Digital transformation, at its core, means using new technologies to fundamentally change your organisation.
Whether that means creating new products, improving business processes or saving costs, digital transformation is an essential part of any organisation’s growth strategy.
As digital technologies become more central to doing business, it’s important for organisations to be prepared. But how can finance professionals successfully execute a digital transformation project?
Here are 7 steps:
1. Identify your biggest challenges
You should begin your transformation project by identifying your core issues. Why? Because if you don’t know what your problems are, you can’t fix them.
What are the biggest pains your finance department is facing? Is it access to data or reports? Is it a lack of integration with other systems? Or is it heavy dependence on manual tasks?
For instance, set a collaborative meeting with key stakeholders from across your business, from the C-suite to middle managers. The goal? To uncover all of your biggest challenges related to finance.
Once you identify what’s challenging about your current process, you can start figuring out how to solve it
2. Automate what you can without transformation
It’s important to determine whether your challenges can be solved with what’s already in place.
Can you improve data access without changing systems? Will upgrading your current software instead of implementing an entirely new system solve your problem? Will automating existing workflows make the process easier for finance staff?
If so, then do it. Start with small, achievable goals to prove value. Then you can move on to bigger changes if you change your mind later on as it becomes necessary.
3. Create a digital transformation plan
A plan unifies the goals of those involved and aligns efforts towards common goals.
The roadmap should outline what needs to be done and how success will be measured. It should show what changes are occurring and when. And it should establish a timeline and the roles and responsibilities of those involved throughout the transformation process.
Your digital transformation plan should not be set in stone. Things change and your plan needs to change with them, but having a plan ensures you’re all on the same page.
4. Identify your project team
You can’t do it alone. Build a project team that will work with you throughout the process.
Digital transformation projects should be cross-functional. That means your team should consist of people from various departments, a diverse set of stakeholders that the project will Impact.
This may include finance staff, managers, IT staff and possibly even external partners.
5. Make the vision a reality
Understand and explore the solutions available to the challenges you’re facing. Identify what fits best with your organisation’s goals and needs.
Once you’ve identified the right tool(s) for your needs, get demos, pricing, and references to build the full picture, it’s time to build a business case.
At this point, it’s important to understand that a digital transformation project is not an IT project; it’s an organisational undertaking. Thus, your business case should be built around how your organisation will benefit by implementing the new solution, not simply why it makes financial sense.
6. Discuss with your delivery partner
Once the solution has been selected, you’re ready to start your project.
This is where your delivery partner comes in.
They will help advise on implementation plans and strategy so that everything goes smoothly with minimal disruption along the way.
Apart from providing expert guidance and advice, your delivery partner can also help monitor the success of your transformation, including measuring the new solution’s impact on your company.
7. Over-communicate throughout your project
As with any project, communication is key.
You should not only communicate with all stakeholders regularly to report on progress and challenges but make sure that you also communicate with your delivery partner on a regular basis to ensure everything is going as planned.
They are the experts in implementation, so they know what to do. Let them guide you through it.
If you keep your communication game strong, you’re more likely to avoid problems and be prepared for those that arise.
A digital transformation project is no small undertaking, but the right tools and guidance can help make it much easier.
The 7 steps above outline an efficient process for a successful digital transformation initiative.
Finance professionals can now engage with technology to improve productivity and increase revenue.
Thanks to companies committed to providing the right solutions, digital transformation is finally possible.
The bottom line: your transformation doesn’t start when the project does; it starts when you know what needs to be changed.
And it’s important to remember, especially when the process gets bumpy that transformation is iterative; it’s not a one-time thing.
So keep your vision of success in mind, make sure everyone knows the game plan and go for it.