Do your New Year’s resolutions for better health and fitness include some fitness goals for your business too?

The pace of transformation that we’ve seen in the last two years will not slow. That means, companies will need to be digitally fit to keep up over the long term. But many are not yet.

According to the Germany country report of the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) 2021 recently published by the European Commission:

  • less than a third of [German] enterprises (29%) share information electronically
  • 18% of [German] SMEs issue e-Invoices

By 2030 the Commission wants those numbers to increase towards 90% or better. As a runner with a few marathons and many kilometers behind me, the long term goals sound as challenging as a marathon –  a digital transformation marathon.

The ambitious goals don’t surprise me. Digital transformation is a prerequisite for sustaining growth, gaining market share and maintaining competitive advantage. The pandemic forced even the most reluctant organizations to realize that transforming digitally was no longer a prerogative, but a necessity. To be “Fit for the Future”, we need a digital vision, growth mindset and strategy.

Digital Transformation is a long journey and no two  are the same

I often refer to this change as a Digital Transformation Marathon. Both a marathon and a large scale digital transformation require similar elements: an ambitious vision, a high level of discipline, mental and physical strength, and endurance. I remember how impossible I thought a marathon was before I ran my first. It can feel the same when facing the huge challenge of transforming your organization. Like marathon runners, we all start at different levels of understanding and execution, so need different starting points and require individual adjustments. And like in competitive running, there are smarter ways to build fitness for fast and sustainable results.

Digital Transformation Wheel

We developed The Digital Transformation Wheel, a proven 8-step methodology, to fast-track transformation strategies in a structured way. The Digital Transformation Wheel represents an ongoing and iterative process of successful transformation. Every iteration generates insights, so you can learn quickly and continuously improve along your journey.

Your own Digital Fitness Check

While each of the 8 components is important and needs to be addressed, the starting point and sequence will differ for each organization, and the effort required is determined based on the current fitness level of your business. You can do your own digital fitness check here online. You’ll be able to assess in each of the following components:

  • THE DIGITAL VISION: The digital vision is the center of every digital transformation process and the basis for a successful digital strategy. Among the vast possibilities, the main focus is to develop your own vision as precisely as possible and communicate it to the world. A digital vision describes the company’s long-term target and aspiration.
  • A HOLISTIC STRATEGY: Next, companies require a holistic strategy that incorporates digitalization in all areas. The strategy derives from both the digital vision and the company‘s DNA. Specifically, this means translating the existing strengths and competencies, sustainable products and services for the customers of tomorrow.
  • NEW BUSINESS MODELS: Those who want to offer the customer of today an added value must rely on digital business models, create new market access, and expand existing product ranges and services with digital offerings. This takes courage to question  the company and its core business while looking for insights in new data. 
  • FLEXIBLE ORGANISATION: Companies need to be flexible in their organization to be prepared for the digital future. Like startups, traditional companies need to embrace a new way of thinking— keeping a market- and customer-centered orientation in mind, while building up the necessary agile infrastructure. 
  • DYNAMIC PROCESSES AND TOOLS: Digital tools such as cloud-based systems and the use of agile methods such as Scrum and KANBAN help to make workflows and communication more transparent and dynamic. The right tools also promote more effective work processes and shorten work cycles and co-ordination phases.
  • OPEN CULTURE:  Digital transformation means establishing a new mindset within a company in the context of existing values and visions. Like successful startups, companies have to trust their employees, allow them to take on responsibility, and enable them to use their strengths. 
  • RELEVANT KPIs (Key Performance Indicators): In the course of digital transformation, digital indicators should be derived from the goals and integrated into the existing target and incentive systems. When the KPIs are tailored to the business model, opportunities and risks can be identified at a glance and undesirable developments can be corrected quickly.
  • CONSISTENT IMPLEMENTATION & COMMUNICATION: A strategy of ongoing small steps and honest two-way communication across all departments is the best to consistently implement the digital vision. A build-test-learn methodology ensures that new ideas are tested with real users at an early stage and constantly optimized, to result in a sustainable product. 

Our Transformation Wheel will provide the navigation system you need to stay on track and find the best routes to digital success on this challenging journey. 

To find out more

Download our Digital Fitness White Paper here for a full description of each of the eight steps as well as case studies.  If you would like to discuss your specific challenges or digital growth goals, feel free to contact us. We are always happy to run alongside you.