How to Execute a Digital Transformation: 9 Factors for Success

9 Factors for Actually Executing Digital Transformation Strategy

Ask 12 different companies how they define and execute their digital transformation strategies and you will get 12 different answers. But even if their definitions differ, they can all agree on the importance of digital transformation.

Even if a company knows the importance of building a digital transformation strategy, it may have a hard time executing it. According to McKinsey, just 16% of organizations say they are succeeding with their digital transformation goals.

By combining people, processes, and a low-code platform, you can avoid common pitfalls that besiege most companies and successfully implement your digital transformation strategy.

3 Levels of Digital Transformation Strategy

A successful digital transformation strategy is made up of three different levels: strategic, programmatic, and application. Executing each level successfully will help you reach your overall goal.

1. The Strategic Level

The strategic level is all about establishing a vision. It involves:

  • Evaluating and proving the big-picture impact a digital transformation program can have on your organization
  • Assessing the risk that comes with such an undertaking
  • Identifying resources that mitigate those risks to ensure success

2. The Programmatic Level

Once you have a vision of a digital transformation initiative, it’s time to figure out how to execute it. The program level focuses on the implementation of the strategy, from achieving and proving the ROI of such a big undertaking, to understanding how the benefits are realized and communicated throughout the organization.

3. The Project Level

After you’ve gotten buy-in from the top and set up guidelines and budgets, it’s time to roll up your sleeves. The project level is where hands-on work happens. If all goes according to plan, the team responsible for the application will deliver a final product that meets the needs of the organization and contributes to its ongoing success.

9 Influencing Factors of Digital Transformation Strategy

We can drill down even further within each level to understand the factors that contribute to a successful digital transformation strategy. Having each of these elements can help ensure that your company can execute their digital transformation.

The Strategic Level

Within the strategic level, influencing factors include:

  • Owner vision
  • Organizational footprint
  • A broad use case-focused application portfolio

1. Owner vision

This influencing factor is not about the vision for what your business could be after successful digital execution, but it’s about the owner of that vision. Digital transformation starts here. You need the right executive or leader with the right vision for everything to go right.

2. Organizational footprint

We believe the only way you succeed at change is through business and IT collaboration. This influencing factor is taking that vision we talked about above, seeing how it affects the entire organization, and how the entire organization can achieve those strategic objectives with the use of low-code.

3. A broad use case-focused application portfolio

A rich and diverse application portfolio is essential for digital execution success. A business that only concentrates on building apps of innovation or solely updating and maintaining systems of record is bound to have a digital transformation program never take off. Addressing different use cases lets companies run their businesses efficiently, enhance customer experience, and bring in new business while maintaining agility and stability.

The Programmatic Level

At the programmatic level, the influencing factors include:

  • A program owner
  • An architect
  • Measurable ROI

4. A program owner

If the C-suite executive creates and maintains the vision, the program owner fosters and activates that vision. This person is someone who understands the vision and has the authority and experience to mandate change.

5. An architect

The architect is the person who is responsible for connecting IT and business through guardrails and guidelines centered around IT infrastructure, security, data, and deployment. An enterprise architect works across departments to design technical capabilities and ensure that they happen in an efficient way.

6. Measurable ROI
Ah, ROI. It’s the measure of success for many endeavors. This influencing factor is all about proving a return on investment in your digital transformation strategy. Proving value can ensure that you get the time, money, and resources necessary to make meaningful change in the way your organization works.

The Project Level

And finally, on the project level, the influencing factors include:

  • The product owner
  • The team
  • The app delivery

7. The product owner

A product owner differs from the program owner, listed above. A product owner knows the product is a bridge between IT and the business to ensure that the team is going in the right direction and meeting deadlines.

8. The team

The team consists of the people building the apps in your portfolio. These aren’t just the people sitting in the R&D department. Your team should include people from every aspect of the organization. They should all have one characteristic in common: the innate desire to solve business problems. Keeping a team small allows them to work fast, and it’s even better if they’re doing so in an agile workflow.

9. Successful app(s) delivery

Delivering a completed app requires the team to follow the guidelines set by the vanguard architect so that they meet the requirements from both a technical and business-value point of view. With this influencing factor, you’re ensuring that the team is building the right apps that can deliver high impact across the business.

You’ll notice one thing among all of these factors: Not one is about technology. Change starts with your people, how they collaborate with each other, how they adopt and adapt to different processes, and how they prioritize what to make.

A technology platform shouldn’t be the driver of change; it should augment the people and processes that you put in place to execute your digital transformation strategy.

Learn how you can take digital transformation and turn it into a more tangible strategy in the Digital Execution Manual. This is a step-by-step guide on how you, along with Mendix, can activate the right makers across your organization to accelerate the development lifecycle and start delivering the right applications.

This post was originally published on June 27, 2019 but has been updated.