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The Five Key Building Blocks of Digital Transformation

In past articles, we described what digital transformation is about and how it helps businesses evolve and prepare for the future.

Now the question arises, what makes a successful digital transformation? What are the important elements to consider when embarking on a transformation journey?

Five key building blocks have been identified that will help shape the organization’s digital transformation, whose success lies in how each of these elements is implemented correctly.

1. End-to-end customer experience

Digital transformations must start with the customer. As such, the business should take an active role in defining its journey toward the desired output. From how they’ll first identify you, your company, your product, and your services – to how they can best understand your company and decide whether they want to do business with you.

It’s also important to think about the experience from both sides: How will you explore and learn more about the customer? Who will help them along their journey? When deciding, do they have flexibility or choices around their product and services? How and where do cross-selling and upselling become part of the journey?

2. Cross-functional leadership alignment

Change not only begins from within but also from the top. If an organization is to succeed in its digital transformation, its leaders must take the helm and empower their teams to make the change with them. Leaders must also foster a teamwork culture in which everyone works together to achieve the goal of digital transformation. This also helps establish a conducive atmosphere where team members are not afraid to address tough questions and work together according to the best interest of the customer and the company.

3. Agile planning

Ideally, any plans set by the organization would be a success and the process, resources spent, and other factors are well-predicted which entails little to no impact on the business. Unfortunately, it is not often the case in reality as circumstances beyond one’s control can threaten to derail such plans. In such uncertainties, it pays dividends for the business to have agility in planning, allowing the organization to implement alternatives without hurting the bottom line.

4. Multiple stream investments

Normally, businesses would be hesitant to provide funding for certain projects due to the commitment and costs involved that they are unwilling to shoulder. However, in digital transformation, businesses are encouraged to allocate resources to as many projects as they deem promising as far as providing tangible value is concerned. However, in return, the people behind the projects should be able to show progress in what they have accomplished, otherwise, the resources provided to them will be rerouted to other more deserving projects.

This approach allows for the support of more ideas and the creation of a culture of creativity and innovation, without worrying about having a fully flushed-out financial business case for it.

5. Value-stream mapping

A value stream comprises the company's steps to deliver a product or a service to the end customer. Value streams act as a guide and a governance mechanism across different areas related to the transformation such as customer experience, design thinking, strategic planning, investment allocation, delivery roadmap, and KPIs, that define the overall success of an organization’s transformation. Optimizing value streams through value stream mapping helps businesses establish their north star enabling their leaders and teams to stay focused on the ultimate prize.


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