Digital Transformation: Determining Strategic Digital Insertion Points

Digital transformation has the potential to be a significant value-add to organizations when it is undertaken with a purposeful and thoughtful approach.

The idea of digital transformation can be daunting for companies to even consider. But it doesn’t have to be.  It has the potential to be a significant value-add to organizations when it is undertaken with a purposeful and thoughtful approach.

As more companies undergo digital transformation, there are a growing number of examples that dispel the myth that embracing digital innovation is too difficult or unnecessary.

Some companies not only benefitted but, were revitalized by strategically adding digital technology to their customer experience. Walmart added a mobile app to improve customer experience, flexed their buying power to add more brands, and improved their returns and exchanges process, in an effort to surge past Amazon and other big-box retailers.

Figuring out how to leverage digital technology requires commitment and enthusiasm from all levels of your organization, especially key stakeholders that have capacity and ability to move the transformation forward.

In Here's What CIOs and Companies Really Need To Know About Successful Digital Transformation, I discussed the common fears around digital transformation and tried to shed light on what digital transformation actually is and how it can be successfully implemented.

The follow-up questions and comments made it clear that more in-depth discussion around digital transformation was necessary.

It’s not an easy, overnight leap for organizations to successfully pull off a digital transformation.  

It requires a steady, thoughtful approach.

We know that there’s a lot of ambiguity around the very concept of digital transformation.

At its core, digital transformation is the novel use of digital technology to solve traditional problems.

These digital solutions enable inherently new types of innovation and creativity, rather than simply enhance and support traditional methods.

However, when we rush the integration of digital technology our chances for success are slim to none.

The first step to introducing and accomplishing digital transformation is to determine strategic digital insertion points for your company. This means look at people, processes, and value stream- practically any aspect of your business in which there is a critical operation occurring. And from there you create a journey map.

A journey map is a visual of the journey that a user or person goes through, usually in a business case, from start to finish-where finish is that person or entity delivers or receives value.  

It helps maintain the focus on a long-term relationship built on trust and consistency rather than a transactional exchange.

Journey maps also showcase the critical intersections of business requirements, software integration, and user experience.

After a journey map is developed, the next step is to look within that journey map for points or places where a digital process, tool, or automation would be a good fit.

This list of points is where digital innovations can occur.

Examples of logical opportunities for digital transformation points include:

          -A computer vision product for managing inventory

           -A cash flow analysis tool for analyzing accounts receivable / accounts payable

           -A sales AI that helps identify deals that need attention

           -Physical retailers using IoT devices and machine learning to obtain better metrics

While journey mapping and identifying valuable digital insertion points are essential, they are just the baby steps of a successful digital transformation.

Using digital technology to improve customer experience, save costs, and generate innovation can occur for companies across industry sectors.  Appropriate planning and representation from all departments involved are critical to a positive outcome.

Next, we will focus on developing a digital transformation roadmap, which involves taking the results of the digital insertion points exercise using the value stream and creating a measurement that each potential digital innovation will be evaluated against.

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Andrew Wolfe
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Andrew Wolfe

Andrew has an M.S. in Computer Science from Georgia Tech University. But he prides himself over 10 years of experience working in the software industry for well-known companies such as Diebold, Tableau, Explorys, and Onshift. After years in the corporate and startup worlds as well as running his own consulting firm, Andrew realized he had to do more to improve software products and practices. From that, Skiplist was born. Skiplist is the opportunity to focus on thoughtful, quality software and change the software consulting industry.