Digital Transformation: How to Get Started on Meaningful Innovation

digital transformation

By Steven Fiore

For the last few years “Digital Transformation” has been the buzzword du jour. Behind the phrase itself, was a fundamental desire for businesses to innovate in the digital age. There are plenty of statistics demonstrating why digital transformation demands meaningful innovation:

56% of CEOs say digital improvements have led to increased revenue.

Digitally mature companies are 23% more profitable than their less mature peers.

Digital-first companies are 64% more likely to achieve their business goals than their peers.

The problem is innovation can be confusing and disruptive, contributing to some more disturbing statistics like:

Of the $1.3 trillion spent on digital transformation in 2018, an estimated $900 billion was wasted when initiatives didn’t meet their goals.

70% of digital transformations fail, most often due to resistance from employees.

At Valence, we have a tried and proven approach to helping our customers identify and drive meaningful innovation that maximizes the economic and customer experience gains while minimizing expense, risk, and disruption. You may be thinking, “that must be expensive and time consuming.” The reality is we typically deliver Innovation Workshops over a two-week period and our customers normally only need to be involved for about ten hours over that two week period. Maybe you’re thinking, “My organization is too big or too small to meaningfully innovate.” The truth is we’ve successfully helped everything from startups to the fortune 500 companies through this process. Innovation isn’t just for the very well-funded or very agile, it can make any organization more effective.

While there’s no magic to the process, there is a key ingredient to successful transformation initiatives — people. Experience has taught us that having the right people in the room can make all the difference in the world. Remember that statistic above about digital transformations failing due to resistance from employees? Part of why that happens is captured in an old adage: “people don’t resist change, people resist being changed.” If you can get key stakeholders from all impacted groups, from frontline workers to back office operations, not only do better ideas emerge, but also the participants in the workshop become evangelists for the recommended solutions. They can carry the message to their peers of how they were involved from the very beginning and how it will positively impact their group/team. We’ve even seen the workshops become team building experiences where groups that don’t normally work together start to see common ground between them, thus replacing silos with partnerships.

What else makes these workshops successful? Making sure the scenarios and solutions that emerge focus on quickly delivering business value. Valence uses a structured framework to move from brainstorming ideas to drafting solutions based on those ideas to identifying the key value drivers (both financial and strategic) for each solution so that the solutions can be prioritized based on the highest value in the shortest time with the least complexity.

Once everyone agrees on the prioritized solutions, the Valence team then drills down one more layer. This involves high level scoping for top priorities, whilst keeping in mind dependencies, organizational constraints, technical and organizational requirements, and best practices in technology adoption. This scoping is used to create a roadmap that clearly lays out the order, scope, level of effort, and timelines for implementing each of the top solutions. The roadmaps are also laid out in rapid, deliverable focused sprints such that incremental value can be realized as quickly as possible generating buy in, confidence, and support as each iteration builds on lessons learned in the last one. Equally important, each new iteration also increasingly proves out the value proposition originally promised.

Now Valence is not just a workshop company, the deliverables from these workshops are not ivory tower theoretical exercises destined to gather digital dust. Our core competency is making our customers successful with cutting edge technologies like Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Robotics Process Automation, Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, the Internet of Things, Voice and Chat services, Big Data and Analytics, Blockchain, and more. We are always completely ready and more than happy to execute against the solutions on the roadmap — we’re also equally happy (ok, maybe slightly less happy) if our customers want to tackle some or all of the solutions internally or with other partners. Valence’s goal is to contribute to our customers’ success, and make sure every deliverable meets or exceeds our customers’ expectations, whether that’s a workshop or a proof of concept or a pilot or a full-blown implementation.

If you need help with your digital transformation strategy, or you’re trying to figure out if any emerging technologies can benefit your organization, or if you’re just curious where and how you can become more innovative in your industry — please let us know. We have the people, processes, and experience and are dedicated to your success.

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