Digital Transformation Manager: Who’s in Charge of Your Digital Transformation?

Who’s running your digital transformation program? A Chief Digital Officer? A Chief Transformation Officer? Digital Transformation Manager? Transformation Manager? Perhaps salaries and responsibilities differ from title to title, but at the end of the day, the goal remains the same: to help usher an organization into its digital-first age.

Foundry’s 2021 Digital Business Study can tell you a lot about what digital transformation managers need to focus on for success. A digital transformation program is expensive and expansive. The survey finds that organizations are spending an average of $16.5M on digital initiatives. It also requires someone to oversee it all. Every aspect of such a large undertaking needs to be considered: What’s the reason, what’s the scope, and how do you measure success?

The person that owns your company’s digital transformation program has a lot of priorities to balance and a lot of blockers that can nullify those millions of dollars spent. Let’s dive into them.

Digital transformation manager’s responsibilities

The role of a digital transformation manager has never been more important. Foundry’s survey reveals that only 9% of organizations surveyed have no plans to go digital-first. This should come as no surprise, given the shift to digital and remote working since early 2020. Also unsurprising is that 61% of IT decision-makers ascribe the pandemic as being the main driver in forcing them into their digital-first strategies.

What goes into these strategies? Remote work and universal aspiration for optimized worker efficiency are driving a lot of digital transformation programs. To get there, a digital transformation manager has to balance these top priorities:

Digital transformation program roadblocks

Just as a digital transformation strategy is an organization-wide initiative, so too are the problems that come up in trying to get that strategy off the ground.

According to the Foundry report, digital transformation managers’ main challenges revolve around too many competing priorities, lack of budget, and complex IT infrastructures.

The issues don’t stop there either. Digital transformation managers not only have to contend with technology and financial constraints, but personnel issues are usually the biggest blocker to business transformation success. Lack of staff and skills is detrimental. And even when organizations have resources and they are up-skilled, they might not all be rowing in the same direction. This is indicated by 40% of organizations that cite resistance to change as the biggest drag, followed up by organizational inertia (31%).

Digital transformation manager’s playbook

There are two major things a digital transformation manager needs to succeed and overcome those challenges.

The first is simply having a roadmap. Plotting out how to achieve those digital transformation goals is what 41% of IT decision-makers say is crucial to digital business success.

Part of that roadmap includes leaning heavily on technology and IT skills needs assessments. Doing such an assessment can also help better allocate budget. From the Applied Computing and Informatics Journal: Up to 80% of IT budget is spent on managing legacy applications alone. A Gartner report indicates that companies can yield 30% in savings just by cutting out unused software licenses. Doing such a technology assessment can really free up some budget for those higher priorities.

Dotted along that digital transformation roadmap should be markers that denote success metrics, another key to successful digital transformation strategies.

The second critical component of success is how digital transformation managers interact with technology vendors and partners. As stated earlier, digital transformation is more than adopting new technology. Vendors need to recognize this and digital transformation managers should be demanding that their technology vendors of choice help them develop a digital transformation strategy. They should also lean on their partners to help implement different technologies and processes that can help.

Digital Execution Manual

Mendix has always understood the importance of not just selling a platform. In order for our customers succeed at what they want to do digitally, we know that low-code development is just the tip of the iceberg.

We created a Digital Execution Practice which helps organizations change the way they bring solutions to market, using low-code development to do it. We’ve codified this experience into a helpful Digital Execution Manual that arms digital transformation managers with real-world tactics that help them with their digital transformation strategies. No matter their title.