“Digital transformation” describes how the development and omnipresence of digital technology impacts the way people and organizations solve tasks.

Every organization today that wants to stay ahead or keep up with its industry has embraced digital transformation—but in varying degrees.

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It’s clear that your organization needs to embrace digital transformation if it wants to stay on top, or even to stay alive. In order to kickstart things, you need to ask yourself three essential questions:

  1. Why do you need to transform?
  2. What do you need to transform?
  3. How can you transform?

With these questions providing you the right mindset, let’s dive into the recipe of how you can get in on digital transformation:

1. Establish a digital transformation task force

A horizontal approach to enter the digital transformation train is to establish a dedicated task force. This band of merry men (and women) are entrusted with the great responsibility that is to become a “digitally mature” organization and survive the next decades.

The task force would ideally be comprised of team members from different departments of your organization—like consulting, operations, sales, finance, and legal. The group should map out needs, research solutions, find innovation platforms, build bridges between departments and between the organization and several technologies.

The task force must discover what your customers and your competitors are doing—even businesses from other industries.

A centerpiece of digital transformation is that every company will become a tech company, and therefore the task force must also research available and emerging technologies to leverage your organization in new and hitherto unforeseen ways.

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2. Involve stakeholders and leadership

This is a top-down approach, counting on the effect of eminent leadership on the rest of the organization.

As most organizations tend to have some form of hierarchy, it makes sense to bring the upper echelons to “your side,” thereby introducing guidelines to every nook and cranny of your organization.

The point is to get the decision-makers and money-wielders to bet on your horse—namely digital transformation. And one of the best methods of doing this is to provide them with a business case.

Tell them all about the advantages and disadvantages, possibilities, risks, technologies, and provide a roadmap. Do a thorough job and you’ll maximize your chance of success.

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3. Introduce modern, organization-wide principles

Finally, a bottom-up approach may be the right course for you. Carefully introducing modern, organization-wide principles to boost digital transformation is a more HR friendly way of doing things, so involving your HR department is probably a good idea.

Making your co-workers and teammates organically start working with digitally disrupting technologies and work processes is a smart and gentle way of doing things. And as you already are in the landscape of HR, you should utilize well-known methods like Agile and Lean to inject some turbo into the process.

As mentioned, enabling your co-workers to start working naturally with new and exciting digital solutions will eventually make them care about and contribute to developing new and smart technology in their own right. Which again will serve to fuel your lead in the digital transformation game.

Empower your colleagues to empower your business.

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First published 18 February 2019, updated 16 August 2022.

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