How B2B Companies Successfully Plan Digital Transformation
Benjamin Franklin coined the phrase “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!” That adage rings true for organizations in any sector but is especially relevant for B2B businesses looking to get on board with digital transformation.
How B2B companies can plan for a successful digital transformation
Let’s take a look at some ways your B2B company can be sure it is setting itself up for success when tackling any kind of digital transformation.
Define what success means for your project
When starting any project, it is a good idea to map out what you want the end goal to look like. Without knowing the destination, the trip getting “there” becomes a long, cumbersome journey. So, defining where you want to end up is actually where you should start.
Each project has a different destination and therefore different goals, so making a list of specific goals for a generic term like “digital transformation” is not going to be very helpful. Instead, I offer the following suggestions:
- S: Smart - I get this from Marketing 101: goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timebound. Smart goals will keep you on track throughout your project. Review your goals often to make sure you are sticking to them.
- U: Understand the problem you want to solve - sometimes, in the excitement of planning a shiny new digital project, we can reach for things that pull us off target. Start with simple questions. Is the problem you've identified the true problem, or is something else causing that problem? What are the key contributors that are making that problem so big?
- C: Collaborate - Projects should not live in silos. You never know where great inspiration will come from, so be sure to include a collaboration aspect into your project plan at various steps along the way.
- C: Continuous improvement - This one is a little out of order, but success is not spelled sucescs. By the time your project has been deployed, you should have a plan in place to do continuous testing, reporting and improvements.
- E: Effective communication - Team members and consultants working on your digital project all need to be committed to openly communicating. Consider implementing proper project management tools and protocols to keep communication alive and well.
- S: Speed-to-Market - A project that takes 5 years to finish is likely not going to be relevant once it has launched. So focus your efforts on getting the smallest possible, best functioning product to market, and then work through an Agile development process that improves the overall product over time.
- S: Seriously? Another S? Who are we kidding? Two is more than enough.
Making digital transformation easier
According to McKinsey & Company, historically, less than 30% of companies attempting transformations of any kind succeed.
“Even digitally savvy industries, such as high tech, media, and telecom, are struggling. Among these industries, the success rate does not exceed 26 percent. But in more traditional industries, such as oil and gas, automotive, infrastructure, and pharmaceuticals, digital transformations are even more challenging: success rates fall between 4 and 11 percent.” - McKinsey & Company
All is not lost though! With the right planning and forethought, successful digital transformation projects are possible. By applying digital transformation strategies like the Acro Purpose Driven development method, your project will start out on track and stay there.
By going through an intense and comprehensive discovery and strategy process with an ecommerce software consultant, your team will have the best chance of finishing your project successfully. Watch this webinar to learn more about Acro Media’s discovery and strategy process. We also talk about it in our blog: How to Plan for Development Projects
After discovery and strategy, systematically moving through the rest of the design, development, assessment (aka Q&A) process to initial launch, your project health will remain on track. From there, the key will be implementing the continuous improvement strategies as mentioned above.
Getting everyone on board for change
The biggest challenge in an organization of any size is getting everyone on board for change. Getting your stakeholders on board is a challenge that can lead to a project never getting off the ground. So it is best to be prepared to show people how digital change will improve things with data that backs up your strategies and not emotional pleas.
Start with stakeholder interviews
While we will all come to the table with ideas and expertise, stakeholder interviews are important as they help identify the different pains and needs of everyone on your team.
“A transformation is 5.8 times more likely to be successful at organizations where CEOs communicate a compelling, high-level change story, and 6.3 times likelier when senior leaders share aligned messages about the change effort with the rest of the organization” - The People Power of Transformations, McKinsey & Company
Organizations have multiple stakeholders, so these interviews make sure your people feel vested and that their voices are heard. The information gained helps with the prioritization of needs and tasks.
Define specific roles
When employees clearly understand their function within change, how much they can influence change and what is expected from them to facilitate change, they will naturally become more committed to effecting change. Defining these roles early on in a project also allows room to move people around within the organization, or bring in new talent, should it be needed.
Keep the updates coming
I mentioned this before, but it bears repeating: communicate. From your development team to the front-line staff, keep everyone up to date on digital projects. Focus on the gains made, not just the pains being felt during the transformation. Email updates, surveys, monthly video meetings and progress parties celebrating a project’s milestones can help create a foundation for real dialogue between senior leaders and the front line.
When in doubt, ask for help
If you have gone through all the legwork and found that your digital transformation is still not coming online as you had hoped, it may be time to seek a little outside advice. That is where Acro Media comes in. Our specialty is providing honest, platform-agnostic advice to organizations that need help with the digital solutions they need. Don’t struggle any longer than you should, reach out to one of our ecommerce consultants today to get your project on track.