In the lead up to Acquia Engage Asia Pacific ( Acquia Engage APAC), we’ll be taking time out with some of our conference speakers to discover what they’ll be discussing at the event, why it’s important and what attendees will take away from their sessions.
This week, we sat down with Brittany Fox, marketing campaign strategist at Deloitte Digital, to define and demystify the term “digital transformation,” as well as laying out a few ground rules to prevent projects from snowballing into unwieldy, slow-moving and never-ending nightmares.
Brittany, at this year’s Acquia Engage APAC, you’ll be speaking about digital transformation — why this topic, in particular?
Digital transformation has been a hot topic for a while and has unfortunately become a bit of a vague and all-encompassing term. Unlocking what our clients mean by digital transformation is our first step. Most commonly, we find that when our clients are asking for help with digital transformations, what they are really saying is “we’re trying to do a million different things but don’t know where to start.” Our next step is to help organizations define and potentially change the way they’re thinking about transformation; for example, how can you truly evaluate all the digital opportunities available to you if you’re fixed on delivering a rigid five-year road map? By year two of the five-year journey, you need to be open to changing plans to focus and test what’s working and eliminate initiatives that aren’t adding value to your transformation. Our role is to guide a business through the various options, paying special attention to common challenges when adopting change.
What’s your definition of digital transformation?
Digital transformation is simply a vehicle for change and an ongoing plan for incremental improvements, so your business is always getting closer to what you’d like its future state to be. Never sitting still; doing the things we should be doing, rather than the status quo of what we do for business as usual (BAU). We can’t rely on just technology to transform and “fix” businesses. The reality is that, like any project, you need to look at what you want to achieve, then position that in-line with your budget, capabilities, skillset and technology.
Why do you feel organizations often get bogged down in such big plans?
Most businesses have lots of old legacy systems and processes that may have worked for them in the past and have, as a result, remained unchanged for years. When these organizations decide to undertake a transformation, there’s pressure to change everything almost overnight. This is driven by the ambivalent feelings of excitement — of realising new opportunities — and fear of being left behind by competitors. Often, when we start speaking to an organization, some staff members will have genuine fears about the process and the potential changes — and in some cases leave the business — whereas other staff members say “we’ve been waiting for this, I’m so excited!” There’s a change culture around digital transformation; for some, that’s exciting, for others, it’s scary. The business has to be ready for transformation and the cultural shift it requires, but it also needs to take staff on the journey and focus on the positives of the change.
The time frame for a transformation depends entirely on the client’s appetite for change as well as their resources, culture, budget and digital maturity. We’re currently coming to the end of a project where we’re launching four different platforms across nine different business units within the space of twelve months; but we’ve had other projects where it took a full three months simply to develop the road map.