Digital Transformation 101: What CIOs Need for Success in 2022 and Beyond

Evolution often comes in the form of eat or be eaten, but in Domino’s case, it was eat or DON’T be eaten. With the pandemic increasing the popularity of food delivery apps, Dominos transformed to meet demands by updating its digital capabilities and offerings - optimizing with automation and AI to support a refreshed customer experience.

This digital transformation modernized their business, offering new ways to order pizza including app and personal assistant compatibility, and streamlining their backend to support business logistics.

Dominos is a success story for digital transformation, but many organizations haven’t started assessing ways to make their own. How are you as a CIO planning your own business needs and the support digital transformations needed to achieve them? We’ve mapped out concrete steps toward successful digital transformation to help you create lasting results, including critical prerequisites, a roadmap, and pitfalls to avoid.

What is Digital Transformation?

Just like with Dominos, as customer expectations evolve from our rapidly-changing digital world, businesses must pursue new business models and revenue streams. Digital transformation is reframing how an organization uses technology, people, and processes.

Digital transformation isn’t just for large organizations. The pandemic has caused significant changes to almost all businesses, both big and small, speeding up adoption by three to seven years in just months. This rapid digital transformation acceleration is driven by the need to stay competitive. To understand how companies are making these agile transformations, you need to understand the framework that supports them.

Critical Digital Transformation Framework

Before deciding whether or when a digital transformation is best for your enterprise, your business needs a great framework. The initial and most important factor of a successful digital transformation framework is executive team buy-in on financial, operational, and cultural views. Along with management alignment, there are three critical framework elements to any digital transformation:

  • Full Visibility: To identify business priorities, your teams need to truly understand current processes and operations.
  • Data-Driven Decisions: Your teams need to collect good data and resources, then make decisions based on quantifiable facts.
  • Swift Action: Your teams need the agility to execute those strategic decisions with speed and precision.

To see these competencies manifest in your team, leaders must lead by example. But, how do you achieve this, practically speaking?

The Roadmap to Developing Your Digital Transformation Strategy

As with all major business shifts, as a leader, it’s important for you to first develop the strategic approach to your organization's digital transformation. Your digital transformation strategy needs to identify your current state, end goals, and the executable path to bridge the two.

Current State Audit

A mandatory prerequisite to any digital transformation is an audit of your current state. Having a thorough understanding of your business’s current technical state, for better or for words, will make facilitating internal collaboration possible. Don’t leave this step up to assumptions and guesswork, or you’ll find yourself with a misinformed, messy attempt at a digital transformation.

To understand your organization’s current technological state, Private StackShare can serve as air-traffic control for your tech stacks, giving you complete visibility into your entire tooling and licensing. Our dashboarding tool creates succinct communication across departments by clearly displaying the current state of tech stacks and digital transformation, while also staying up to date with real-time alerts and change tracking for all tech stack decisions.

Future State Goals

To gain the best understanding of your business’s future state and where you want to ultimately go, research and analysis are key. You need to know what your teams need, and it’s often not just the “fanciest new tools” on the market. While this may not be the quickest or easiest way to conduct digital transformation, it’s the best way to truly change your tech stacks for the better. Otherwise, you might be creating a system that won’t work in the real day-to-day lives of your team members.

It’s important to choose solutions that make sense for your team’s digital abilities and workflows. Focus on understanding any ramifications of new tech before adopting, assessing whether it will meet your business needs.

Private StackShare helps you assess and choose new tech with team collaboration capabilities on existing and future tools. Understand what you own and give teams space for researching tech stack options and understanding the roles that these technologies are playing in each. Track tech decisions and manage tech stack governance, ensuring new tools align with digital transformation goals.

Action Plan

With your business’s current state fully mapped out, and where you want to head in the future solidified, it’s time to identify the tactical steps for success.

To facilitate your organization's digital transformation, ensure you have the proper team members to take your company into its next evolution. Whether it’s UX designers, digital trainers, or compliance managers, making sure you have the human resources needed to take on your digital transformation should be top of your action plan items.

Your action plan should also include a digital transformation roadmap, which outlines each of the steps and timeline for migrating to and integrating with new technologies. Pick a straightforward process that works for your team and then do it, without cutting corners or straying away from the plan.

As with any tech division, make sure your action plan gives IT a seat at the table. The best way to give IT authority and influence is through excellent communication. StackShare is a resource for creating your digital transformation roadmap and giving IT a seat at the table by compiling and tracking the opinions of those who have gone before you.

We’re proud to be the strategic partners for numerous tech teams, including a community of over one million developers, CTOs, and enterprise architects. Enable better collaboration across departments with StackShare, empowering teams to stay in the loop of changes and stick to the roadmap.

Digital Transformation Pitfalls

As with many business initiatives, digital transformation comes with its share of possible pitfalls and misconceptions. Here are a few to keep in mind to help your team achieve success:

Poor Leadership

First and foremost, executive leadership needs to be interested in the changes. Because of the significant cost and strategy involved, changes can’t just be pushed from the bottom-up. Second, someone needs to oversee the various changes that will happen. Is that HR, executive leadership, IT, or somebody else? Someone has to do it.

"Change management and digital transformation projects, particularly for remote and hybrid workers, must include seamless employee onboarding and simple access to efficiency and workflow tools so that employees can boost their productivity." - Enterprise Talk

IT Disconnect

Although they’ll need to be at the forefront of implementing digital transformation, a pitfall is if IT doesn’t support changes. Let’s be honest- tension needs to be expected and planned for when any major changes are on the horizon. After all, real humans are behind each department. When it comes to digital transformation, IT departments that are used to a certain type of technology may have a difficult time shifting towards a more modernized tech stack.

"One of the biggest digital transformation challenges for companies that were not "born digital" is legacy systems and applications -- older technologies that don't support digital initiatives, but can't easily be replaced." - TechTarget

Low Developer Engagement

Along with IT engagement, buy-in from developers across teams is also needed. Without developer input and consideration, you fly blind to making effective tech stack decisions. And internal shared knowledge can be an asset not easily tacked that can greatly influence future system adoption and success.

"Standardized, modular products simply cannot respond fast enough to market requirements today. Instead, start with your siloed system and functionalities, extract business logic, and make them into shared services so they can be leveraged across your business units." - RedHat’s Community Blog

Focusing on Only Tech Changes

Digital transformation isn’t just about digital systems. It requires changes to the company culture too. Only switching out technology, without backing these changes with a shift in company culture, including training and processes, can quickly cause issues. This shift can be the largest lift during your entire transformation. Having effective transformation and collaboration ensures a higher likelihood of cultural digital transformation success.

Get Started on Your Digital Transformation

As you begin planning for your digital transformation, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of hot, emerging technologies. Think self-service experiences for customers, predictive AI for business intelligence, shared services on the infrastructure side, and other endless possibilities.

But as you consider all of this, it’s important to ask questions of yourself, and your teams:

  • How do we balance taking an organized action, informing all parties, and most specifically, communicating with the team who will execute many of the changes: the IT department?
  • How do we work on leading digital transformation by truly understanding our current and future states, along with developing a clear action plan?

Private StackShare has you covered as you embark on a digital transformation journey towards a better, faster, and more technologically advanced organization.