Having a clear, well-communicated organizational vision for digital transformation is the strongest predictor of success. Vision Led is Silverline’s first recommended driver in our 10 Keys to Successful Digital Transformation for a reason; it’s the first building block toward success. To start your strategy, it is natural to begin your program with a vision of your future-state technology.
Gaining senior-level alignment and agreement on a strategic vision will position you for a higher rate of success from the very beginning. A significant contribution to senior buy-in is to see the logic behind building the end state and fully understanding what it is. To that effect, accepting change is more digestible when they know what is happening and why. Simple psychology tells us that building mutual understanding reduces stress and mitigates the result of a negative experience. We are naturally more comfortable with change when we know what it is. For instance, if you’re stuck in traffic, as much of a nuisance as that can be, you tend to be more patient when you know exactly what’s causing a delay and how far until you pass.
Aligning the vision with the top leaders’ is also significant because of the concept of trickle-down adoption. When we observe change, positive adoption is much more predictable when an employee’s direct supervisor agrees with the change taking place. Mainly, you are more likely to adopt what your boss adopts, and this occurs when there is alignment around a vision.
A Vision for Success
From Silverline’s experience, we’ve observed that IT departments often lead engagements focused on CRM implementation. While this is a natural fit for a technology project, there is commonly a lack of executive-level involvement which creates additional challenges. This absence of alignment happens for many reasons, but it often leads to defining the technology but misses the strategy for having the technology. In turn, these projects start before getting buy-in from the necessary stakeholders. Influencing this mishap is the new paradigm of agile methodology which, from a conceptual standpoint, forces the philosophy that an implementation needs to happen quickly. While this is an excellent method to implement technology, it is crucial not to overlook an important step in Waterfall methodology that includes developing your vision. It is essential that you have an agreed upon vision in place first or you won’t be nearly as successful when your project takes off and change starts affecting the organization. This is why having a clear vision is our first predictor of success.
Articulate a Strategy
Building your vision does not have to be long, arduous, or unpredictable. Your vision development can be a quick process. There are a number of topics you should include that won’t take much work.
Silverline recommends this approach to craft a vision:
- Define your business drivers. This is a common outcome-based strategy. What outcomes do you want to see come out of digital transformation? It could be to grow your company, operate more efficiently, or enhance your customer experience.
- Define your goals for transformation. When there’s a cloud implementation taking place; transformation is taking place. What are you trying to change or improve? Your intentions may be to become more intelligent with your data, increase collaboration, operate at a higher velocity, or improve customer engagement. Getting your goals clear will help you define what your requirements are for the new technology.
- Develop an agreement on a strategic scope. Each part of the organization you choose to involve will come into play at different times. Come to an understanding of who will be included, when will they be involved, and to what degree. The scope can be a significant conflict when it comes to alignment. Prioritizing this agreement at the beginning will avoid issues down the road.
- Structure your operational conditions. Define the items that are critical for successful operation and where to pay attention to avoid potential problems. Make sure you’re always moving forward, no one wants to go backward on day one. Make sure your first phase reinforces essential job functions, and changes don’t violate a critical task.
It has to be clear how digital transformation and implementing a CRM program will support your company’s business strategy. Once you’ve gathered the necessary information, give your stakeholders the opportunity to weigh in on the vision and strategy. Digital transformation is not a single-phase implementation or one-off technology solution. You must continually consider the broader implications and positive impacts this can have on your organization. Alignment around a shared vision and strategy will ensure adoption and that further funding needs are met for future improvements.