How to Succeed at Digital Transformation

WXN Digital Brand Ambassador Karima-Catherine Goundiam shares important steps businesses and organizations must take to succeed at digital transformation. 

In a previous article shared on LinkedIn, I addressed how digital companies are seen from a customer’s perspective. Today’s post addresses the complexities of transformations that occur within an organization. To make a successful digital transformation, McKinsey Quarterly addresses several key points.

1. What direction is best?

The choice of where a business will go needs to be based on the future instead of on the present. Digital innovations are constantly evolving to transform how customers interact with brands and businesses. Being stuck in the present will limit the imagination and creativity an organization can tap into, which will, in turn, limit its future growth.

Fifteen years ago, many of today’s internet stocks didn’t even exist. The same will be true fifteen years from now. By looking to the future, you’ll have an easier time choosing the best possible direction.

 2. Who will lead?

Transformation is not a project to delegate. The CEO and the supporting executive team need to take it up directly. CEOs are responsible for their organization’s vision and direction. The executive team is responsible for implementing that vision and direction. Sometimes team members may resist this leadership. That is why putting the right team of people in place to drive the change beforehand is critical to a successful transformation.

Teams don’t need to be large to drive great success. For instance, Starbucks has adopted numerous digital initiatives since 2005 with a team of three executives leading the way.

3. How will you sell the vision to stakeholders?

Communication is critical to success, but it’s not the only element you need to address. Deciding who receives the communication and who offers it will also affect how your stakeholders accept the information.

You need crisp, clear messages in all relevant channels and formats. The goal of communication is often to inform, but what you should really be accomplishing with your communication is creating allies. By bringing your stakeholders on board with the transformation, you’ll begin to form a culture of change.

4. Where will you position the organization?

It’s easy to say something like, “I want to be the best social media integration company in the world.” Unfortunately, having the desire is often seen as the equivalent to having already accomplished the goal, and that encourages digital to fail. You need to be completely honest about the skills, capabilities and technologies that are available to your organization and how these fit within the industry.

Honest information will help you reach realistic decisions. Being overconfident will lead to poorly structured decisions.

Remember that being aggressive is not the same as being overconfident. If you consider your brand’s and business’s full scope of strengths and weaknesses in terms of resources for every decision, you can transform quickly and successfully.

5. Who makes decisions?

 Somebody needs to take responsibility for a final decision. Businesses are not generally democracies. When push comes to shove, the CEO, president, or designated decision-maker must be willing to make the tough calls.

To ensure that the choices being made are positive and encourage transformation, you must collect information through analytics and create meaningful metrics. The executive team should be filtering this need down to their direct reports. Then, you can summarize the information, put it into a meaningful format, and communicate it to the CEO or designated decision-maker.

 6. How are you going to allocate funds?

Business leaders already allocate funds to make sure resources get to where they’re needed every day. In a digital transformation, however, these allocations need to happen faster.

Instead of operating as a standard business, it may be useful to operate more like a venture capitalist. This helps you stop immediately if they don’t promote the mission or vision that you’re creating through the transformation process.

Shifting to a VC-style of operations also means speeding up the budgeting cycle. Many organizations operate on an annual cycle. With a digital transformation, it can be beneficial to shift to a monthly cycle so that funds are available when needed.

7. When should you take action?

You need to take action now. Even though up to 70% of digital transformation programs fail, many businesses will also fail if they have not sought out digital.

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider the risk vs. reward calculations before going all-in. You want to be able to take advantage of what digital can provide so that you can increase revenues and reduce costs. Then the gains that you make can be reinvested into the transformation process so that the business continues to grow.

“Going digital” is often treated as a catchphrase. But digital is more than having a website or being able to accept online orders. The Digital Revolution requires brands and businesses to look at what they do in a very different way so that they can meet their customers’ needs right now.

Redefining Leadership with Disruption and Humanity

“Regardless of where you work or what you do, it’s really important to always change the way you approach things. . . .Redefining what we do and how we do it, shows the evolution of our society and its needs,” says Top 100 Winner, Ulrike Bahr-Gedalia.

In her recent insightful TedxKelowna talk, Bahr-Gedalia challenges us to redefine our traditional perception and understanding of leadership using two key qualities – disruption and humanity. The outcome, she says, can be extraordinary.

Bahr-Gedalia was joined at TedXKelowna by fellow Top 100 Winner Tasha Kheiriddin – find her heartfelt talk on how autism can make a better world here.

Top Leadership Takeaways From Lainey Lui

If we had to sum up our cocktail event last month with Lainey Lui in three words, they would be: inspiring, insightful, and candid. The successful founder of LaineyGossip.com held nothing back as she gave a rare, behind-the-curtain look at a day in her life. Although celebrities like Brad and Angelina were name-checked at the event, it was the gossip maven’s reflections on building a successful, female-driven business that took centre stage.

Find our three top leadership takeaways from Lainey Lui below, along with the event’s signature drink recipe and a ticket giveaway for our next Speaker Series.

  1. Passion Is Key

It would be an understatement to say Lainey Lui has a lot on the go, but she wouldn’t have it any other way. The Co-host of CTV’s The Social, Senior Correspondent for eTalk, and founder and scribe of LaineyGossip.comembraces her jam-packed schedule because she truly enjoys what she is doing. Her dedication and passion for her work is infectious. “I have the luxury and the privilege of doing several jobs that I love.” – Lainey Lui

  1. Pay It Forward

In addition to her hard work and passion, Lainey credits her success to female mentors who guided and supported her. As a result, she has made it her mission to help other women rise to the top and reach their career goals. “There are many women who have given me opportunities, so I take it very seriously to give opportunities to other women. LaineyGossip.com features nine female voices, these voices are diverse and through a number of different backgrounds.” – Lainey Lui

  1. Be Vulnerable and Seek Allies

Lainey speaks openly about the struggles she has overcome and relatable challenges that she continues to face as a female entrepreneur. Even with millions of views per month, she shares that some still question the value of her gossip site (we direct those that have this view to Lainey’s fascinating Ted Talk about gossip’s role in society) and fail to take her seriously as a business owner. To work through these challenges, Lainey wants women to start having more serious discussions about their work struggles and lean on each other for solutions, encouragement, and community. “As many challenges that I may have or you may have, I hope that we all have some allies and that these allies are woman.” – Lainey Lui

Peachy Sangria Recipe + Speaker Series Ticket Giveaway

The signature cocktail at our Lainey Lui event was a refreshing, “Peachy Sangria” made with fresh peaches and blueberries. Enjoy the recipe below from our event host  2nd Floor Events. What’s your favourite summer drink? Tweet us at @WXN with your answer for the chance to WIN two free tickets to our next Cocktail Speaker Series event!

Ingredients (per glass)

4 oz. Dry White Wine

1 oz. Peach Schnapps

0.5 oz. Cherry Brandy

1 oz. Soda

Fresh Peaches

Raspberries

Blueberries

Oranges

Directions

In a large bowl, put fresh peaches and oranges together with Peach Schnapps and Cherry Brandy. Leave this covered in the fridge overnight to allow liquors to soak into fruit. Fill wine glass with ice and soaked fruit (2-3 pieces of fruit per glass). Pour in wine and liquors, and top with soda. Garnish glasses with fresh raspberries and blueberries for colour and enjoy!