5 steps to help you create, sell and implement your digitalization strategy

In the century of digitalization, many people talk about digital platforms, effectiveness improvement, trough minimizing traditional work, AI, replacing some of the traditional and repeating tasks, etc. 

Leaders proclaim mid and long-term projects to transform companies from working the old ways to becoming modern places where people will do their work, but still have enough time for personal stuff, while using superior AI platforms.

According to an HR Technology Market 2019: Disruption Ahead material, presented by Josh Bersin, more than 12 million people spend about 5 trillion USD in some payroll checks, benefits programs, and different perks.  There is also a potential market for about 250 billion USD for recruiting people with digital technologies and another more than 220 billion USD market for digital training, leadership development, and skills training.  And still, after these trends so many companies struggle with implementing digital technologies and platforms to help their business growth by saving valuable time from repeating tasks and help employees invest it in some additional and more creative work.

In most cases, digitalization in the company fails because of a poor strategy or a strategy “I want it all and I want it Now”. That is why,  if a leader wants to make such a step  and convince senior leaders and also company owners to invest in such a disruptive step –  to change the established norms and create new one’s trough digitalization,  it needs a good strategy based on simple, but effective pillars. 

If you are one of those leaders, who want to make the change happen, here is a list to help you build your digital strategy and sell it successfully to whoever you need and fulfill it within a short time.

Define your WHY (core reasons) you want to adopt a digital platform

Do you want a change trough digitalization?  Well, then you need to define why you need it. Many projects for digitalization fail because of the poor establishment of the needs that the digitalization you want to implement will meet.  Before starting with everything you will need to define, first for yourself and then t the senior leadership team in the company why you need something.  An idea, without any profit from it, is hard to be accepted and get funded.  After all, if the company funds every simple idea, it will not have enough time to earn the money to fund the next one.  Establishing a pool of needs will help you to choose those who are valuable for you and those who will help the company at all. 

Establish leadership buy-in

After finishing with the needs, you will have to find a way to sell them to the leadership team.  The hard thing here is to convince them that they need your digital solution as much as you need it.  Do not overcome this step.  And do not think it is an easy one.  No matter what type of company you are in,  you will need to fight the biases of implementing something new,  you don’t know-how will work, instead of using and somehow changing something well know that is already implemented in the company.  The oldest example I remember here is the BI software and Excel.  Some leaders are so addicted to  Excel that no matter what solution you offer,  even one who can create a report within one click,  they will still insist on doing things by using the “old good Excel”.  Building a leadership buy-in for your idea will need to happen by using different leader’s needs. You will have to understand what they want to change and sell them that part of the digital solution you want to implement that will help them.  Think about them, and only about them her.  Your needs do not count. Finding and solving other leaders’ potential issues will win you their support in the process of implementing the new digital platform you want.

Prioritize your ideas  

Trying to sell digitalization? Then you need to start small.  Did you try to take many things in one if your hands? Maybe you wanted to grab 5 things, but you have succeeded with grabbing only 3 of them.  It is the same with the ideas.  Digitalizing a process or function is the same.  The leader who wants to succeed with this process needs to pick up priorities and structure them in a time plan. After this simple arrangement,  you will need to go through your plan and move on the first place the things you can do now and will impact the way you,  your team, and other teams and leaders in the company work.

Develop your goals

One mistake leader often does is to forget aligning final goals for a process they want to start.  To not fall into this trap, you will need to ensure you have three levels of goals.

Start with the end – create your big goal that is somewhere in the future.  This final goal is your end of the path you are going to walk on.  Define what will be different at the end when you finish with all other tasks.

Already did that.

Move to the mid-term goals.  These are often called milestones.  These milestones represent different phases of your midterm strategy.  Every phase you finish will get you closer to the final goal, but it also  will mean that you have upgraded some parts in the traditionally established process you and your team are working on now. 

In the end, structure your short-term goals.  They are mostly operative tasks you will need to fulfill, to enable change.  There is no right or a wrong number of short-term goals.  But there is one simple rule.  They must be planned, achievable, and resources for them must be negotiated. 

Assess and adjust for better performance

The plan you are creating for ensuring the change will happen must be alive.  You cannot set up some goals and blindfold follow them no matter what happens.  The real change happens when all the panned goals and tasks are aligned with the “big picture” in the company. If you lead a digitalization process you will need to set up feedback and adjustment meetings.  These meetings must be based on the changes, happening in other parts of the company.  A project who does not follow these plans is already dead.  In a fast-moving world, where changes happen in minutes, a digitalization, as a look in future productivity, must adapt to the overall company strategy and changes.  Making this a regular activity will ensure that you will get to the end and achieve what you have planned, without investing time in meaningless activities and concentrate resources where they can make the biggest impact.

IN CONCLUSION:

The digitalization of traditional processes is a future goal for all forward-thinking companies.  The hard thing with it is that no matter the bigger vision, there are still operational leaders, who stop the change sticking to the old known patterns. If a forward-thinking leader wants to implement digitalization in a company and change it for good he or she must move carefully and plan each step in the project,  to be sure that the change will happen, and this same change will be the win the company needs.

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