digital business value and build confidence among decision-makers
- Tackle at least one specific issue known to be a business challenge to show how serious you are about solving company problems
- Orchestrate a variety of reports for a broad range of business facets to demonstrate value
If you plan to report how the progress of your digital transformation positively affects other facets of your business, it’ll be nearly impossible to deny funding for future initiatives.
Of course, a digital transformation is only as good as your ability to execute a dynamic plan. For help structuring your plan, download our technology roadmap and create a robust initiative to transform your business.