Measuring Digital Transformation

Continuing with our follow-up of the keynote speech delivered at Triple Jump’s ‘Driving Impact through Digital Transformation’ luncheon (held during MFC’s ‘24th Annual Conference’ in Istanbul on June 29, 2022), Ms. Floreta Zhulali takes us further along by describing quick and inexpensive steps that drive successful digital transformation initiatives.

In any successful detox journey, it’s necessary to build up good practices that promote a healthy and sustainable state of being once the toxins are on their way out. For our digital transformation detox journey, this starts with asking ourselves a simple question: can the ongoing process we call digital transformation truly be measured? After all, we can only manage what we can measure. The short answer is “yes”. But, like every short answer, it isn’t quite as straight forward as it may seem. The bigger the company and/or the bigger the initiative, the more complex measuring digital transformation becomes. As such, there is no one-size-fits-all tool/process for measuring digital transformation. But there are three quick and inexpensive steps that are key for a successful digital transformation journey.

Step 1: Know Why You Are Transforming – the single most important contribution to measuring, governing and assigning a dollar figure to digital transformation is knowing why we are doing it in the first place. While it may seem absurd, many companies embark on digital transformation journeys without a clear answer to this question. Having a clear vision and objectives removes ambiguities around digital transformation, helps visualize expectations, gives a deeper meaning to the process and (perhaps most importantly) makes the process transparent and relevant to everyone in the company.

Step 2: Know Where You Are Coming from and Where You Are Going To – knowing the ‘why’ comes with two states: ‘what is’ and ‘what should be’. Both states should go beyond vague adjectives and include tangible characteristics. For example, I once spent an entire month within one of my projects in Egypt helping a financial institution de-generalize objectives related to the borrower experience. We went from the vague “improve loan approval processing times” to “reduce the current 4-month application-to-disbursement process to 4 weeks”. We then further broke this down in smaller and smaller measurable steps until we had a visual map of what “transform the borrower experience” meant. This, in turn, helped develop a deeper understanding of what, exactly, needed to be changed.

Step 3: Prioritize Based on Need/Return and Cost – this is the trickiest step when measuring digital transformation. While the visual may be clear, priority-setting and striking the right balance between what is needed and what the costs are complicate matters. At the same time, top priorities are very rarely mistaken/misplaced if steps 1 and 2 above are done properly. Deciding on this cost-return balance is often successfully accomplished by weighting the relevance of changes in relation to one or more of several end goals such as customer impact, improving/maintaining a competitive advantage and achieving a strategic position.

So, now that the toxins are on their way out and we’re establishing good practices that promote a healthy and sustainable state of being, what’s next? For our detox journey, it’s understanding how and where the CEO fits into this laborious and everlasting process. What can the CEO do to ensure digital transformation works? That is something we will tackle in the next post.

Floreta Zhulali

Digital design expert

Business & Finance Consulting