What is Digital Transformation?

Date: 23/08/2022| Category: Best Practices Glossary|

Common drivers of Digital Transformation include reducing costs, improving productivity and providing a better customer experience. However, by far the biggest motivation for this change in the way companies operate is the need to survive.

Digital Transformation Definition

There is no unambiguous and official definition of Digital Transformation, but several organisations have given more or less specific definitions. In general, the question “What is Digital Transformation?” was answered by the Hewlett Packard enterprise with this definition, now broadly taken as a standard:

Digital Transformation is the process of completely replacing manual business processes with the latest and most up-to-date digital alternatives. This type of innovation involves all aspects of a company, not just technology.

Digital Transformation: Objectives

Digital Transformation is crucial for the survival and growth of all businesses, but every business has different needs and transformation goals.

Here are some of the many motivations for businesses to embark on a Digital Transformation journey:

  • Restructure the business to achieve growth or facilitate scalability
  • Strengthen customer engagement
  • Integrate new technologies (internet, social networks, smartphones, cloud, blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI), process automation, …)
  • Improve operational processes
  • Anticipate new business models
  • Break down silos to improve efficiency and increase agility
  • Adopt an IT as-a-service approach to infrastructure strategy
  • Leverage Cloud APIs
  • Gain insights on AI
  • Encourage talent management and innovation
  • Structure future information systems
  • Improve the user experience
  • Reduce your ecological footprint

The main objective that all companies have in common is on the one hand to survive but above all to create value. This can be achieved in different ways: by improving business processes, customer experience or cost-effectiveness.

Digital Transformation: Advantages, Benefits and Challenges

Let’s look into what the major advantages and benefits of Digital Transformation are within a company.

What are the Benefits and Advantages of Digital Transformation?

According to 2,000 executives surveyed by Cognizant.com, Digital Transformation triggers:

  • Higher revenue growth
  • Faster market entry
  • Higher employee productivity
  • Higher customer acquisition and retention
  • Fiercer competitiveness

What are the Challenges of Digital Transformation?

Advantages and benefits of Digital Transformation far outweigh hypothetical risks, most of which are associated with shortcomings in the Digital Transformation itself or with mismanagement. If any of these hypothetical consequences occur, they can be costly or even fatal:

  • Lack of a clear and realistic goal
  • Resistance to change
  • Lack of adequate training for employees’ needs
  • Lack of appropriate leadership
  • Lack of focus on customer experience
  • Lack of organised internal communication
  • Lack of business strategy and direction
  • Risk of being ‘distanced’ from competitors
  • Costly maintenance of existing processes
  • Risk of becoming obsolete

Moreover, a badly organized or superficial Digital Transformation will probably not yield good results. Unfortunately, some companies invest large sums in something that is not monitored, structured, adopted by stakeholders and, as a result, does not generate any value.

Digital Transformation Tools

Although the Digital Transformation has already started a few years ago, many organisations have not yet ‘made the leap’ or are not using the available transformation tools.

Companies, due to a lack of internal resources, budget or fear of change, are afraid of Digital Transformation and ‘dependence’ on new technologies. However, using innovative and efficient tools can offer many advantages:

  • Increased time at hand
  • Increased efficiency
  • Improved internal and external communication
  • Centralized information
  • Improved user experience

There are different types of tools that can revolutionise a company’s working methods. These tools are investments that, in the medium and long term, facilitate the work of employees and give them an advantage over the competition.

Among the tools are:

  • Collaborative software (Google, Microsoft Office 365)
  • Communication platforms
  • Next-generation intranet platforms
  • CRM tools for Customer Relationship Management
  • CMS as Content Management Systems
  • Online archiving tools
  • Project Management tools
  • Recruitment Management tools
  • Accounting tools
  • Payroll Management tools

Digital Transformation Methodologies

Which methodologies are most suitable for undertaking a Digital Transformation? Let’s look at the most suitable ones according to the operational level:

Action Item Method Description
Enterprise Governance COBIT Framework for Corporate Governance and IT Management, which supports the realisation of business objectives.
Enterprise Architecture TOGAF Proven Enterprise Architecture Framework used by leading global organisations to improve business efficiency.
IT Service Management ITIL Comprehensive, practical and proven guide to implementing a Service Management System.
Project Management PMP/CAPM Proven and practical body of knowledge for developing Project Management skills.
PRINCE2 Traditional Project Management method that is structured and pragmatic.
AGILEPM Innovative approach to Project Management according to Agile principles.
PM2 Project Management methodology developed and supported by the European Commission.
SAFe Agile management method at enterprise level.
Programme/ Portfolio Management


MSP Programme Management Best Practice Reference Framework.
MOP Guide providing a set of principles, techniques and practices to introduce or revitalise Portfolio Management.
P3O PMO (Project Management Office) management guide to establish, develop and maintain PMOs.
Change Management Prosci A globally recognised, results-oriented approach to managing change.
Change Management Structured approach to help individuals and teams move from the current to the future state.
Agile Change Management A practical guide for planning and implementing changes, using the Agile principles of incremental and iterative delivery.
Quality Management Lean six sigma Quality Management method based on improving performance by systematically eliminating waste, downtime and waste by improving quality and standardisation.
Solution Development Scrum Agile framework for the development, delivery and maintenance of complex products through effective team collaboration.
DevOps Cultural and professional movement that focuses on communication, collaboration and integration between software developers and professionals in IT Operation.
Design Thinking Creative method for learning and solving complex problems in an empathetic and collaborative manner. More than a method, it is a ‘way of thinking’ using designers’ sensitivities and ways of conception.


Tips for a successful Digital Transformation

Here are some tips for a successful Digital Transformation within your organisation:

  1. Assess the company’s current competencies and those of its competitors
  2. Determine what ‘Digital Transformation’ means for the company
  3. Determine how to implement Digital Transformation: how, with what tools, when, …
  4. Create a roadmap
  5. Make sure you have the right in-house skills or find the right training for employees
  6. Prepare the whole company for the cultural change
  7. Communicate the vision with transparency
  8. Start with small goals and communicate positively once they are achieved
  9. Invest in talent acquisition, employee training and skills development
  10. Hire leaders who are at the forefront and aware of digital developments
  11. Communicate frequently using both digital and non-digital methods
  12. Update work tools for day-to-day tasks

Key Roles during a Digital Transformation

Although Digital Transformation is often managed by the company’s employees themselves, certain roles within the company play a key role in the success of this process:

  • Director of Information Systems
  • Marketing Director
  • Data-related roles (such as Data Analyst, Data Protection Officer, Data Scientist, …)
  • Cyber” professions (Growth Hacking Manager, Systems and Resources Expert, Cyber Security Expert)
  • Chief Digital Officer
  • UI and UX Designer
  • Human Resources

When does Digital Transformation end?

There can be no real ‘end’ to the Digital Transformation, which is why the very term ‘Digital Transformation’ may not fit. In reality, it is an endless journey, a continuous and necessary improvement of processes. It all depends on progress, available technologies and innovations.

Digital Transformation is now almost an ‘obligatory’ step for most companies and business models. However, it is also an opportunity that can enable companies to improve their performance, return on investment (ROI) and customer satisfaction.

Would you like to learn more about Digital Transformation Methodologies? QRP International offers training and certification in the areas of Project Management, Programme Management, Portfolio Management, PMO, but also Agility, Change Management and IT Service Management. Have a look at our virtual courses or our on-site classroom training.

For any questions, please don’t hesitate to write to us!

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