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Leapfrog — a technology services company that specializes in digitization — has published an in-depth piece called, “CEO’s Guide to Digital Transformation,” that emphasizes the communications and culture fundamentals needed to facilitate a successful transformation process. Two-thirds of CEOs recognize their companies need to digitize by the end of 2020 to remain competitive, especially as there is a shift towards mobility and agility.

“For a CEO, budget optimization, maintaining company culture, and most importantly take the best out of people without having them let go needs to be a number one priority beforehand going into any transformation.”

Countering management consulting firm McKinsey & Company’s full transformation overhaul-approach, Leapfrog suggests a more holistic viewpoint is the key to a successful and effective transition. A Capgemini study concluded that digital leaders meaningfully outclass peers across industries with a 26% higher profitability, including 12% higher market caps and 9% higher return on assets.

Additional digital leader advantages:

  • Gain more organic search and traffic
  • Maintain good domain scores
  • Inspire employees to digitize

The prerequisite for deploying a digital transformation strategy is to understand the opportunities and threats it poses. Start-ups are able to get around digitization, keeping themselves intact to their start-up working style; therefore, CEOs must find ways to innovate or they risk allowing competitors to take the initiative.

Leapfrog recommends converting products and services into software, applications, online tools to cater to the audience, serve the company’s needs, and achieve goals. New operational models must reflect the organization’s DNA and stay true to its culture.

Leapfrog recommends the following pre-transformation steps before “completely immersing in change”:

  1. To go fast, go slow – Orientate each team member on roles from various departments, nurturing an environment of collaboration and transparency.
  2. Making sure the journey is smooth – Customers should experience as little disruption as possible while your company embarks on its transformation.
  3. Articulate a sense of need – Create an open, authentic communications channel with all team members to build buy-in and adoption.
  4. Use an agile approach – shrink the change – Break down a large project into smaller steps. “After having it shrunk into smaller steps, Shape the Path: Identify where each step should be going in the process to achieve the goal.”
  5. Build a long term strategy to determine the next step – Take care to build the foundation, and then a functioning shape. Planning the next best step is the best way to drive a process-fuel foundation for what will make the business successful in the long run.

By modeling after the success of others, organizations can learn from key developments and timeframes for rolling out priorities. Detailed as a case study, Air Malta undertook a five-year digital transformation plan. The first two years focused on revenue generation, efficiency and optimization; the third and fourth years were dedicated to innovation; and in the fifth year, Air Malta consolidated all new technology, integrations, and platforms. “If we don’t innovate then we’re out of business. We have to constantly change in order to challenge the status quo. Innovation is the only way to survive. One of the most critical components for the success of our Digital Transformation, was having a trusted partner supporting the day-to-day roll-out of new services,” said Air Malta CIO, Alan Talbot, in an interview with Gigabit Magazine.

Air Malta partnered with MuleSoft — a leader in the application network and API integration platform. MuleSoft enabled Air Malta as a holistic platform that empowered each team member with connectivity and integration development opportunities. Air Malta partnered with a local implementation partner for the design and deployment of a “Hybrid Integration Platform.” Air Malta then took its digital transformation one step further by partnering with Lufthansa Systems to assist with server integration.

As illustrated in this case, Air Malta created a timeframe with strategic goals and deliverables, analyzing strengths and shortcoming-areas where a partner could assist. Ultimately, an organization will be successful not based on living up to trend ideas, but by moving into digital transformation when it is ready for change. A foundation for any successful change should be the CEO’s top priority, according to Leapfrog. When so much is at stake and the process is complex and precarious, a leader must begin with the end in mind by visualizing preferred outcomes, so that the nature of the digital strategy reflects the direction and the company culture is not lost in translation.