7 Key Principles for a Successful Digital Transformation Strategy

Piers Kelly

Creating a digital transformation strategy provides the backbone for kickstarting both the digital and cultural transformation that an organisation - be it private or public sector - needs. However, it’s wise not to underestimate the complexity associated with such a change. Digital transformation doesn’t happen overnight and requires support from all key stakeholders, such as staff and management.

There are a number of key principles we can follow when implementing digital transformation to ensure the process is successful.

  1. Be Secure
  2. Utilise Automation
  3. Remain Technologically Agile
  4. Acknowledge Market Focus
  5. Consult Your Analytics
  6. Learn From Mistakes
  7. Learn and Network with Others

1. Be Secure

Digital integration demands effective security. Data theft and hacking are increasingly prevalent problems within the growing digital world and companies who are looking to implement new digital strategies can become easy targets if they fail to take the necessary precautions.

The initial component of a digital transformation strategy should be an emphasis on relevant security standards and up-to-date risk management policies.

2. Utilise Automation

Another critical part of a successful digital transformation strategy is process automation. The digital architecture of an organisation is, more often than not, comprised of a number of different technologies and applications.

Legacy softwares are outdated. To remain up-to-date and ensure an integrated and accessible digital transformation, cloud-based software needs to be utilised. These applications, such as shared drives, CRMs and planning software offer the advantage of automation - making things like data entry and workflows fast and efficient.

3. Remain Technologically Agile

While the use of new technology gives the advantage of increased agility, it simultaneously demands agility from its users. If we’re capitalising on change management in relation to digital components, we need to be proactive. This can be helped in a number of ways:

  • Cloud-based infrastructure: Cloud-based digital environments naturally increase agility. Many technologies now offer cloud-based services which provide a universal platform for collaboration and security.
  • Experimentation and development: Creating prototypes and testing new ideas - these are the ways in which we remain responsive. Using new tech is an iterative way of building upon current agility.
  • De-coupling: Legacy software environments that have been used for a long time can be hard to alter as they’ve become so integral to an organisation’s model. However, to remain agile, we need to de-couple these elements to create a modular architecture. This means that your systems, while related to one another, can act independently and don’t cause issues if any of them stall.

4. Acknowledge End-Users

As technology develops, so too do the demands of customers and citizens. They want to interact from anywhere at any time or place. New technology within the public sector needs to take note of its end users. This means placing the onus of transformation on understanding these users, their needs and demographics. It also means the design of the technology needs to fit their overall needs, as it’s about creating an improved middle ground between the citizen and the state.

Digital transformation can effectively collate data about all of these interactions, improving personalisation and the creation of solutions.

Digital transformation needs to be built to solve the needs of those who are likely to interact with your organisation. By providing a targeted response, digital architecture can help to improve the end deliverable and the quality of services provided.

If you’re interested in seeing how some public services in the UK have implemented a successful digital transformation and how they went about it, read this blog here.

5. Consult Your Analytics

Another key principle of a successful digital transformation project is consulting and acting on your analytics. Analytics is an advantage gained from digital transformation, with analytic functions usually coming as part and parcel of modern-day digital technology.

Data capture and analytics provides the basis for real-time decision making. Through this, actionable responses and recommendations for user needs can be created. Although, it’s not enough to just look at your analytics though. Remember to actually analyse them.

Most organisations aim to start with master data management to combat the limitations of where data is actually stored. Part of a successful digital transformation strategy includes examining data flows, validation and storage to determine new ways of carrying out these processes.

This data needs to be universal. To create a collaborative public service data should be both accessible and agile - which helps to influence the ease of organisational change. Cultural shifts within public service organisations are only as fast and efficient as the data they use. 

If data is used wisely, namely accurately and through integrated technological platforms, it helps organisations to improve. Analytics shows us what is and isn’t working, so through a dedicated effort when it comes to data, we can use it to do and be better across the board.

6. Learn From Mistakes

Knowing how to transform an organisation digitally and implementing that knowledge are two different stories. Understanding where mistakes have been made and how they were made is a good way of reinforcing your digital transformation strategy and making sure your transformation is a success.

Siloed data and change management creates friction between departments and has the chance of ruining your digital transformation strategy.

Digital transformation is a broad term in itself and doesn’t mean that you need to enhance and change every single part of the organisation. By placing focus on specific areas that need developing or opportunities that can be taken, you can create focused, solid initiatives that people can get behind. Essentially, the external factors need to be intrinsic to your strategy.

These key principles should help you implement a digital transformation, which can lead to an adaptable organisation that is practically future-proof. However, these principles alone won’t be enough to help on your journey - you’re going to need a guide.

7. Learn and Network with Others

Digital transformation and cultural transformation go hand in hand. By attending DigiGov Expo you’ll be able to secure a good insight into the two practices. On top of that, you’ll discover the best practices when it comes to implementation, expert advice and a working knowledge of how they interact with the public sector.

Taking place on the 8th-9th May at the Excel in London DigiGov Expo will enable you to:

  • Meet and network with 2,400+ fellow public sector tech professionals across the two days.
  • Learn from 150+ exhibitors who are on the frontline of providing technological solutions to public sector challenges
  • Hear from key figures including Sue Bateman – CDDO, Keith Dargie - Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, Lord Francis Maude, Daljit Rehal – HMRC and many others including representatives from the Alan Turing Institute, Cabinet Office Digital, the ICO, Innovate UK, the NAO and many more across 4 theatres
  • Forecast future tech trends with a clear and progressive roadmap of what’s to come

Click here to find out more and secure your place to attend.

Discover more at DigiGov Expo 2024

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