Iam often asked to explain what Digital Transformation is about. That could be done in 3 min but risk is high to lose audience. In 30 s as a pitch elevator, impossible mission

So I propose to take our time and provide a comprehensive overview of the Digital Transformation from a series of articles.

Let’s get started with what Digital Transformation is not.

It’s not a standard, nor a universal process. So, each of us can define its scope, its means, its goals.

It’s not something we have just started, we have all been practicing digital transformation for a while. It’s a continuous process whose progress can be measured considering rising market standards. We then talk about digital maturity, which may seem a bit condescending a concept and shall be handled with humility.

It’s not something we can postpone. Our societies keep transforming at an accelerating pace. New technologies (Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, 3D Printing) provide innovating products and services and disrupt many markets. No one can escape present reality nor our close future, both exciting and rich in opportunities. Yes, Nokia, Erikson, Blackberry, Sony did not find the last 10 years that much exciting, moving from 80% to 10% share on the cumulated phone market. Apple, Samsung, Huawei probably found the same period more interesting. New technologies appearing so fast commit us to work on Digital Transformation as a whole and without any delay.

So let’s try to see what’s beyond a technical description such as “Digital Transformation is the globalised integration of digital technologies into all activities”.

We propose to define the Digital Transformation thanks to its features.

Digital Transformation is in the service of the executive strategy but is no substitute for it. All the company’s departments are concerned and, in the end, it’s a global process. It should be sponsored by top executives but can’t be self-sufficient and is not in itself a company strategy. Digital Transformation is to highlight and help designing the management’s vision.

Digital Transformation contributes to create value. Creating value should be the guiding thread to prioritize projects, and avoid either fashion trends or abortive proof of concept projects. First projects to support Digital Transformation are usually technical or web concerned projects. What those projects provide should be evaluated objectively. “Upgrading” a software is no self-sufficient reason to invest, neither as “being visible on internet”. So Digital Transformation should avoid hidden agendas and dispersion. As we shall focus on value creation, sometimes old but operational systems shall remain working.

Digital Transformation can prevent value destruction. It can be a whistle-blower to prevent and reduce exposure to disruption risk. Digital Transition can achieve this role as its scope goes beyond technology and deals with external stakeholders and ecosystem. You will then have to take a look outside, meet with pairs in order to act proactively rather than suffer from innovation. You shall work with Start-ups rather than fear them.

Digital Transformation can support emergence of skilled people, not acknowledged as high potential so far. From any project team, one or two members might surprise you. So Digital Transformation shall be managed to encourage emerging talents, which is a prerequisite to create new ideas which in return will support innovative concepts and create value. The issue deals with organisation and HR management.

Digital Transformation shall be progressive to take into account the work teams’ bandwidth. To Build projects often adds to current work and no one has infinite work capacity. Digital Transformation progress shall be measurable and measured, hence explained to teams. It shall federate teams and not exclude anybody. It concerns all the employees whose needs are different and apprehension legitimate. The issue is to escort change.

DDigital Transformation shall be consistent as it’s a global and transversal concern, following a vision. And because nothing is free in the real world, it shall be funded and managed.

So, in a nutshell: Digital in any matter yes, but to create value and movement.

In the next article, we will see how to get started, because it’s high time to.

To conclude in a light and bucolic way, let’s try this. We, XPR Transition, are dedicated to get our customers started and to keep them going. We are pretty good at transforming a cliff into available human size hills. To hike, it’s much more pleasant, isn’t it?