A decade ago, management consultants warned business leaders against pursuing information technology (IT) projects for the sake of tech upgrades alone.  A company’s vision, objectives, and needs were to be the basis of all projects. In contrast, technology is a crucial driver of business needs for today’s companies.  It influences user expectations and supports innovation in so many ways that most organizations must undergo digital transformations to stay viable in the marketplace.  Here are five key elements for a successful digital transformation journey.

1) Establish Transformation Goals Based On Company Strengths

Useful transformations don’t happen overnight even when the latest technology is involved.  A simple way of digitally revamping processes and business models to deliver robust customer experiences is to start with an assessment of the company’s strengths.  Those strong areas represent the products and services where the company will get the most benefit from a digital transformation. After determining which digital processes and services to use, company leadership should set measurable goals for success that align with the company’s strategic objectives.  Those goals help business leaders to define the value of that particular portion of the digital transformation effort. The company can use the initiative’s clear value to guide the next steps along the journey to innovation through digital transformation.

2) Take Iterative Steps Along the Digital Transformation Journey

Technology is steadily changing and improving, and a company’s digital transformation journey must evolve with those changes.  How does an organization implement system upgrades while requirements are fluid? Business leaders are encouraged to use the best practices of agile project management to accomplish small yet usable digital transformations through iterative, incremental development. Once company leadership and management are satisfied with the results of those small transformations, they can scale them up or down to accommodate other areas of the business as needed.

3) Get an Enterprise View of Impacts of New Transformation Initiatives

Nothing is worse than implementing a new technology process or application that degrades existing functionality.  Businesses count on IT tools to help move their companies forward and not to eat away at their competitive advantage by breaking business models that were working satisfactorily before tech upgrades.  Business leaders can avoid these adverse scenarios by performing an enterprise-wide evaluation of possible impacts of chosen digital transformation efforts. If managers know the effect that a digital transformation will have on each business area, they can mitigate risks by making modifications early.

4) Salvage and Modify Current IT Systems, Processes, and Business Models