Digital Transformation: Go It Alone or With a Pro?
Managing Director|Kerv Consult
Published 06/06/23 under:
Working with an experienced digital transformation partner gives your project the best chance of success. Here’s how to pick a good one.
Deciding to embark on a digital change journey is easy — the advantages of transforming your organisation can be clear and obvious. The hard part is all of the additional decisions you now have to make about how, when and with whom you plan to migrate, manage and maximise your investment, de-risk the change and really drive home the benefits.
The most important decision of all, however, is whether you go it alone or partner with an expert who brings proven experience?
We believe that while a handful of organisations have the knowledge, resources, and expertise to complete a digital transformation on their own, the vast majority will achieve their goals faster and more cost-effectively by partnering with an expert. Here’s why.
The Problem of Going it Alone
Unless your team has already completed several digital transformation projects, going it alone probably isn’t the best strategy. You may be able to save money by muddling through it on your own, but digital transformations are incredibly complex, and you’re likely to run into a series of hurdles and challenges on your journey.
The first problem you may face is manpower-related. Few organisations have the deep expertise necessary to carry out a digital change programme successfully. Nor are most teams actually organised in a way that can handle the level of disruption that comes with such a change.
You’ll likely have a resource problem, too. Full-time employees hardly have time in their busy schedules for something as all-consuming as a digital change programme. Short of hiring more staff, most teams simply don’t have the resources they need to dedicate to digital transformation — even where those employees have the necessary skills.
Finally, you’ll need to consider the opportunity cost of your decision. Going it alone invariably means the project will take longer. And the longer you spend on your digital transformation, the less time you’ll have to pursue other opportunities and the longer it will be before you can take advantage of all the benefits digital change brings. At best, you’ll risk costing your company more in lost opportunities you’ve saved by going it alone. At worst, you could risk your company its place in the market as you don’t keep up in the digital age.
The Benefits of a Partner
A dedicated partner can overcome all of the issues highlighted above, offering additional resources, expertise and an ability to work across departments in the best interests of the business. That alone is reason enough for many organisations to work with a certified partner, but there are plenty more benefits that an expert can bring to a digital transformation.
The first is experience. Things rarely go smoothly during a digital transformation and a certified partner will be better placed than in-house employees to react competently in the face of the unexpected. The same issues crop up in digital transformations time and time again. Because an experienced partner has seen them before, and earned the scars, they’ll know how to react.
Second, a great partner will bring new perspectives to your digital transformation project. There’s more than one way to transform your services and an experienced team will be able to enrich your project with suggestions and ideas of their own.
Third, a partner will help you share the load both in terms of responsibility and risk. Having someone there willing to be held accountable and take responsibility for the success of the project can take a huge weight off even the most accomplished CIO.
It’s important to note here that a digital partner doesn’t mean that your team is replaced on the project. Far from it. CIOs still take ownership of most aspects of a digital transformation, according to research by IDG. Instead, the digital transformation partner will act as a trusted advisor and capable leader acting on behalf of the CIO/CDO, allowing you to oversee the digital transformation without being consumed while still keeping an eye on day-to-day roles.
How to Choose the Right Partner
Once you’ve decided to work with a certified expert, you’ll need to find a partner who can deliver digital change successfully, on time and on budget. With so many experts out there, we recommend narrowing your search using the following criteria.
Look for Industry Experts
Finding a partner with previous experience in your sector is imperative. Although the skills necessary to successfully complete a digital transformation are, by and large, transferable, each industry has its own set of unique challenges that must be overcome. Choosing an agency that has “been there and done that” should result in a much smoother process. It’s a reason why healthcare, public service providers and oil and gas companies trust us to deliver digital transformation projects because we’ve delivered so many in these spaces before.
Look for Big Picture Thinkers
While some digital transformation partners will take your ideas and run with them, experienced consultants will question your brief to understand the exact goals and outcomes you’re trying to achieve. They’ll then work with you to develop an approach that prioritises your goals without jeopardising your current workflow. It’s only by taking a big picture approach and understanding the exact outcomes you’re looking for that a successful programme can be established.
Look for Forward Thinkers
In the same vein, you should look for a partner willing to discuss and take into account your future requirements. Not only that, they should have experience creating scalable projects for similar companies and have the resources to build something similar for you.
Look for Great Communicators
A lack of communication can waylay even the best-laid plans, and digital transformation projects are no different in this regard. Get clear on your preferred partner’s communication strategy and onboarding process before you start. If they can’t speak succinctly about their client relationship strategy, you’ll probably suffer a breakdown in communication at some stage during the project.
Partner with Kerv Consult
Kerv Consult has helped dozens of companies across a range of sectors to successfully complete transformations and reap all of the benefits digital change brings. For more information on our process and track record or to discuss your specific needs, click here to contact one of our consultants toady.
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