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How to Create a Digital Transformation Roadmap to Success

Copado DevSecOps - Blog SeriesOriginally published by New Context.

The digital transformation roadmap needs to center on alignment and integration. All stakeholders need to be aligned to the same goal. All technologies require integration to minimize the number of rollouts necessary. Many leaders take a piecemeal approach that results in a segmented program. This can create holes, especially when it comes to security.

An estimated 73% of digital transformations fail to provide genuine business value to organizations. Typically, this is attributable to one of four common causes:

  1. Technical debt, or making the decision to deploy an easy software solution early at the expense of cost-effectiveness later
  2. Goals not driven by actionable data
  3. Overlooking compliance and security in an effort to speed to market
  4. Failing to view the business as a whole and missing key segments in the transformation

A good digital transformation roadmap eliminates these and other oversights with a holistic, collaborative approach. Stakeholders, technology, software, and processes align themselves with one common goal—to modernize the operations of a business. Through integration, the transformation is more likely to succeed and meet the goals of the company.  

5 Basics of a Digital Transformation Roadmap

Any digital transformation roadmap needs to be designed around eliminating issues by ensuring clear goal-making, communication, and collaboration. Here are five critical components of a successful transition.

1. Gather and analyze data

Data is the lifeblood of an organization. It is what will tell leaders where they underperform, as well as places where they should double efforts. Data is often underutilized because it’s not stored in a central location or analyzed with any effectiveness. The first step to any digital journey is consolidating the data and using it to make informed decisions that drive genuine change.

2. Make CIOs and CTOs part of the big picture

For a long time, internal tech leaders were a bit segmented from upper management. Their jobs were considered too technical for a lot of collaboration with other departments. Meanwhile, they may have been viewed as lacking in the organizational leadership skills needed to provide insight into the overall development of a company.

This could not be further from the truth. The recent crisis with COVID-19 offers clear evidence of this. Almost 75% of CIOs reported they became central to helping senior leaders of organizations manage the crisis, not just from a tech perspective, but for operations and business resilience. Two-thirds of these CIOs gained insight into operations that they can use to aid leadership in the future. Based on these findings, it’s clear that CIOs and CTOs need to become more significant participants in overall business strategy.

CIOs, CTOs and CDOs need to be integrated at the highest level of the business. They should use their skills to make decisions that impact the big picture. By making them innovators responsible for core parts of the company, management can make decisions driven by real data, actionable analytics, and improved operational insight.Post Covid-19 Recovery Report - Copado

3. Establish insight-driven goals

Transformation for transformation’s sake is never useful. Every goal should be tied to an existing problem, and the only way to get to the root of those problems is to gain feedback, not just from management, but from front line workers, customers, and other key parties. Also, it’s not just enough to state a surface goal—it’s essential to look at the reasoning behind the goal.

For example, a digital transformation effort may center on establishing a remote workforce. However, leaders must ask themselves what they hope to accomplish with this. Is the goal to improve the customer experience? Or is it to retain and recruit more skilled workers? Is it to save money on maintaining office spaces? Is it more of an overarching goal which centers on improving productivity, while lowering costs and making operations scalable? While all these may be factors, usually, one reason is more important than any other. That information will help leaders prioritize what types of systems and technology they need to focus on to meet their ultimate goal.

4. Build a transformation-ready culture

Workers must be aligned to the transformation from day one. Building a culture of responsibility, where workers take ownership of the program, goes a long way towards driving success. Companies should have the ability to trace errors back to their infrastructure and help individuals understand where it went wrong.

Proactive engagement aligns everyone to the same goal. Communication helps them understand why the changes are taking place, as well as their role in the initiative. The employee is empowered to involve themselves in the project and seek out guidance as needed. Essentially, this shifts the paradigm from an “us versus them” situation to one that’s simply “us.”

5. Leverage agile project management

Agile management of digital transformation builds in the flexibility an organization needs to complete a project from beginning to end without running out of resources. It’s comprised of feedback cycles and sprints where tasks are completed based on ever-changing information. After each sprint—or completed task segment—stakeholders provide feedback on what can be improved. This process allows flexibility and ensures organizations can pivot when initiatives underperform.Leverage agile project management - Copado

Establishing Partnerships for Digital Transformation Success

One common barrier in digital transformation is security. Almost 80% of global executives list cybersecurity as their top risk management priority, but this is complicated by the acceleration of digital initiatives due to the coronavirus. Security that’s driven by transparency, auditability, and observability must become central parts of the total process.

Transparency is about making the solution easily consumable. People in the organization may use it in a way that was never envisioned—and that’s a good thing if those changes are made to achieve business goals. Transparency empowers people to create their own solutions with the technology available to them. With this transparency comes the need to build in auditability and observability. Changes should be welcome, but not without the durability delivered by immutable logs and other checks and balances.

A solid infrastructure will also help to support automation and security orchestration. This minimizes manual steps while allowing for adaptability in the process. That adaptability will depend on how thoroughly technology is integrated. Working with the right partner can enable leaders to add their security to their program in a way that creates a turnkey solution.

Integration is vital in creating a digital transformation roadmap. With stakeholders, technology, software, and security aligned, objectives are reached faster with minimal interruptions. This proactive approach ensures system integrity and speeds transformation, even in the most challenging environments.