digital-handshake-resizedOne of the biggest challenges associated with digital transformation is determining the right steps the company should take on its digital journey and which actions to prioritize.

It's not just neophytes that are struggling to plot their digital strategies. According to The 2016 State of Digital Transformation report conducted by Altimeter Group, just 29% of companies have a multi-year roadmap to guide their digital transformation evolution.

Many decision-makers begin the digital journey by identifying the company's primary challenges and customer pain points and exploring how digital initiatives can be applied to help address those. Others focus on the organization's short and long-term business objectives (e.g. increase incremental revenue, boost customer loyalty) and mapping digital efforts to those goals.

Savvy CIOs have approached digital transformation as an opportunity to explore "the art of the possible" - identifying services or business processes that digital technologies can empower that weren't before possible or feasible.

Another pragmatic approach to digital transformation is tapping into insights from vendor partners. Enterprise vendors have vast experience working with companies on a variety of digital projects across multiple industries.

Close-knit partners that have a view into your company's operations and culture can offer recommendations on best practices and approaches that have worked for other clients for comparable applications. Strategic partners can also share tactics that other clients have applied to tackle some of the thornier challenges of digital transformation, such as steps taken to foster the cultural adoption within the employee base necessary to achieve success.

For instance, a CIO for a bank may discover through his or her relationship with a digital technology partner how a retailer is gathering, analyzing, and acting on digital customer behavior in order to generate the next best action for high-value customers.

Meanwhile, a technology partner may also share how clients in other industries were able to cut the number of steps required in business processes in their shift to a digital model. Or how digitization has been able to streamline the number of documents needed for approvals to be made.

As digitally-experienced CIOs recognize, digital transformation can generate a number of ancillary benefits. For instance, replacing paper and manual processes with software and digital tools can enable companies to collect valuable data that can be more easily analyzed to detect changes in business conditions or causes of risk.

While networking with peers can also help to yield these types of insights, having a robust network of trusted technology partners can further aid in identifying potential use cases and cost savings opportunities achieved through digital transformation.

"That's what transformation really is - it's about people," said Scott Schwarzhoff, VP, Product Marketing, Okta in an HMG Strategy video. "As we move from a world of on-premise software into the cloud and into things like mobility technologies and challenges such as security, from a CIO's perspective, it becomes about partnership relationships with their employee-facing organization, their partner-facing organization, and their customer-facing organization."

Key Takeaways

  • Because many companies are struggling to plot the course of their digital transformation journeys, feedback obtained from trusted technology partners that have worked with clients across industries can provide valuable insights.
  • Technology partners can share potential use cases as well as tactics for tackling top challenges to digital transformation, such as approaches for obtaining widespread cultural adoption.
  • Trusted partners can also share examples of how clients in various industries have applied digital initiatives to streamline business processes, cut costs, or generate new revenue streams.