Decoding the Digirati: Success factors behind leadership in Digital Transformation

3. Model for Digital Transformations – Understand and Design

In the next three editions we explore the invisible truths behind outstanding Digital Transformation. Clearly, there is much more to becoming a digirati in your industry besides only these nine factors; in such a complex field, we do not purport to have found the ‘silver bullet’. However, in our experience these practices should be considered the basic foundations on which all successful digital transformations are built.

Design Around Customer Insights

It is pointless embarking on digital transformation unless it is underpinned by a profound understanding of your customers: what, how and why they are buying from you. Many organisations are good at gathering data, but few excel at translating this into meaningful insight into customer behaviour. If you haven’t yet unified your customer data into a single view, start now. Do you know which ‘moments of truth’ on that journey make the difference between a customer choosing your product or service or not?

It is this insight that you need in order to inform the right debate on which digital capabilities will deliver best ‘bang for buck’.

Inspire with a Digitally-Enabled Vision

Few elements of your digital transformation are more important than the vision around which you will energise your organisation to transform. Your digitally-enabled vision needs to be at once transformative, inspiring and urgent. Crucially, your vision needs to find a marriage between customer-centricity and the key USP of your business.

Engage your people in developing the vision. Ask them how they use technology and social media today in ways that could better serve your customers or improve working practices. If you do not do this, you risk formulating little more than an intellectual soundbite with no resonance outside the Boardroom.

Govern Digital Investments Holistically

For most businesses, true digital transformation requires significant investment; steel yourself for this. The problem is that too many executives ring-fence their digital budget for new gadgets, ignoring the requisite funding for implementing the process and people changes essential to fully exploit new technologies. Digital investment and risk need to be managed holistically at the portfolio level. The best proven approach is to establish an enterprise-level portfolio of digital initiatives that collectively deliver the digital vision and that can be crisply translated into a set of measurable strategic outcomes and Key Performance Indicators at a business-unit or customer segment level. Unfortunately, this requires an advanced maturity in portfolio management that only a handful of businesses can justifiably claim.


Our client, a well-known high street retailer, has designed their entire 5-year organisational transformation around two key clear digital goals: understanding their customers and connecting their sales channels. Through a series of roadshows and workshops, all staff were engaged in crafting the principles and aspirations of the 5-year vision. Not only do they now buy-in to these objectives, they can also relate the digital changes that will be enabled to their individual job role – from head office managers and front-line sales staff. 

In the next update we explore the second of three editions on the Gate One Digital Transformation Model in Model for Digital Transformations – Lead and Execute “.



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