To make digital transformation concrete, achievable, and measurable, organisations can assess a variety of technology advances and broader business trends.

Digital technology is now so ubiquitous and affordable that many organisations are using it to pursue new business models and opportunities. In corporate boardrooms, digital has become an umbrella term for strategies that use innovations to drive disruption. Increasingly, leaders across the enterprise are realising that digital’s real value proposition is in using burgeoning technologies to re-imagine the entire business and future-proof the organisation—and it typically begins with a wide cross-section of leaders and strategists working together to define new ambitions. For CMOs, that can include a greater ability to collect insights and deliver an enhanced customer experience.


Driving Catalysts

Emerging technology plays a critical role in digital transformation, with the following catalysts warranting exploration and action:

Connectivity. Think of the ecosystems, competition, and new market dynamics that could develop among established and emerging stakeholders. Explore how new combinations of evolving actors across industries, sectors, government agencies, functions, departments, and market segments could create value through sophisticated models of collaboration and competition.

Increasingly, leaders across the enterprise are realising that digital’s real value proposition is in using burgeoning technologies to re-imagine the entire business and future-proof the organisation.

Experience innovation. Take a human-centred approach to designing and re-imagining experiences across touchpoints with stakeholders, including customers, citizens, employees, business partners, prospects, recruits, and ecosystem players.

Cybersecurity. Consider how modern approaches to security and privacy can advance new opportunities. Cybersecurity is even more relevant as organisations develop new assets, re-purpose legacy assets, and expand trust zones. New approaches include protecting potentially valuable intellectual property and customer/employee information, establishing mechanisms for vigilance to detect threats and changes to risk profiles, and resilient responses in case of incidents.

Risk. Focus on understanding, navigating, and potentially shaping external regulations and evolving statutes. It is vital to explore scenario planning and evolve strategic responses to operational and financial risk, geopolitics, and macroeconomic forces. Increasingly, risk approaches also consider potential ethical and social ramifications of investments and innovations.

Real-time data intelligence. Treat data as an elemental value driver providing a competitive edge to organisations that analyse divergent data sources and streams in real time and disseminate critical insights seamlessly within and across organisational boundaries. Real-time data analysis is a key element of crafting personalised messaging that optimises value for both the customer and the company.

Automation. Re-evaluate which jobs and skills fit digitally transformed operations as traditional workplace boundaries between humans and machines blur. Organisations can also determine alternative ways to achieve desired outcomes; increasingly, organisations use automation to modernise operations and fundamentally transform how work gets done.

Game-changing technology. Eliminate divides between information, operational, and product technology—which collectively serve as the organisation’s digital backbone—in creating a road map for new digital opportunities.


Playbook for Reinvention

Leading organisations are adopting a repeatable, disciplined approach to digital transformation. The goal is not simply to create glorified proofs of concept—instead, businesses are working to inspire new opportunities and launch market offerings rapidly, successively, and at scale. Along the way, they are laying the foundation to imagine, deliver, and run their futures.

Imagine. The first step is establishing the right focus, quickly setting ambitions, and charting a path to success with a deliverables road map. This process involves sensing, scanning, and scouting the market to uncover trends and potentially untapped or trapped value. Next comes linking value to offerings used in the market. User journeys, customer stories, and moment maps bring new ideas to life; immersive labs can showcase new technologies and techniques and light up relevant initiatives. Along the way, it is also important to consider the effect new ambitions, technologies, and offerings may have on talent models.

Deliver. This step calls for moving to fully tested, refined, and validated offerings. Customer and employee ethnographic research can help shape the effort, as can consistent distillation of ideas into products, services, and enabling capabilities. Two other essential components are a digital foundry for agile delivery of new technology and product teams to prepare core systems, data, interfaces, and operations for the re-imagined offerings.

Run. It is important to establish common standards for product scalability and support across all dimensions of digital transformation. This can help teams align on common terminology—whether focused on marketing, end-user support, release planning, or other areas—to measure value and return. In standing up additional teams, continue to enforce common approaches to maintain architectural and platform integrity across agile design and development efforts and in all platform dependencies.

Mapping a digital future is no small task, but organisations that are deliberate about exploring and evaluating emerging technologies, considering the non-technology forces unlocking new opportunity, and creating a series of well-defined yet aspirational ambitions can generate the confidence and constructs needed to embrace digital and set the stage to move beyond the digital frontier. For CMOs, digital transformation can move the organisation beyond marketing’s traditional customer-acquisition and retention role to one that deepens customer relationships through personalised, contextual, and real time/right time customer interactions that can serve to differentiate brands.

Via, Map Your Digital Future by Bill Briggs, global CTO; Nishita Henry, chief innovation officer; and Andy Main, principal and U.S. leader of Deloitte Digital, Deloitte Consulting LLP. Additional insight provided by Angel Vaccaro, principal; Alex Kelleher, managing director; and Natalie Groff, senior manager, Deloitte Consulting LLP, 2019.