Computer Information Technology Connection Concept

4 considerations for a successful digital transformation

The CEO’s leadership, defined outcomes and measured decisions are key to a successful transformation that underpins growth and competitive advantage.

For growing companies, investing in a digital transformation is a little like buying a house. You know you need to expand your digital capabilities to keep pace with your business growth. So, you survey the market, identify the most suitable solutions, calculate what you can spend, and evaluate the available options. What you don’t need to do is build the house yourself, from foundation to roof.

Here are four steps to help chart the course of a digital transformation.

1. Lead from the top.

This is not an IT-driven project. Regardless of an organization’s size, sector or maturity level, a successful digital transformation should begin and end with the CEO, says Thack Brown, COO for SAP North America: “It’s the job of the CEO to be informed enough to be dangerous and take ownership of driving the vision of what you want in that digital future.”

2. Define the outcome in concrete terms.

The digital transformation planning process needs to align stakeholders on the objectives and criteria for success, which then are revisited and evaluated throughout the implementation. From the CEO all the way down to the programmer or the business analyst, make sure everybody understands the true intent and outcome you’re trying to achieve.

3. Think strategically.

Digital transformation creates a ripple effect throughout the entire organization that will endure for years. If the strategy requires a combination of software solutions, the choices should be deliberate, seamless for users and designed to offer end-to-end visibility to the C-suite — not just discrete pieces of the puzzle. Getting that rubric right and thinking it through strategically are important. Companies of all sizes can work with experienced partners to outsource and leverage a larger base of skill sets, across all business functions, achieving greater visibility and effectiveness than using more limited internal resources.

4. Err on the side of less code.

For established companies, legacy technologies consisting of thousands of lines of excess code are like having a swimming pool no one uses. It still has to be maintained, updated and kept secure, all at a cost. Legacy technology built and then continuously patched with custom code often becomes more of a liability than an asset. Entrepreneurs and startups should learn from this experience and seek low-code, off-the-shelf solutions to support digital transformation.


For growing companies, digital transformation can seem like an impossible reach. But it doesn’t have to be. The increasing availability of off-the-shelf solutions, flexible platforms, advisory services or a combination of products is usually a worthwhile investment with significant payoff for businesses of all types — if they do the research to choose the best answer for their needs.

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