The Four-Step Roadmap for Successful Digital Transformation

5 minute read | 19 Jul 2023

By Mark Emmons

What you’ll learn:

  • The four-step framework for digital transformation
  • Why change management is the main challenge to making digital transformation a reality
  • Why a layer of connectivity is essential for modern business

Your business is contemplating a massive project around digital transformation. And let’s be honest, companies are always looking for ways to upgrade with the latest and greatest technology offers to keep a step ahead of the competition.

So, here are some questions you probably should ask yourself.

  • When you map out your company’s systems and processes, does it look like spaghetti?
  • Do you have too many systems to count?
  • Are you concerned you might be unaware of things in your infrastructure because of poor documentation?

Leaders today are all dealing with similar challenges. Our digital architectures are a mess. It’s hard enough to know what you currently have in your ecosystem even before you digitally transform your operations.

We haven’t even gotten to the most challenging part of modernization yet. How do you get buy-in from skeptical customers – a.k.a. your employees?

Transformation initiatives are a beast.

What you need is a roadmap.

A Four-Step Framework for Digital Transformation

Projects like implementing an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, product lifecycle management (PLM) system, or manufacturing execution system (MES) are all-hands-on-deck, time-consuming efforts that present lots of risks. Yes, there are huge benefits when done well. But if you don’t….gulp.

Businesses often don’t fully appreciate what they’re getting into when starting one of these initiatives. For instance, upgrading an ERP might be a once-a-decade project, so there’s a strong likelihood that the people involved don’t have experience doing it.

If you haven’t done something before, how do you know where to start? That’s why organizations struggle with assembling the right internal team, or figuring out how to and when to involve vendors. Showing the benefits to the end users (or your employees) is an afterthought. And then there’s the question of how to connect the new system with everything else in your digital architecture…

This lack of knowledge leads to confusion, frustration, delays, and an increased risk that the project will fall short – sometimes way short – of the goals.

A step-by-step plan helps make projects of this scope more manageable. We’ve broken it down to an implementation framework for digital transformation that consists of four essential steps:

  1. Business Process
  2. Data Mapping
  3. Solution
  4. Training

You can download the complete guide here. It’s designed to be practical and get you thinking about things you might not have considered as you scope out your initiative. There are also helpful “dos” and “don’ts.”

But there are a couple of key points to highlight.

Why Change Management Is the Main Challenge To Making Digital Transformation a Reality

The biggest obstacle to any transformation project is not the new technology you intend to implement. It’s company culture. Any change significantly impacts the work lives of human beings.

People will likely ask, “Why are we changing this?” or, “Do I have to use it?” You can introduce a great, high-quality product, and then see subpar adoption all because you haven’t put enough thought into involving your end users.

You can avoid that outcome by explaining the “why” to employees: “Here’s the reason for doing this and the benefits you’ll see as we help our company stay on the cutting edge.”

Ensuring people feel heard and their concerns are addressed increases the odds of a stellar implementation and builds trust for the next project. (There’s a “next” project coming, by the way.) It’s also critical to design a proper training schedule to ensure a short learning curve and seamless rollout.

Your Project Sinks or Swims With Application Connectivity

Think about the spaghetti question: Do single, point-to-point integrations connect all of your systems? (You know, resembling single strands of pasta.) That’s just not sustainable as architectures grow more complex. Foundational tools like ERPs, which are the beating heart of your business, can’t be properly connected to everything else with an antiquated integration strategy.

Consider integration as you take your infrastructure to the next level.

Modern middleware replaces point-to-point integrations with a simplified connectivity layer that enables data to flow automatically between any applications. This makes your business connected and more efficient, and your people more productive. Also, as we stand at the dawn of the generative AI revolution, remember that artificial intelligence is only as good as the data that powers it. That means ensuring you have cutting-edge connectivity so all your data is accessible and shared.

Digital transformation is a massive investment of time and resources. But it also goes a long way in helping your business stay ahead of competitors. Having a good roadmap will do more than reduce headaches.

It will help you succeed.

Learn more about the steps that will help ensure the success of your projects by downloading our guide, “The Foundational Steps for Digital Transformation Projects.