How to Build a Strategic Plan for Digital Transformation?

Companies wanting to successfully integrate new technologies must adopt a digital transformation strategic plan.

This plan serves as a roadmap to ensure that technological integration is done in a structured and thoughtful way in order to avoid potential losses of time and money resources.

Without a clear strategy, your company risks committing to expensive digital initiatives without a significant return on investment.

In this article, we explore the various aspects of building a digital transformation strategy.

Understanding Digital Transformation

Digital transformation is not simply a matter of adopting new technologies; it is a complete overhaul of business processes and practices to remain relevant in an ever-changing digital world. This includes reshaping operations, improving the customer experience and strategically using data to make informed decisions.

For a more in-depth exploration of this topic, we recommend that you read our article “Understanding digital transformation”, which addresses the key concepts of digital transformation.

Preliminary Phase of the Digital Transformation Plan: Laying the Foundation

Before diving into the technical aspects of a digital shift or a digital transformation, it is important to have a clear vision of what you want for your business.

This preliminary phase is dedicated to assessing where you are at, defining where you want to go, and identifying the main obstacles and technology opportunities. This will then allow you to create a digital transformation roadmap.

Here’s how you can begin this journey to the digital transformation.

Assessment of Digital Maturity

It is important to know where your company stands in its digital journey and where it stands compared to other companies in the same sector; this is called the assessment of digital maturity.

Here are 3 key factors to consider:

  • Use of digital tools for interactions: It will be necessary to evaluate how the company uses digital technologies to interact with its customers, partners and suppliers. This can include communication platforms, CRM systems, customer relationship management tools, etc.
  • Collection and use of data: This includes data analysis, real-time dashboards, and business intelligence systems that facilitate evidence-based decision-making.
  • Digitization and integration of business processes: It will then be necessary to evaluate to what extent the business processes are digitized and integrated. This may concern the automation of business processes management (BPM), the integration of ERP systems, or the use of emerging technologies such as AI to optimize operations.

You can use tools of assessment of digital maturity like the one offered by the BDC. This will allow you to compare your company with other companies in the same sector.

This step is essential to effectively target future interventions.

Defining the Vision and Objectives for Transformation

Before launching the plan, it is necessary to define clear and measurable objectives aligned with organizational goals that will guide all digital initiatives. These objectives must be aligned with the company’s overall strategy and adapted to meet market requirements and customer needs.

Here are some examples of digital transformation goals:

1. Improve customer experience: Use digital technologies to enrich customer interaction, personalize services, improve accessibility or improve customer satisfaction. This can include the deployment of chatbots for customer service, the design of an application for mobile devices, etc.

2. Cybersecurity improvements: Improve IT security and data protection to comply with regulations and strengthen the trust of customers and partners. This could involve the implementation of advanced cybersecurity solutions and stricter data management policies.

3. Adoption of the cloud: Migrate essential systems and applications to cloud solutions to improve agility and operational efficiency. This objective aims to reduce infrastructure costs and improve data security. The use of cloud services can also facilitate the integration of advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence and big data analysis.

Integrate SWOT Analysis

A SWOT analysis will help to better understand the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats related to this digital transformation project.

This analysis will not only help you optimize your strategy, but also to anticipate the challenges ahead. The result is a more strategic and less reactive approach to change.

Planning Phase: Structuring the Approach

Digital transformation planning is not limited to choosing the right technologies; it requires a clearly defined structure and strategy. Structuring the approach is a critical step that can make the difference between the success and failure of the project.

This phase must align the digital initiatives with global business objectives, ensure a fluid integration with existing processes, and allow adaptability in the face of future changes.

It is also the time to understand the three fundamental pillars who will support your transformation efforts:
1. Optimization of Key Processes
2. Organizational Culture
3. Integration of Information

A structured approach can maximize the impact of the transformation and position your company for continued success in the digital age.

Planning the Adoption of New Digital Technologies: The Roadmap

This plan should detail not only which technologies will be adopted, but also how they will be deployed, who will use them, and the expected short and long-term benefits.

This is the digital roadmap that will guide each step and key action of the technological deployment, including the phases of testing, user training, and continuous evaluation to adjust and optimize the processes.

Clear and detailed planning helps to minimize the risks associated with change and ensures that each new technology brings measurable added value to the company.

In summary, the final plan should at least answer the following three questions:

  • Who does what? We must target employees or external partners who have the necessary skills to carry out the various aspects of the plan.
  • How will the elements of the plan be carried out
  • With what tools are we going to implement everything?

The Importance of Change Management

The integration of new technologies or digital solutions can open new doors for your business. However, these changes represent a significant challenge in terms of human resources management.

It is important to adopt a proactive approach with a change management plan to ensure the success of this transformation which will have an impact on employees / users.

The latter should be part of the strategic plan and concerns the way in which the company prepares, supports and helps its employees to understand and adopt the changes. Effective change management reduces resistance, maximizes engagement and ensures a smooth transition to new working methods. It involves open and regular communication, appropriate training and continuous support.

Ignoring this aspect can lead to significant disruptions and decrease the return on investment of the new technologies deployed. Therefore, integrating a solid change management strategy from the very beginning of the digital transformation process is essential to align people, processes and technology.

Execution Phase: Implementation and Monitoring

The deployment involves the installation, configuration, upgrade and integration of new technological solutions within the existing operations of the company.

This requires close collaboration between IT teams, operations and human resources to ensure that everything runs smoothly without major interruptions to current activities.

Deployment of Technologies

The deployment involves the installation, configuration, upgrade and integration of new technological solutions within the existing operations of the company. This requires close collaboration between IT teams, operations and human resources to ensure that everything runs smoothly without major interruptions to current activities.

Continuous Monitoring and Adjustment

Monitoring is essential to measure the impact of new technologies and processes on company performance. Key performance indicators (KPIs) should be used to evaluate the effectiveness of the changes and to identify areas in need of adjustments. Continuous monitoring also makes it possible to ensure that the project remains aligned with the strategic objectives of the company.

Problem Management

Faced with unforeseen events, reactive and proactive problem management is necessary. This includes the rapid resolution of technical problems, the management of employee concerns, and the adaptation of plans according to market developments and business needs.

Consolidation Phase: Risk Management and Optimization

After the implementation of new technologies and processes, the consolidation phase is essential to ensure the sustainability and efficiency of the digital transformation. This phase focuses on risk management and continuous optimization to maximize the benefits of the transformation while minimizing potential negative impacts.

Transform Your Business with BeWave

At BeWave, we support companies in their digital transformation journey. We offer tailor-made technological solutions that are designed not only to meet the specific needs of the company, but also to stimulate innovation and increase profitability. Are you planning to rethink operations or to fully exploit the potential of modern technologies to increase the efficiency of your company? BeWave is the partner of choice to support you in this adventure!