Harnessing the Opportunities of Digital Transformation

You are a Chief Operations Officer in a large financial services organisation specialising in wealth management. The organisation prides itself on providing sound financial and investment advice to a range of corporate clients and individuals interested in pursuing a low risk and long term gain strategy. The business is soon to undertake a ‘digital overhaul’ to ensure it remains at the cutting edge of its industry. The expectation is that, through implementing transformation strategies, business processes and functions will be brought up to date, and these will set the organisation up competitively for the future.

As the COO, you are responsible for all transformational change across the organisation. You recognise that to bring about the required transformation you must drive the creation and implementation of innovative strategies that support the overarching corporate aims.

So, how do you get started?

Digital Transformation and Business Processes

Digital transformation is about dramatically improving business performance through re-aligning existing technologies and integrating new ones. A core part of this involves making changes to business processes to improve end-to-end performance.

From a process perspective, digital transformation enables organisations to increase efficiency through automating manual processes, creating new workflows that maximise digital channels, seamlessly integrating customer experiences across online and offline environments, standardising processes across departments and geographic regions, and creating dynamic workflows that are able to respond to different customer needs.

Although there are challenges and risks to digital business transformation, the benefits for those COOs and organisations who make the transition to a more digital world are certainly worth the effort.

As illustrated in the 2015 Digital Business Global Executive Study and Research Project by MIT Sloan Management Review and Deloitte, mature and digitally transformed organisations benefit from process and people efficiencies, better connections with customers and increased profits. The Stibo Systems White Paper on The benefits and the challenges of digital transformation further lists 10 expected benefits of digital transformation implementation:

  • Better ability to meet customer expectations
  • Increased cross collaboration between departments
  • Greater agility within IT to meet the business needs
  • Improved competitive position within your market
  • Higher level of innovation across the business
  • Faster strategic decision making
  • Increased business growth
  • Faster time to productivity in core areas
  • Reduced costs of doing business
  • Reduced IT costs

Disparate Processes, Knowledge and Information

As a COO, with a firm understanding of the pros and cons of digital business transformation, your next step will be to revisit existing and established processes to determine your current state and the opportunities for improvements.

Often this can be hindered in organisations where the processes are not be well documented, shared, stored or described. In these instances, core knowledge of processes tends to sit in the minds of specific employees, while valuable information is stored in departmental silos. This can result in business processes lacking standardisation and a lack of visibility of the end-to-end processes and value chains.

Collaborative Digital Transformation

Taking a collaborative approach to digital transformation can address existing challenges by making it easy for teams to come together with existing processes, while also following a joined-up approach for all new processes.

Collaborative digital transformation speeds up knowledge sharing and workflow between colleagues, while creating more fluid communication channels. This improves accountability levels between employees and line managers and highlights any problem areas and weak links in an initiative.

Digital transformation tools should support your efforts and provide you with one central platform to create, collaborate, publish, manage and reuse models, processes, documents, data, knowledge and methods that are crucial to their initiatives. Effortless knowledge creation and sharing should be a common characteristic of a digitally transformed business.

Alongside tools, there are a number of models that can also support your efforts, from T-Maps to Operating Models, to Benefits Maps, TOGAF, LEAN Principles and Six-Sigma.

A New ‘Digital’ Organisation

Once you, the COO, are able to recognise the benefits of digital transformation, define a strategy to maximise this opportunity and source the right tools and approach to implement and drive change, your organisation will be primed to accomplish its goals and reap the rewards of digital business transformation.