After a year of intense disruption and change the subject of digital transformation is more relevant than ever, as organisations look to evolve their digital strategies in a way that drives long-term value and growth.

However, while most organisations are currently engaged in programmes of digital transformation, it can sometimes seem that though everyone is using the same words, no one is speaking the same language – and without a shared understanding of what you are doing and why, your initiative is unlikely to succeed.

Box UK Managing Consultant Andrew Beaney explored these topics and more in a recent session for Wales Tech Week, ‘From digital transformation to digital evolution: how to embed change and accelerate value’.

Drawing on Andrew’s extensive experience supporting organisations across the public and private sector in their digital transformation journeys, the session was full of practical tips to help organisations achieve their strategic goals – check out the on demand recording below, and read on for highlights of the discussion.

Watch the recording

Here’s what you missed

Some of the key highlights from this insightful presentation include:

There is a clear drive towards digital transformation

The concept of digital transformation itself has evolved greatly in the last few years, accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many organisations have responded to the crisis with emergency digital solutions, and are now facing the challenge of transforming their current digital estate into a sustainable, effective ecosystem.

As we start to emerge from the pandemic, organisations are also facing increased expectations from a consumer base that now sees digital channels as the primary means of interaction, and has been informed by the exceptional experiences being delivered by leaders across a range of industries. Not to mention too the added considerations brought about by remote and distributed setups, and the need to build flexibility and accessibility into established ways of working.

Alongside enabling organisations to address these challenges, Andrew also highlighted a number of additional benefits that can be achieved through a strategic programme of digital transformation and evolution – including freeing up efficiencies from old ways of working, making processes and procedures seamless and friction-free, and ultimately delivering extra value for customers and for the business.

All of which makes a strong case for transformation, whether you’ve already taken steps on the journey or are looking to kick-start the process.

This is not a textbook exercise… but there are steps you can take

Your digital transformation journey will be personal to your organisation, and is something that you need to understand across a number of different axes, to enable you to do the right thing and deliver the right level of digital evolution for your organisation.

However, while the details of what needs to change in your organisation – and how this will be implemented and embedded – will be unique to you, there is a common process that can be applied to guide you through the initial phases of your journey.

Andrew broke this process down into six key steps:

Steps to digital evolution

1. Talk to people

The first step is to talk to people and, more importantly, to listen to people. By gathering evidence about the changes people require you’ll not only capture the information needed to inform your strategy, you’ll also lay the foundations for organisation-wide buy-in to your digital initiatives.

When it comes to who you should be speaking to, Andrew also emphasised the need for a breadth of representation, which may require different approaches to how you capture information. For example, when Box UK was engaged to help NHS Wales Informatics Service streamline and standardise their public-facing websites, activities ranged from conducting a vision workshop with key internal stakeholders, to analysing hundreds of responses from an end-user survey.

Representative stakeholder groups

2. Identify where you need to go

There are many ways to communicate where you need to go with your digital strategy, and one format we use frequently at Box UK are ‘as-is’ and ‘to-be’ scenarios – starting by understanding your current strengths and weaknesses, before defining the desired state you’re aiming to reach.

Crucially, the process of building your as-is and to-be scenarios is as important as the final outputs, as this enables teams to build a shared understanding of what needs to be achieved and why. You’ll also be able to agree on meaningful goals, objectives and metrics to measure how well you’re doing, and to keep measuring as you go forward.

3. Create a buzz

Building enthusiasm for your digital initiatives is crucial to ensure they’re sustainable for the long-term, particularly as we look to move away from the emergency mode of the pandemic. Andrew suggested finding ‘champions’ to lead your change across every level of your organisation, from leadership support to those on the ground who can report the day-to-day successes and build a case for others to follow.

Andrew also referred to the ‘Rogers’ model to highlight the importance of bringing people on board.

Diagram of Rogers model

Roger’s Innovation Diffusion model

This model illustrates the make-up of organisations according to people’s response to change, with an estimated 85% of people resistant to change compared to just 15% that are change advocates – making it vital that organisations draw upon this support to allay any concerns and drive change forward.

4. Prioritise

Unless you’re one of those (very) rare organisations with unlimited time and budget, you’ll need to prioritise the tasks you’ve identified so far – requiring a pragmatic and even slightly ruthless approach about what you can and can’t do.

Citing David B. Clarke who said “As everything becomes important, everything becomes equally unimportant”, Andrew highlighted the need to understand what truly matters, and to whom. To help with this he also introduced the Boston Matrix tool, which plots importance against difficulty to identify which tasks should be prioritised to deliver greatest value, most quickly.

Boston Matrix

5. Manage the change

Change management is a vast topic and could fill a whole talk on its own, so Andrew focused on a particular model used frequently at Box UK called the Lippitt/Knoster change model.

Lippitt/Knoster Change model

This model shows how a number of different elements have to be in place to have a chance for change to stick and be sustainable in an organisation. If any of these elements are missing then there will be negative consequences and the transformation will likely fail – hence the importance of building a shared understanding in all of these areas.

6. Measure the change

Finally, Andrew addressed the question of how you know when you’ve ‘finished’ with your digital transformation. Measuring the impact of your changes is key here, using the goals and KPIs you set in the earlier stages of your journey, and you should be measuring regularly as part of an iterative and incremental approach.

Of course, as the title of the talk suggested the idea of completing your digital transformation is somewhat misleading – instead, Andrew highlighted how you should be aiming for digital ‘business as usual’, and evolving your services in response to new requests, insight and other opportunities.

The outlook

As we emerge from a period of huge disruption, where online channels have been brought to the fore, the topic of digital transformation and evolution is more relevant than ever. Andrew’s talk covered a number of techniques to drive transformation within your organisation and enable you to compete with the experiences being delivered by digital leaders – and if you want to find out more about how Box UK can help you, take a look at our case studies, and get in touch to discuss your specific challenges and goals.