Digital Transformation Starts with Strong Tech Assessments
The road to digital transformation is not easy. Couchbase found that 90% of projects failed to deliver as promised, failed to deliver beyond minor improvements, or completely flopped. Strong technical assessments may have helped save those projects. Read on to find out why.
Digital transformation projects need strong technical assessments, including discovery & strategy phases.
DiscoveryThe discovery phase includes technical discovery, a tech stack review, and a technical audit.Analytics, content, competitor and brand reviews, content inventories, resource requirements, stakeholder interviews, online surveys and a project canvas should also be included in the discovery phase.
StrategyThe goal of the strategy phase of an assessment is to bring everyone onto the same page. This can be done through a development roadmap, information architecture and API specification exercises, as well as a development workflow, assessing server and hosting architecture, creating a design system and visualization and prototyping process.
Without clearly defined technical assessments, digital projects can flounder and even fail, wasting time, money and other valuable resources. To prevent this waste, a project must get started on the right foot, and that begins with a technology assessment.
A technology assessment is a structured process to assess and select a technology solution that helps you identify the optimal solutions for your needs, reduce risks, and achieve your goal. Going through this process diligently will force your company to identify the right problem and solve it in the right way, increasing the chance of digital transformation strategy success.
Discovery is the first part of a technology needs assessment and the goal at this phase is to uncover all the unique insights and business requirements that your business has. Discovery commonly starts with:
- A technical discovery: This maps out the technical and business logic information for your business, including parts outside of the direct scope of the website. This is a large deliverable and makes up the bulk of the technical side of Discovery and Strategy. It gives an overview of all the systems that may need to integrate and any major functionality that is important to your business. It may also list details of specific smaller sections where precision or special details are important. This deliverable is always part of any Discovery and Strategy project where integrations or significant custom functionality are being produced.
- A tech stack review: a small knowledge-based activity that is primarily done by you, possibly even during initial communications with our business developers. This exercise provides a list of your existing systems and is used to plan out which systems need to be integrated and which may be replaced.
- A technical audit: is a review of your website, code and hosting to assess the project’s current health as well as the ability to perform further work on it. It may end up revealing tasks that need to be done to bring the project up to standard. These tasks can range from small code formatting fixes to urgent security patches.
From there, the discovery portion of the project should include other items like analytics, content, competitor and brand reviews. Content inventories, resource requirements, stakeholder interviews, online surveys and a project canvas are also important parts of the complete discovery & strategy phase of any project. As you progress through this discovery phase, you will find gaps and holes where your resources don’t cover the needs and the next step is to build strategies to make up for those shortcomings.
Once you have gone through the discovery phase and you should be armed with all of the knowledge you need to assess where you are, where you want to and what you need to get you there. The goal of the strategy phase of an assessment is to bring everyone onto the same page. This can be done in a variety of ways:
- A development roadmap: this plans out any upcoming work for resourcing and timelines. Development roadmaps are critical for transparent communication and timeline accuracy. If a sudden scope change must be introduced into a project, the development roadmap provides a clear understanding of where the change should be made and how it will affect other tasks within the roadmap.
- An information architecture exercise: this typically consists of: User Stories; Sitemap Diagrams; and sometimes simple Wireframes. This is an opportunity for all stakeholders to provide input before moving into any creative and development phases where fundamental changes to the site’s organization can negatively impact the timeline and budget.
- An API specification exercise: these are crucial for software development, especially for integrations and automation. API specifications are documentation that provides precise details on how systems will talk to each other: what data can be sent, how it will be formatted, where will it be sent to, how will responses (such as successes or errors) be communicated, etc. They may also include how data will map between two systems with different data models.
API specifications are done so that other systems can talk to the API and get expected and predictable results. As long as they follow the specifications, both sides of the system know what is required, what to expect, and should be able to work independently.
Further exercises include a development workflow, assessing server and hosting architecture, creating a design system and visualization and prototyping process. You can learn more about each of these on Acro Media’s Discovery & Strategy page.
By working meticulously through discovery & strategy based technical assessment, you are laying the groundwork for your digital transformation project to defy the odds and succeed.
Not quite sure that your in-house team has the chops to be able to complete the technical assessments you need to get your digital project across the finish line? Not a worry, we’ve got you. Contact one of our experts for a no-obligation chat about how Acro Media can help bring your digital transformation to light.