As your digital transformation project evolves, you may find the journey has many twists and turns. So how do you stay on track?
A digital transformation roadmap will providing strategic direction at every project stage, from initial stakeholder buy-in all the way to measuring success.
Contents of the Digital Roadmap
The roadmap is a guiding document that contains the strategy and tactics for achieving your organization's digital transformation vision. This guide is the culmination of the essential discovery and strategy development work that is a prerequisite to any human-centered digital transformation effort.
Read on for a description of the key components of the roadmap and how it can be used effectively throughout the project lifecycle.
Your roadmap should include the following:
IT Systems Inventory: a list of all business-critical IT systems, their current use, and where they are in their lifecycle (e.g., planned, active, end-of-life, etc.)
Challenges: Based on your stakeholder discovery, what are the challenges that the effort will set out to address and where do they sit in order of priority based on urgency and level of difficulty?
Opportunities: What changes and emerging needs are on the horizon? Are there foreseeable opportunities where the right kind of digital transformation could set the organization up for a massive step forward?
Future IT Systems: Is your current technology stack not cutting it? The roadmap is a great place to identify gaps and system types that might be needed to shore up your digital capabilities. Lacking an HRIS system or CRM? Include it here and embark on a well-executed technology selection when the time is right.
Digital Transformation Objectives: As you synthesize your discovery findings and strategy discussions you'll want to sum up the work to be done with a handful of broad objectives. Examples include "making best use of existing technology" and "clarifying ownership and accountability of key systems". These will set the stage for the work planning and phasing that will comprise the core of your roadmap.
Phased High-Level Work Plan: Starting with your objectives, define key milestones and activities that will move you closer to achieving your stated goals. These activities and milestones should cut across people, process and technology. This is critical since even in cases where new technology is being introduced, thoughtfulness around business processes and resourcing will determine the effort's ultimate success or failure. We recommend building out 2-3 phases initially covering 12-24 months, depending on how quickly progress can be made. Other nice-to-have items can be kept for further consideration in a separate roadmap backlog section.
How a Roadmap Adds Value At Every Project Stage
A digital transformation roadmap is a living document that can serve as an essential resource during project planning, start-up, and even months or years after project completion. Here are some key benefits at every project stage.
The roadmap is a communication tool that can be used to secure stakeholder buy-in for the envisioned digital transformation project. It can also be a helpful change management tool, helping leadership and staff understand and meaningfully support the vision for what success will look like.
If your organization has had unsuccessful change initiatives in the past, the roadmap can reassure staff that there is a master plan in place that will address their needs and pain points in due time. And when people begin getting impatient about improvements taking longer than they had hoped, the roadmap can demonstrate the value of a phased approach that generates incremental but measurable improvements at every step.
By outlining a critical path to success from the start, you can prioritize key activities, deliver value as you go, and prioritize digital investments with the greatest ROI for your organization.
As you go about selecting any needed technology, refer to the roadmap to help you focus on user needs and existing challenges. Remember, each element of the digital workplace works together to create an integrated, balanced whole. Instead of chasing the most cutting edge solution or being swayed by a salesperson's compelling pitch, consider how the new addition will fit into the roadmap and be compatible with other planned changes and system introductions.
Whatever launch signifies in the context of your project, rest assured that you have now opened the floodgates for the organization to think even bigger about how it can derive the most value from its technology. The roadmap will be your metric of success but will also provide a useful framework for planning subsequent phases of improvement.
The roadmap can also help to enforce a certain discipline and process around how technology decisions are made? Department X wants to acquire a new system to support its business processes? It's not in the current roadmap so we'll have to evaluate based on how complementary this change would be.
If you or others are faced with tough decisions, the roadmap can help you take a measured, strategic approach to the design of your digital workplace and its evolution over time. Like any strategy, it is a useful, highly visible framework for moving the organization forward that will serve you at every stage of the journey.
About Ideal State
Ideal State is a digital transformation consulting and advisory firm founded in 2016. We believe that anyone, from any department, and with any level of technology experience can lead a successful digital transformation project. Learn more