s software really eating the world? As Marc Andreesen famously stated back in 2011. Perhaps not literally, but the essence of his message is clear: For businesses to survive and thrive in the digital era, they must think like a software company, plan like a software company and behave like a software company.
This series of blogs will explore some of the key challenges organizations are facing in their journey toward digital transformation. We will examine the new disruptive forces that are reshaping industries and markets, influencing customer behaviors, and intensifying corporate competitiveness. Future installments will include best practice guidelines for becoming a successful digital business, insights on how software is becoming an important differentiator, and tips for building high-performance technology teams.
For businesses to survive and thrive in the digital era, they must think like a software company, plan like a software company and behave like a software company.
Start with a clear vision
Digital transformation presents organizations with the ultimate in change management. It impacts not only industry structures and strategic positioning, but it affects all levels of an organization, including its extended supply chain. Technology certainly plays a crucial role in enabling such change, but technology alone does not guarantee transformation.
The journey starts with establishing a sound strategy and clear vision that embodies the core values ingrained in your organization’s leadership and talent. Without the involvement, cooperation, and feedback from stakeholders across the enterprise, any digital transformation will struggle to maintain its momentum.
As digital trends continue to reshape markets and industries, business leaders should be re-evaluating their strategic direction and organizational approach, making sure they are well-positioned to seize the opportunities of an interlinked, software-driven economy:
Build a digital culture
There is no single blueprint for digital transformation that can be applied to every scenario or business. It’s unique to the core values embedded within each business. However, one thing is clear: Cultural change needs to be addressed before the transformational process can begin. Following these best practice principles can help streamline your efforts to drive this important change.
Transform with a purpose
Change for the sake of change can result in wasted time and resources, employee confusion and a culture in disarray. That’s why it’s imperative for organizations to clearly understand and articulate why they need to change in the first place. A roadmap can help align actions to strategy and define what elements of the business culture and technology should shift over time. The roadmap is guided by core values and principles and negotiates trade-offs to deliver designed business outcomes.
Work from a sound strategy
Your business’ cultural shift will require a well-defined strategy for organizational change, training and communications to ensure that employees effectively adopt any new processes and technology. Without this strategy you are simply making investments that will have little impact on your business. Examine the various digital initiatives currently underway to identify common goals as well as gaps in coordination and missed opportunities to leverage projects more broadly in the organization.
Align processes to THE business vision
Business process reengineering should be the cornerstone of your digital transformation initiative. The goal is to avoid backing yourself into a corner with a single solution or methodology that may or may not fit your needs. First redefine how your business processes will need to look in the future. Your strategies and objectives should clearly define how any process change or technology investment will help you achieve those objectives. Then—and only then—will you be ready to implement solutions to fit your needs.
Without a transformation of the core business—the value proposition, people and processes—any digital initiative is likely to be a short-term fix. Changing a business culture takes time. The sooner you take action, the more quickly you will be able to compete in today’s fast-paced, digitized world.
Transforming Your Business // Part Two
In our next installment, we’ll look at some of the key characteristics of successful technology companies and offer some best practice tips for building high-performance software teams.
Popular Project Management Software Options
JIRA by Atlassian is one of the most popular and comprehensive project management tools on the market, and is a leading software development app for agile developers. Licensing is very affordable up to 10 users, then makes a significant jump in cost if you need 11 or more.
Basecamp is another popular web-based project management tool that began as the very first Ruby on Rails app. Basecamp charges a flat fee for business, regardless of the number of users. It integrates with a variety of other applications and services.
Google Sheets offers a free template for more cost-conscious organizations. Simply set up a Google account and invite other users to contribute. Functionality is limited, but works fine for SME’s looking for the ability to centralize issue tracking.