Effective leadership is the key to successful digital transformation

Effective leadership is the key to successful digital transformation


Most leaders believe in the ability of technology to bring transformative change to their organisation. But they also feel frustrated with how hard it is to get great results from new technology.

A small but significant minority, however, do not feel this frustration. This group has developed the management and technology skills to realise the potential of new technologies. They manage digital transformation very deliberately from the top.

Those leaders who successfully achieve digital transformation of their organisations drive that change through effective leadership. This is what separates these leaders (the ‘digirati’) from the pack. Their leadership is underpinned by a well‑defined process, clearly communicated to their organisation and directly linked to measurable business outcomes.

At Nous we define digital transformation as, “the organisational ability to use new digital technologies (social media, mobile, cloud, analytics and wearables) to do things ‘better’ and ‘differently’ for customers, employees and partners (such as enhanced experience, improved operational performance and the generation of new opportunities).” ‘Better’ and ‘differently’ deliver real competitive advantage. Digital transformation delivers digitally agile organisations that are able to sustain these key elements.

The ‘digerati’ manage digital transformation very deliberately from the top. The ‘digirati’ understand that in order to achieve digital transformation they must embed digital agility at every level of the organisation. They find ways forward by taking steps such as creation of a roadmap towards digital transformation; development of business cases for technology adoption; and work to ensure end-to-end customer and employee experience and design.

Create a roadmap towards digital transformation

  • ‘Crowd source’ perception of the pace of digital transformation in your organisation. You may be surprised to find that satisfaction with the pace of digital transformation is ‘generally’ inversely proportion to level.
  • In response, communicate your vision for digital transformation. “A thousand flowers bloom” is not an effective strategy in digital transformation; fragmentation and duplication is not a good thing.
  • Develop a digital strategy and roadmap aligned to your strategy.

Develop business cases for technology adoption and measure the impact of initiatives

  • Make sure there is a robust business case for all digital initiatives defined in the strategy. Organisations struggle to accurately calculate the investment and the return on that investment.
  • Establish effective key performance indicators. Many organisations have trouble defining these.
  • Ensure leaders have skills to follow through on these KPIs.

Ensure end-to-end customer and employee experience and design

  • Shift the service delivery focus away from individual interactions to the end-to-end experience. All too often functional groups focus on optimising a particular interaction with no knowledge of the downstream impact.
  • Establish the customer and employee journeys that matter via top-down judgment driven evaluation and bottom up data driven analysis. Identify the pain-points that impact satisfaction.
  • And then build cross-functional processes to redesign elements that will improve the end-to-end experience.