Digital Transformation: Change Management When Pivoting to Digital

(UPDATED 2/17/22) Whether you’re excited to pivot to digital or apprehensive about modernizing your IT environment — or both — the world is doing business online now. For most companies, competing in the new normal includes the need to digitally transform some parts of their business.

Companies that transform successfully typically do three things. They know why they’re making the changes, follow a proven plan to make them, and entrust the process to a team with digital transformation experience. If they don’t have a plan or experts in-house, they partner with professionals who do.

Here’s why these three things are critical to your success:

1. Focus on the why

Today, working digitally is simply “working.”

In Ready, set, go: Reinventing the organization for speed in the post-COVID-19 era, McKinsey & Company talks about the importance of seizing the moment, and in The Digital Path to Business Resilience, the Boston Consulting Group discusses the importance of using digital technologies to create a sustainable competitive advantage.

To thrive in the new normal, business leaders need to focus on why they need to make changes to their IT environment rather than sweating the details of their infrastructure.

For example, what do you want to accomplish with the changes? How will the changes impact your business results? How do you envision they will improve your business overall?

Then, task your IT director and IT partner with translating your goals and vision into a seamless hybrid IT environment. Tell them the specific outcomes you’re looking for, such as:

  • Deliver more services electronically
  • Enable better and more transparent collaboration
  • Respond more quickly to customers and stakeholders
  • Strengthen cybersecurity at every level
  • Streamline human resources processes
  • Pursue new business opportunities quickly
  • Empower your team’s ability to generate more revenue

2. Follow a proven framework

The hardest part of digital transformation is often writing the change management playbook. It takes time and dedication. While many internal IT departments are capable of developing playbooks for their organizations, they don’t have the time due to their other responsibilities. Skipping playbook development, however, is not a wise decision. You’re unlikely to experience a smooth, systematic, and ultimately successful digital transformation without it.

Most mature IT departments and IT partners use ITIL, the most widely recognized IT service management framework. We use it here at Leapfrog.

The ITIL set of practices aims to focus IT capabilities on creating specific business value. There is a change management process within ITIL Service Transition guidelines that provides project managers with detailed guidance for transitioning new or different IT services into operation.

These standardized best practices manage two of the most important challenges your team needs to overcome — controlling risk and minimizing disruption while they’re making the changes. Countless organizations worldwide have used these standards successfully to make the very same changes that you want to make. By following ITIL, your team can develop the playbook that will get the job done most effectively.

An added benefit of following ITIL? You can be less apprehensive about making the changes.

3. Bring in an experienced team to do the work

Pivoting to digital can be challenging enough. If your internal team is doing it for the first time — or if they’re under deadline pressure — things may go wrong even if they have the needed knowledge and skills.

Instead, work with experts who have a lot of experience with projects like yours. Hybrid-IT environment experts know what to do, how to do it efficiently, and how to avoid the things that can go wrong.

They will customize playbooks that they’ve already written — there’s no reason to reinvent the wheel. When choosing a partner for digital transformation projects, look for one that that has:

  • At least ten years of experience managing projects that are the same or of similar complexity as yours
  • A dedicated onboarding staff
  • A track record of positive post-transition reviews, including process implementation and business-system improvements
  • The ability to condense timelines, such as completing assessments in four-to-six days instead of four-to-six weeks and onboarding your team in 30 days instead of 90 days
  • A set of protocols that protect their own company and employees
  • A support team that’s available for your employees around the clock

As more business takes place online, your IT environment and operations are more critical than ever. Working with an experienced team to modernize your IT so you can leverage today’s most advanced tools and operating models will pay off in business results.

Once you’ve pivoted to digital, you’ll probably wonder why you waited so long.