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Key elements to know for a successful digital transformation

Sooner or later, we will all have to understand, present and perhaps develop a digital transformation project. In 2018, Gartner, an analyst firm asked 460 CEOs to list their top five priorities for their business in the next two years. 62% of participants surveyed indicated a management program or a transformation project intended to make their company more “digital”. 54% of them even said they were aiming for transformation rather than optimization.

August 11, 2023
5 min read

Image credit © by gettyimages, Young woman using futuristic interface at repair shop.

Jeff Bezos founder of Amazon digital transformation new technologies

The rise of the Internet has changed everything. It will have taken barely 10 years to significantly modify the way of capturing information and 20 years in total to transform the way society obtains information, interacts and consumes. The world has completely changed, so much so, that transformation through the penetration of digital into our daily lives, has become digital transformation. Undeniably, almost every business environment has undergone a profound transformation, especially since the rise of the Internet in the mid-1990s.

The appropriation of new technologies by users has developed new requirements, and opened the way to new levers of growth and operational optimization for companies.

From now on, the digital transformation affects, in a transversal way, the economic of organizations. HR, sales, marketing, communication, operational efficiency, IS, production… A simple project can impact an entire organization.

IDC (, a market analysis firm, estimates that businesses around the world spent $1.25 trillion on digital transformation in 2019. That will be nearly $6 trillion in 2022. IDC also predicts that a growing number of businesses will invest in transformation projects.

Image credit © by Getty Image, Customer purchases from Pottery Shop. It pays with a smartphone, scans a QR code and pays an invoice by making a quick and easy contactless payment. NFC Technology tap and go concept.

But what do we mean by digital transformation?

Gartner defines it as follows: “Digital transformation is the process of leveraging digital technologies and related capabilities to create a new, high-performance digital business model”. Digital transformation projects are related to the following aspects:

  • Respond to rapidly changing competition due to “DeepTech” disruptive technologies such as AI, Machine Learning, Internet of Things, etc.

  • Provide better services to customers through digital technologies.

  • Leverage data to gain competitive advantage, resulting in increased revenue and/or reduced costs.

  • Rethink the functioning of services (IT, human resources) in the company.

It is therefore about the exploitation of digital technologies to create a new solid business model.

But what are the key elements of a successful implementation?

Implementing a digital transformation project within a team or across a company requires planning certain steps necessary to convince decision-makers, because the use of new technologies can generate resistance to change. New technological tools require both financial and human investments, not to mention the need to train users.

1. Start planning your digital transformation while you are still in a position of strength, to protect yourself from future disruption.

“We take care of the roof when the weather is nice” said a famous politician named Kennedy! Proactive transformation allows a business to evolve incrementally, building the capabilities and positioning necessary for long-term success.

2. Analyze the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and risks in your company or department (“SWOT Analysis”: Identify gaps in customer experience vis-à-vis company products and services).

  • The SWOT analysis can be used as a starting point to outline the future of a product, a service or more broadly, of a company.

  • SWOT analysis is a key marketing tool, applicable at all levels of your service offering or organization. It aims to identify Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.

  • For your SWOT analysis to be effective, you must first distinguish the internal factors (Strengths, Weaknesses) from the external factors (Opportunities, Risks), then see if they are favorable or harmful to your interests. In a rapidly changing competitive environment, you will be able to more clearly identify the development prospects of your business. You will also have a presentation framework known to all, which will allow you to present your strategy to your company's decision-makers.

3. Define the appropriate business model for you

  • Following the SWOT analysis and to evaluate the chosen digital transformation project, you must face the following organizational challenges:

    i. The business model that worked until now is now threatened by a “digital” upheaval.

    ii. If the company is to create a new reliable business model, it must be prepared to revolutionize itself. You need to imagine what new business models will be most suitable for your company in order to choose how you will transform your company among the options of development, purchase, partnership, investment or incubation.

  • Digital transformation is a continuous and perpetual movement. The economic, commercial and financial mechanisms that have made the success of today's leaders are not those that will make them successful tomorrow…! You have to continually reinvent yourself.

4. Break down your digital transformation project into 3 steps with the BCG methodology

The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) has advised companies to help them carry out hundreds of digital transformation projects, with considerable operational and financial consequences.

Digital transformation projects typically take many years to succeed. Breaking these projects down into three stages makes it possible to understand and manage the issues to be overcome at each stage:

  • Stage 1: Secure project funding. Create a first profitability analysis of your billed digital transformation project that will highlight the profitability of your project and meet the objectives and expectations of the various parties involved. The goal? Get the green light to launch your project.

  • Stage 2: Succeed in the medium term by implementing organizational changes.

  • Stage 3: Make change sustainable because a digital transformation project must create lasting organizational change.

The first two stages extend over the first semester or the first year of the project. The latter runs to the end…even beyond.

Image credit © by Getty Image, Low angle view of a production manager using a laptop in a production line to monitor production volume to meet customer demand.

With the acceleration of digital, new DeepTech technologies will continue to bring a “break”, a disruption, as soon as they are integrated into a service or a product.

As with the emergence of the Internet in our daily activities, it will be necessary to anticipate the integration of DeepTech for your organization in order to optimize competitive advantages with solutions to eliminate any dissatisfaction of your customers with the products and services of your company.

Assessing the risks related to your sector, your customers, your business model and your performance will give you an indicator that will allow you to position yourself in relation to the risk of future digital disruption.

Armed with these elements and the culture of continuous innovation, you can put your digital transformation project in the best possible position to survive and thrive in the rapidly changing environment.

Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, said in his early days " I don't care about my competitors, only my customers matter. Listening to them is the priority"!



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