Digital transformation (DX) has changed from something that was good to have to something that is necessary to stay competitive. Most digital transformation statistics show that businesses see digital transformation as a vital next step to stay relevant in their business.
However, this digital transformation journey often comes with its own challenges. The most common challenge being that different units of a company follow different processes for digital transformation of their business.
At times, there is also a disconnect between the data and the process. Is there a better way to implement digital transformation? BCG has a ninety-day plan that should be seen as a game changer in this space.
The need to find a common goal
Boston Consulting Group, a global consulting firm working with leaders in business and society, argues that a company’s business and IT units must work together for a successful data and digital transformation.
The consulting firm observes that many companies are suffering “slow, cost data and digital transformations” that delay or prevent their businesses from achieving their goals. It cites the lack of shared strategy between a company’s business and IT sides to address data and digital transformation.
As a result, the authors of the BCG report argue that there is an immediate need for companies to take a step back from their transformation initiatives and define a common goal. This exercise should result in companies finding their organisation’s broader digital ambitions as well as identifying what BCG calls as data trinity.
What is data trinity?
Data trinity is an approach that BCG recommends each company should take for a successful business transformation. It mainly ensures that a company’s business and IT units match the business strategy to the company’s data assets and architecture.
Data trinity comprises data use cases that are important to the business, the data assets that power the use cases, and the data and technology architecture that makes the data assets accessible. The BCG report also states that it typically takes only 60 to 90 days to find the data trinity and reach a common goal.
- Data Use Cases: A company should map where its capabilities reside across the value chain and identify the use cases made possible by these capabilities. This process, according to BCG, will allow the company to understand the 10 to 15 fundamental use cases visible from the value chain. Using this data, the company can then sequence the roll out of the use cases.
- Data Assets: For a company to succeed with data and digital transformation, they must possess the very best data. However, companies are still struggling to identify the data that gives them a sustained competitive advantage. BCG report states that the lack of data maturity is hindering data strategies and business outcomes. To overcome this situation, a company must identify the specific data assets that will help fuel the data use cases.
- Data Technology and Architecture: This is another crucial area where modern businesses are falling behind. BCG report finds that companies have failed to evolve their technology stack and move from “a monolithic to a modular architecture” to free their data and take advantage of newer technologies. A data and digital platform is an architecture that has proven to lower costs and improve speed and agility.
Action the common data and digital transformation
Once a company has defined its data trinity and set it in action, it becomes easier for them to guide and accelerate their shared data and digital transformation. BCG says this will allow them to act on their DX strategy for three to five years and several companies have seen the benefits.
According to BCG, a global industrial goods company with more than 100,000 employees attempted twice to implement a digital transformation strategy. It set focus on digital, automation, and AI projects, but all of them functioned in their own silos. This led to significant investments in digital platforms but no discernible benefit to the business.
To overcome this challenge, the company hired a head of digital transformation with strong operation experience and deep understanding of the business. The DX leader got the executive team involved and found the North Star of their digital transformation project. The leader also oversaw the selection of ten key use cases.
These use cases then led to the company identifying data assets necessary for a competitive advantage. The project also specified requirements for the data platform and overall architecture. “The company now has a much better foundation to support the use cases,” BCG notes in its report.
The report abundantly proves how a company can actually succeed in its data and digital transformation journey. The first step is to rely on the data trinity to find the north star of your digital transformation. This involves finding the data use cases, data assets, and data architecture. Once these goals are determined, it will only take between sixty and ninety days for them to build a data and digital strategy.