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Unlocking value in digital transformations

Ludvig Daae

In this era of digitalization, traditional IT models have been increasingly struggling with fulfilling the increasing diversity and pace of business demands.

As digital technologies dramatically transform industries, quite a few organizations pursue massive change efforts to reap the benefits of these trends or simply to keep up with competitors. Hence, it is now of paramount importance for the organizations to gain clarity on an enterprise strategy with a focus on digital services to quickly enable sustainable value creation. They need to manage digital transformation as a strategic portfolio over time for both short-term performance improvements and long-term strategic advantages and need to identify opportunities for value creation every now and then.

Anatomy of digital transformations

The three elements organizations need to be mindful of while undertaking any digital transformation program, are how to enhance the customer experience digitally, how to empower its employees with digital tools and assets, and how to optimize its operations.

Customer: Leveraging digital solutions and assets to provide a responsive and more customer-centric experience is one of the primary objectives of such a transformation program. Digitalizing processes across customer touch points to enhance the overall experience will improve brand loyalty and potentially open up additional revenue streams. But the challenge organizations currently face is how to build a seamless and comprehensive customer experience with necessary digital and human interactions, which makes the experience more immersive, enjoyable, and useful.

People: A clear digital workforce strategy which helps in determining what current digital skills and capabilities an organization has, and what it needs to meet future goals is one of the formative steps of a transformation journey. Organizations need to empower people to work in new ways by leveraging technology-savvy managers, who can potentially bridge the gaps between the traditional and digital parts of the business. Integrating new digital methods into existing ways of working can enable people to inculcate the necessary skills and competencies to make this transformation journey successful. But how does an organization rejig its training programs to focus more on digital competencies, and flex its workforce accordingly based on business needs?

Operations: To maximize efficiency, organizations need to modify their conventional procedures by adopting new technologies such as digitization, advanced analytics, and intelligent process automation. Typically, organizations have multiple independent initiatives housed within separate business units underway to improve performance. Though there might give incremental gains within these individual units, the overall impact is generally underwhelming and unsustainable in the long run. Thus, it becomes imperative to launch an integrated operational-improvement program rather than running standalone efforts within siloes. However, the biggest impediment organizations face these days is how to continuously recalibrate processes to develop intelligent workflows and free up resources to undertake higher-value actions.

Digital as a strategic portfolio

In a constantly evolving digital economy, static transformation roadmaps that do not balance strategic and competitive risks with speedy implementation will not serve any purpose. To succeed, it is imperative for the senior executives to turn their ambitions and strategy into a balanced strategic portfolio of digital initiatives, with both short and longer-term outcomes. They also need to make sure that they have a clear change story, which helps employees understand the vision of the organization, making this transition smoother.

In the subsequent articles, we will present a selection of our latest thinking on how companies can prioritize their digital reinvention efforts and increase the impact of digital transformation.

Ludvig Daae is a Digital Strategy and IT Operating Model expert and is head of the Dutch Digital Advisory practice. You can contact him at or +31(0)30-6892760