Success in Digital Transformation

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A staggering 70% of digital transformation projects fall short of their goals. In Success in Digital Transformation for Insurance Innovation Reporter Jordan Heichel, Yogesh Sheth, and Andrew Solar share a set of digital commandments that keep Digital Transformations on track to achieve their desired vision. Read an excerpt from the article below:

“A digital journey is generally fraught with bumps, or even high-impact crashes along the way, and a staggering 70 percent of digital transformation projects fall short of their goals, despite leadership being aligned. It is important that leaders don’t put too much weight on short-sided decisions intended to keep the team moving forward while on the journey to the ultimate digital vision. Losing sight of the long-term objectives can jeopardize delivery of the project in the way it was originally intended, resulting in unintentional consequences such as excessive technical debt, unhappy stakeholders, and unrealized project potential—ultimately creating a digital disaster.

Too many times along the transformation journey, organizations are faced with small forks in the road which end with a well-intentioned decision on the path for moving forward yet veer the organization further from the ultimate vision. Decision points protrude in such forms as cost, timeline, technical and process choices. It is those decisions that could benefit from being evaluated against a set of digital commandments, or a set of standards defined at the start of the digital journey, to avoid an organization veering down the wrong path and ultimately failing to achieve the digitization vision.

Types of Digital Commandments

Digital commandments are a way for organizations to commit to a set of fundamental rules that must be followed in order to achieve the defined state of digitalization. Just like a company would not define a culture without having principles that embody the desired culture—if those principles are not met, then the culture will shift. Ruthless commitment to commandments is necessary to ensure a successful digital transformation.

  • Commandment #1 – Customer voice trumps all others: All decisions should benefit the customer’s journey, even at the risk of taking longer than planned to achieve the transformation.

For example, an industry-leading U.S. financial services company saw the impact of not adhering to this commandment firsthand, when the organization attempted to rush to meet a deployment milestone on a large digital transformation, which resulted in workarounds that increased the burden on end users. While from a program perspective this was viewed as a success (achieving the milestone), the resentment created by making life harder on the user, created a buy-in challenge for subsequent rollouts and carried them further away from the digital vision.

  • Commandment #2 – Future state > Status quo: Any decision made must improve the current state of the process.

Using the Agile framework’s minimum viable product (MVP) approach is critical to driving transformation, however; one should be careful that the MVP does not become too minimum. The cheaper and faster deployment is not always the best solution. For example, in a digital transformation of a leading financial services intermediary, diverting from automated ingestion of data to manual tracking of incoming email allowed the project to advance past a near-term hurdle, but it created technical debt and did not deliver the expected results from the digital transformation. 

Read the full article here

Jordan Heichel is a Senior Director at SSA & Company

Yogesh Sheth is a Senior Director at SSA & Company

Andrew Solar is a Senior Director at SSA & Company

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