Enterprise digital transformation is a perpetual journey for organizations looking to use technology to change and optimize their everyday operations.
With digital transformation initiatives, organizations continuously examine all facets of their business—supply chain, workflows, organization charts, customer experience, value proposition—and try to improve through the incorporation of digital technology and new processes.
Holistic, enterprise digital transformation isn’t just about technology, however. For such a large initiative to succeed, organizations need to ensure that people have change-ready mindsets; have new processes by which they can ideate, create, and maintain a new portfolio of solutions that align back to a digital transformation strategy.
Risk aversion: Businesses and employees can be highly risk-averse. This is natural, no one wants to fail. However, being risk-averse can be a greater risk than not. Organizations tend to self-impose a risk-aversion tax on themselves, which can cause them to miss out on improving performance, in some cases, by nearly one-third.
Regulations: Some industries are highly regulated, making it difficult to innovate or move quickly with new software solutions.
Fear of change: The people in companies can, understandably, be reluctant to change processes, organizational structure, and new technologies.
Poor infrastructure: Digital transformation initiatives can be bogged down by mission-critical systems and processes that are older and too brittle to support new ways of business. In fact, 52% of IT departments spend at least 70% of their budget maintaining legacy systems rather than focusing on innovative solutions, according to the Win with Customer Experiences survey.
Where does digital transformation fail?
Digital transformation projects fail when organizations lack a cross-functional program and program managers that support the goals of the digital strategy. Program managers ensure that the digital transformation strategy is carried in a uniform way across every department and that there is a repeatable and scalable process.
Organizations tend to view digital transformation as having a finite end point. This line of thinking plays a large factor as to why digital transformation projects fail. Organizations need a digital execution plan that aligns with a perpetual strategy in which organizations set goals, accomplish them, reset, and repeat.
How do you achieve digital transformation?
You need a digital execution plan, of which software development is at the center. Software (or applications) fuel the processes and functions of every department—HR, finance, the warehouse, sales, the supply chain, marketing, etc.—which means application development is at the center of digital transformation.
Slow application planning and delivery cycles can hurt any organization’s attempt to create transformational software. Digital transformation is not just about technology. It requires a holistic, cross-functional approach to software development.
What is digital execution?
Digital execution is taking your digital transformation strategy and implementing it across your entire business. It’s a new means of developing software that affects every aspect of your business: people, processes, application portfolio, and your platforms or technology.
How to create a digital execution plan?
To create a digital execution plan that is agreed upon and uniformly executed across departments, organizations need to:
Place program owners or managers that empower collaboration across departments
Determine software development practices that can be adopted across departments
Digital execution requires going through three major stages: Start, Structure, and Scale. Each stage has its own set of objectives, all with the aim of turning the application development function into a scalable and repeatable process.
What are the 4 P's of digital transformation?
In order to create software that aligns with digital transformation goals, organizations need to ensure the right people are using the right processes to create the right portfolio of applications with the right application development platform and other technologies.
The people of an organization are absolutely critical to the success of a digital transformation program. A diversity of skills and experience lend itself well to creating new types of software.
Who should be on your team?
User experience professionals
Subject matter experts
Establish team + train
Enable product owners
Go beyond developers
Divide + Train
Add program owner
Cover dev process
Train at scale
Building software in a cross-functional manner requires a new means of collaborating. Organizations need to consider different methods of developing and iterating that go beyond waterfall or Agile. Lean, BizDevOps, and Startup are all different development methodologies that encourage faster delivery and more collaborative approaches.
Set up management
Establish open + constant feedback
Remember testing + deployment processes
Establish functional + technical governance
Define your processes
Build design systems
Own your governance + methodology
Deploy at scale
For digital transformation projects to succeed, organizations need to ensure that the solutions being built always lead back to the goals and vision of the strategy. This starts with identifying the right projects and ensuring they are high-value, quick-win initiatives. On top of this, a diverse application portfolio that addresses different use cases that reach many different departments is also vital to success.
Focus on apps that can go live quickly
Know their worth
Plan what’s next
Prioritize use cases
Create process to measure value
Balance use cases
Define planning + funding models
Digital transformation projects can often result in the adoption of many commercial off-the-shelf solutions that can, when combined, bog down an entire IT infrastructure. Organizations need to adopt an application development platform that brings the entire enterprise into the software development lifecycle, integrates with their technology stack, and is primed for future tech trends.
Since 2005, Mendix has been helping companies create repeatable, scalable ways to achieve digital transformation goals. Mendix’s Digital Execution Practice—along with our enterprise low-code application development platform—has helped 4,000 customers set their digital business vision, execute, and measure the value of their digital transformation projects.