Key take-aways

  • Step 1: Start with a vision – not technology

  • Step 2: Translate thevision into feasible solutions

  • Step 3: Choose use cases with the biggest business impact

Business challenges before digital solutions

Successful digital transformation takes more than just digital expertise

Delivering value from digital transformation demands a combination of business, operational, and technical insight. It’s best done by a person or team that can take real business challenges, and translate them into potential data-driven solutions.

At Royal HaskoningDHV Digital, we call that person a digital transformation consultant.

In this blog I’ll walk you through the way I approach projects as a digital transformation consultant, and share three steps all our consultants take to ensure that every project we undertake delivers the highest levels of ROI and business value.

Step 1

Start with a vision – not technology

The most valuable digital transformations don’t start with technology – they start with a business challenge.

Digital transformation consultants begin a project by working closely with stakeholders from across the organisation to understand the challenges they’re facing, and identify how data-driven solutions and technology could potentially help.

By including a wide range of stakeholders, the digital transformation consultant can build a holistic view of the challenges the organisation is facing. Then they can develop a vision of what operations might look like once all relevant challenges are solved. That’s the foundation of a strong transformation vision.

This vision of smarter, more efficient operations is essential to the success of any transformation project. It shows everyone where the organisation is headed and why the transformation is necessary – helping to support adoption and uptake across the team.

Giving diverse stakeholder groups the opportunity to feed into that vision by sharing their ideas and challenges takes that to the next level, helping them feel like a driver of transformation rather than just someone that’s having change pushed on them.

Perhaps even more importantly, it keeps everyone involved in the project tightly aligned with the overall goals at every stage of the process.

Step 2

Translate the vision into feasible solutions

After prioritising the challenges being faced by an organisation and building a vision for a better digital way of working, the digital transformation consultant must translate that vision into different levels across your company, and throughout the whole value chain.

We build our assessment on four foundations:

  • Domain foundation – unmet needs in an external environment where the business focuses
  • Business foundation – work carried out to deliver products and services to customers
  • Information foundation – the data and information systems required to support clients, processes and employees
  • Technical foundation – the IT equipment and facilities needed by applications, employees and organizational tasks

Different companies have needs in different areas, and we mix and match the skills within our digital consultant team to suit your individual questions and needs. Together, we agree where we want to focus.

Validating the feasibility of potential solutions is a vital stage of any digital transformation project. Working with the IT team and relevant external experts, the consultant must assess data sources, data quality, and the organisation’s existing IT environment in granular detail to identify barriers to success before transformation work begins.

By identifying technical and data challenges at this early stage, the transformation team can avoid falling into costly ‘fail and iterate’ approaches that negatively impact digital transformation ROI.

But there is more to the process than avoiding potential issues and scoping a realistic digital transformation project. Our consultants use it to identify integration and automation opportunities across an organisation’s IT and data environment. Expanding and deepening the vision for organisation-wide transformation is just as important as verifying viability.

Step 3

Choose projects and use cases with the biggest impact on business value

Together, the first two steps enable our digital transformation consultants to identify solutions and targeted projects that are both high in potential value, and very achievable from a technical standpoint. This is the ‘sweet spot’ for effective, high-value digital transformation.

If the organisation has a limited budget, or simply wants to tackle specific challenges with targeted solutions, this analysis helps the digital consultant identify exactly where their efforts should be focused. These are the areas where digital transformation can deliver measurable ROI, fast.

But it’s not just about demonstrating financial and operational returns. Targeted ‘quick wins’ demonstrate that digital transformation works for everyone. It helps the stakeholders buy into the value of digital transformation as a whole, and drives them to engage with broader projects where even greater results can be gained.

Where should your journey begin?

If you’re exploring digital solutions to a business challenge, Royal HaskoningDHV Digital can help

With decades of specialist engineering and data science experience, our digital transformation consultants can help you plan and execute digital strategies that solve immediate business challenges, align with what your team wants, and ultimately, deliver the highest levels of value and ROI.

Then, with the immediate challenges solved, we can help you expand your transformation programs and solve major underlying technical issues right across your enterprise.

If you’ve got questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We’d love to help.

Projects that are high in business impact, and very technically achievable, are the ‘sweet spot’ for effective, high-value digital transformation. These steps identify those opportunities.

Wouter Crul

Digital Transformation & Innovation Lead, Royal HaskoningDHV Digital