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  • Writer's pictureMatthew Warnock-Parkes

How to start Digital Transformation

In a previous blog, we explained what Digital Transformation is. We covered its value and some of the barriers you might need to overcome. But a key question remains for many organisations, how do you start a digital transformation?


Some assumptions

So, let's assume you have some of the business essentials below:

  • A solid understanding of your purpose, with something like a problem statement.

  • You’ve done all the essential market validation.

  • You understand your total available market and your target market.

  • Your message is clear on your unique selling point, and you have something like a unique positioning statement.


So where to start?

Well, if you have that, we believe you should start with the future:

  • What’s coming, new trends on the horizon and beyond.

  • Current trends that are going to grow in the future.

  • How the needs and expectations of your audience will change.

In the future, there will be opportunities for new audiences as well as delivering on your core purpose with your existing audience. However, there will be significant risks too. If you fail to understand the impact of a future digital world, you could become less attractive than a fresher solution. You could also lose valuable market share to a new or more adaptable competitor.


Gaining insight into future consumer needs will empower you to create a strong vision of where you want this transformation to take you. Everything else, targets, business needs and your roadmap for getting there derives from that.



But wait

Now you might be thinking, you need to look at your internal make-up first, review the tools you use, look at your current strategy, map skills and gain stakeholder input. Well, that might seem like a good idea at first, but there is little point changing anything if you don’t know who you are going to need to be in the future. For example, who your primary audience will be and what your services and products are going to need to look like will impact your internal operations.

Of course you will need to update legacy systems, adopt new ways of working and grow the competencies of your staff. All of this needs to be informed by your future vision, not the problems of today.

The targets and goals you set for your transformation will also need to be based on the future world you are heading towards.

“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them”

— ALBERT EINSTEIN

Developing a roadmap

In future posts, we’ll talk about what needs to go into your roadmap, how you get from a to b, but you can start thinking like this:

  1. What is your vision of the future world in which you want to thrive?

  2. What does it look like, what new customers are there, what experiences will your current customers be expecting?

  3. What new technology is coming that will enable you to deliver your core purpose more effectively?

  4. What changes will you need to embrace to get there in the Macro and the Micro?

  5. How are you going to everyone ready to collaborate more than they ever have on your journey?

Wait, what about being Agile?

So you’ve heard people speak the praise of Agile Project Methodology, it is an iterative approach to delivering projects requirements derived from Agile Manifesto published in 2001.

We are going to cover where Agile sits within digital transformation in a future blog, but for now, consider these three points:

  • Scanning your future is the beginning; you will need to be adaptable along your journey.

  • Don’t confuse Agile (upper case A) and agile (lower case a); one is a project methodology; the other is an adjective.

  • Agile can be a valuable part of digital transformation, but it does not equal digital transformation.

We are doing great now; why change?

To answer this, we are simply going to give you two quotes from CEO’s of companies that were thriving in market value before plummeting in market share because they failed to see the changing needs in consumer behaviour

“Is Netflix a threat? Is the Albanian army going to take over the world?”

— JEFFERY BEWKES, CEO TIME WARNER, 2010

“ I don’t ever see them being a real threat, downloadable music is just a fad and people will always want the atmosphere and experience of a music store rather than online shopping.” — STEVE KNOT, CEO HMV 2002

How can we tell how future trends will affect us?

To help start Digital Transformation, we offer a piece of work we call, Blue Horizons;

  • We embark on a period of discovery with you and find the trends and market shifts that are going to affect you,

  • We show what fits in with your brand and your key demographics,

  • We look at what has the most value, what are the dependencies, what resources, skills and training you’ll need.

We then put this all on a roadmap for you and then, if you need help with it, we work with you on business change throughout the whole process. Find out more about our Blue Horizon and Digital Transformation work or just come and say hi…

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