The digital transformation agenda

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The Australian Government Digital Transformation Office

The imperative to transform to digital in the government and greater public sector is compelling. Whether you're in the business of informing, educating, reporting, researching, developing or publishing, you need to embrace digital.

To make that an effective relationship, organisations must transform the way they do business. And that business needs to consider social, mobile, analytics, big data, the consumerisation of IT and the cloud. Individually, these are big ticket items; put them all together and the mix can be daunting. How can an organisation effectively transform to digital?

Driving digital transformation

Whether a user of government or other services - or a creator of these services - we all face common pressures: the need to be digital, or to speed up our digital transformation. Often these pressures occur when the rate at which we transform is different to the rate of change outside our organisation.

For example, I currently expect that all information and services should be appropriately available on my mobile. Organisations may not yet have that as their priority, focussing first on internal digital transformation - at the expense of satisfying external customers.

A Capgemini report suggested that to respond and be agile to these competing needs, the question we should ask ourselves is 'how can we transform our organisation to take advantage of the possibilities new technologies provide?' We should seek to change our customer relationships, enhance our internal processes and review our value propositions.

This can be achieved by implementing analytics to measure successes and failures; using social media to engage with internal and external users; considering collaboration services to enable all participants to work more effectively.

However, successful digital transformation doesn't necessarily occur when you implement new technologies. Rather, major digital transformation initiatives are centred on the way we see or re-imagine our customers' experiences. And for that to be successful, we need to consider whether our current operational processes and business models meet digital transformation requirements.

Successful organisations have changed how functions work. They've redefined how these functions interact - and sometimes even evolved the boundaries of the organisation.

Championing digital transformation

Successful digital transformation does not happen bottom up. For it to be successful, digital transformation must be driven from the top. Effective digital transformations focus on how to drive change as much as on the detailed content of the change.

The chief champions of digital transformation and change provide a compelling transformative vision of where they see their organisation or company moving to.

This vision, supported by engagement, good governance and appropriate performance indicators, is what enables people throughout the organisation to identify new initiatives to meet or extend that vision.

For successful digital transformation, it's not necessary to create a new organisation. Rather, we reshape our organisations to take advantage - in new ways - of valuable existing strategic assets. I believe organisations can do more to gain value from investments already made - even as we envision radical new ways of working.

'Despite the hype around innovative digital technologies, most companies still have a long way to go in their digital transformation journeys. Leadership is essential. Whether using new or traditional technologies, the key to digital transformation is re-envisioning and driving change in how the company operates. That’s a management and people challenge, not just a technology one.'
Digital Transformation: a roadmap for billion-dollar organizations