Defining a Vision for Digital Transformation

Defining a Vision for Digital Transformation

Published 05/06/24 under:

94% of businesses have a formal digital transformation strategy, but 1 in 5 digital transformation projects still fail, leaving teams frustrated and budgets and resources wasted.

In our eBook, “Driving Success in Digital Transformation”, we broke down the factors that influenced the success or failure of digital transformation projects. Of the 100 IT leaders we surveyed, 47% rated issues with leadership and strategy, with “lack of clear vision” the most popular response.

The power of vision

Digital transformation projects rely heavily on a clear vision that the team can rally behind, which expresses exactly what the programme should achieve. This can lay the foundation for goal and objective setting – a useful test when considering any change request is “will this take us closer to achieving our vision, or will this change get in the way of the vision?”

The other reason that it is critical to have a clear vision is that a great vision allows people to become passionate. Passion is one of the ‘secret ingredients’ to an exceptional team, and is a motivator in its own right.

If cultivated, Passion is a reason that the team get out of bed every day excited to drive the programme forward rather than dreading going to work. Passion is a reason that if one of your team is off ill, the others will pick up any slack to ensure that things don’t fall behind – without even being asked. Passion is a reason that people commit to challenging milestone targets that they otherwise would be the first to critique. Passion makes people want a programme to succeed and any change specialist will tell you, you want stakeholders to be supporters rather than blockers.

What makes a good vision?

So what goes into a vision that inspires this kind of passion in a team? It’s absolutely more art than science, but there are a few factors that all good vision statements share:

  • Show the big picture possibilities: On a visit to NASA headquarters, John F Kennedy approached a janitor and asked ‘what do you do?’ to which the janitor replied ‘I put people on the moon’. While most projects won’t be quite this ambitious, inspiring your team with a picture of what the future could look like is key to a strong vision.
  • Inspires action: Patagonia’s vision statement “we’re in business to save our home planet” makes a compelling call to its focus on sustainability and encourages its team members to rise to the challenge.
  • Accessible: While vision statements should be general, Disney’s “to make people happy” is pushing the limits for most brands, but its strength is in its accessibility: any team member at any level within the organisation can apply it.

eBook: Driving Success in Digital Transformation

Dive deep into the strategies and insights that IT leaders use to achieve unparalleled success in their digital transformation projects with our latest eBook!

Download now!

How to craft your digital transformation vision

Broad company-level visions are one thing, but visions for digital transformation specifically often require a slightly more granular approach. To get people behind your digital transformation efforts, there are a few things to consider:

Make it specific

It can be tempting to simply say ‘we are aligning to the company vision of XYZ’ and leave it at that. Whilst being able to trace how your programme supports the company vision is critical, it’s not enough on its own. Every programme needs a clear vision otherwise the team will find it difficult to pull together with a common aim. An example we love comes from SpaceX where their company vision is to ‘make humanity an interplanetary species’, and to achieve that the vision for their Falcon rocket programme was to ‘make the world’s first reusable rocket’. The falcon programme vision clearly underpinned their wider strategic goal whilst having its own meaning.

Define the problem or opportunity

A digital transformation vision should clearly define the purpose of your project – what are the big picture possibilities of the change you’re making? Whether it’s better customer service, greater efficiency or the ability to capture a competitive advantage, your digital transformation vision should set out the benefits to your organisation clearly.

Balance technical debt with ambition

23% of digital transformation projects are intended to address technical debt or respond to competitive threats. While sometimes it’s necessary to play catch-up or simply rationalise what’s already there, this doesn’t always make for the most inspiring vision. Incorporating some more ambitious elements can help make it easier for your team to get excited about your project.

Ensure it inspires at all levels

Different stakeholders within your business could have very different views of your digital transformation goals. A vision to increase profitability for greater automation and efficiency that might excite your C-suite could sound downright threatening to those at the coal face. When crafting a vision statement, be aware of how it could be received at all levels of the business, and ensure that it sells the benefits to a range of different teams and departments.

Aim higher with your digital transformation

The most successful digital transformation projects take a hybrid approach, combining internal knowledge with expert third-party support.

At Kerv Consult, we understand what makes digital transformation projects tick, and our track record for delivering projects on time and on budget is unparalleled. Our experts have the know-how and experience to tackle even the most challenging projects, from defining a vision that inspires passion in your team right through to successful completion.

To find out more about how Kerv Consult can support your digital transformation strategy, contact us today!

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