On a global scale, we spend billions on digital transformation. Looking at Sweden, 21% of the total IT budget focus on transformation initiatives (1). At the same time, only 30% turn out successful (2). But what is the key to a successful digital transformation journey? In this short article, I will look back and reflect on what I think is essential to succeed.

First some take-aways

Being part of the IT industry for the last 30 years, I got my fair share of digitalisation projects. As a result, I have found these common denominators for a successful outcome:

  • A dedicated and motivated cross-functional project team
  • Stakeholders believing in the end-product
  • A strong will to explore and make the most of available technology
  • A target audience ready to embrace new ways of working

And please – do not under any circumstance underestimate the power of having fun within the team!

Digital Transformation – is it a new thing?

Let’s look at some of the projects I’ve been involved in to illustrate different types of digitalisation.

  • Digitisation, making digital out of analogue: In the Publishing Group, we scanned the comic strip Ernie and used it in our printed newsletter to bring some fun into the reading. We had one PC in the office that had the software required…
  • Digitalisation, using new technology to simplify the work: A custom-built, client-server market administrative system replaced the old mainframe 3270 black-green screens to modernise the management of articles, suppliers, and customers.
  • Digital transformation, changing the way business gets done: An internal bank solution as a true disruption of the monetary flows, cutting away dependencies on banks. A salesforce automation solution showing one view of customer engagement, combining information about different products, simulating pensions, and turning the proposal into a contract. Updating the base systems from a new front-end and digitised the health declaration interpreted the answers to set score.

All these projects were performed in the 1990s, ages ago. It took time and resources to develop the solutions. Always starting from scratch, using available and not so sophisticated tools, writing lots and lots of code over and over again.

In my view, it’s the increased customer focus that is the big new with digital transformation of today — understanding the customer, finding new ways to interact and do business using new digital products and services – often fuelled by identified customer needs.

A reflection; do not forget about the internal customer! Digital transformation is an attitude – your co-workers deserve an experience as good as your customers.

Now to some serious facts

Significant investments are being made in digital transformation. 21% of the total IT budget for Swedish companies in 2021, 36 billion SEK, is focused on transformation initiatives (1). However, only 30% of digital transformations are successful (2).

There are many options and decisions to be made in a rapidly changing environment. So how do we know that we are doing what we can to succeed?

Opticos has developed a tool for assessing an organisation’s ability to perform digital transformation initiatives. The outcome is a holistic view of digital maturity and critical development areas. This outcome potentially could be the key to a successful digital transformation for your organisation.

Are you interested in assessing your company’s digital readiness? Do not hesitate to reach out to me or any of my colleagues at Opticos!

Sources: 1) Radar 2021, 2) BCG 2020

Anna Wilsby, Director & Head of Digital Transformation Capability