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Digital transformation checkpoint: The questions leaders should be asking themselves

By Team Multiverse

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  1. Identify new and future disruptors
  2. Revisit your transformation strategy with leadership
  3. Identify key areas for skills development
  4. Communicate a clear plan for workplace learning
  5. Integrate diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) into your transformation efforts
  6. Elevate your transformation efforts with Multiverse

Digital transformation isn’t a single project with a clear beginning and end. Rather, in today’s digital economy, it’s the central evolving component of your business strategy.

Yet despite the $1.25 trillion potential(opens new window) of digital transformation, only a third(opens new window) of expected outcomes on average are delivered from these efforts. Why aren’t business leaders seeing consistent results from their digital initiatives?

Digital transformation is a journey, not a destination, and there needs to be regular pit stops along the way. To stay on track with your transformation goals, it’s important to check in and take a hard look at where your organization is today and how that aligns with what you want to achieve tomorrow. Here are some of the key areas to evaluate along the way.

Identify new and future disruptors

Modern consumers and customers expect a digital experience, and they will happily move to a competitor if their needs aren’t met. Between blockchain, the metaverse, and the rise of generative AI, breakthrough technologies are being released on a regular basis.

The key to getting ahead is to stay in-the-know, not just with the developments themselves, but how you can actually apply new technologies to capture more value for your business.

Start by examining the current digital landscape both within and outside your organization:

  • What new trends are emerging?
  • How might they impact your business?
  • What are the current and predicted preferences within your core demographic?
  • How can you use technology to make your products and services better?
  • How can you use it to do things differently?
  • What channels do you use to connect with customers?
  • How can you use digital tools to better engage them?

With every check-in, the bigger question to answer is:

How can we find new ways to create value through digital transformation?

“It’s very easy in some ways to paint a digital lick of paint over everything you do and come up with the ‘whats.’ But the ‘how’ of it is incredibly hard,” warns Kate Smaje, Global Leader of McKinsey Digital.

Kate and a team of two other senior partners at McKinsey & Company reverse engineered over 30 transformations(opens new window) for their book, Rewired: The McKinsey Guide to Outcompeting in the Age of Digital and AI(opens new window), in order to pinpoint common patterns and success factors.

While it can be tempting to jump into every new trend that develops, the real work is in uncovering how these developments will empower stakeholders to drive day-to-day value.

“We really think it’s ‘show me the money’ time in digital,” says Rodney Zemmel, co-author and McKinsey partner. If the goal is to continue testing and verifying new technology developments, a clear and tangible view of where the value is and how you’re going to capture it is critical.

Revisit your transformation strategy with leadership

In the last five years, 85% of senior leaders(opens new window) have been involved in at least two major transformations. Two-thirds of them have experienced at least one underperforming transformation during this time.

Maintaining buy-in is never easy, but amid constant market shifts, layoffs, and rapid technology developments, consistently demonstrating the value of digital transformation is more critical than ever before.

Organizations that embrace a data-driven leadership approach are 23% more likely(opens new window) to experience success in their transformation programs. Take time to connect with leadership and communicate why the organization should continue driving forward.

Look back at your roadmap with the following questions in mind:

  • Do your initiatives still align with the real needs of the market?
  • How do they support your commercial goals and outcomes?
  • Are the steps you’ve taken so far still in alignment with your corporate and environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) values?
  • What resources do you need to increase your success in the future?

In the digital age, experimentation is part of the process, but return on investment (ROI) isn’t always easy to track. Despite wide support for digital transformation, only 34% of Fortune 500 companies(opens new window) show signs of being strategic about technology investments.

When evaluating your progress, look for clear financial outcomes and “soft” key performance indicators (KPIs) such as productivity, innovation, and employee engagement. Whether it’s increased revenue, time saved, or reduced employee turnover, it’s important to mark the small gains that lead to big results.

Identify key areas for skills development

Your organization is a living organism.

“Like the human body, if you introduce a new element, it resists,” says Kamales Lardi, expert digital consultant and author of The Human Side Of Digital Business Transformation(opens new window). For experts like Kamales, it's not the technology itself that matters.

It’s the application of your technology that is the true success factor.

In a recent episode of the Future of Business & Technology podcast(opens new window) with Bernard Marr, Kamales suggests taking a close look not just at the technology you use, but the people who use it.

Once you’ve aligned with leadership, consider the following questions:

  • What does your current technology structure, process, and operations look like?
  • What new capabilities and skill sets are needed?
  • What skills are lacking the most among your organization?
  • What is the impact of this to the business?
  • What needs to happen in order to close the digital skills gap?
  • How can you support employees in their skills development?

Real progress with digital transformation is less about ticking boxes, and more about creating  high-performing teams of skilled stakeholders.

“How do you create this ecosystem of stakeholders that come together to help your organization survive and thrive in the digital future?” asks Kamales. With the current rate of technology development, she believes business models should be tested for relevance every three to four years.

Skills transformation is directly tied to digital transformation. By measuring current skills against the digital objectives of each business unit, you can begin taking meaningful action to close the gaps.

Communicate a clear plan for workplace learning

As market elements shift and change, experts like Kamales have seen firsthand how an overreliance on external consultants and providers can put companies at risk.

By bringing skills in-house and applying them to real workflows within the business, you can reduce external spend and build a resilient workforce capable of taking on new digital challenges. To do this effectively, you may need to think outside the traditional learning and development box.

Here are some questions to consider as you evaluate your employee training programs:

  • How can you train employees in both technical and durable skills such as project management and decision-making?
  • How can you merge theoretical and practical learning for effective skills application in a variety of business contexts?
  • Can you offer additional support via expert coaching, peer groups, or networking opportunities?

In our recent study, 70% of business leaders agree that learning on the job is the most effective way to develop workforce skills. As more businesses embrace a skill-first hiring  strategy, the ability to train talent on digital tasks and workflows will be key to maintaining a competitive edge.

“As the war for talent continues to intensify, employers are starting to realize that fighting over a finite pool of talent just isn't sustainable,” explains Morgan Richardson, Head of Early Talent at Multiverse.

Professional apprenticeships are a proven way to close the gap between your digital strategy and the day-to-day value it delivers, while building a strong pipeline of tech talent. Across all Multiverse programs, we have tracked over $669 million in cost-saving or revenue-generating activities resulting from the work of apprentices.

Integrate diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) into your transformation efforts

There is an alarming lack of representation in many digital transformation initiatives. In an environment where biased technology can lead to poor customer experiences(opens new window) and lost revenue(opens new window), an inclusive digital transformation strategy must be a priority — not an afterthought.

Every successful transformation requires a diverse set of skills and experience. If the majority of your change agents share a common background, that poses massive risks to innovation.

As you measure the health of your digital programs, take note of key areas for improvement:

  • How can you integrate greater diversity of thought into the innovation and product development process?
  • When was the last time you tested your tools and technology for bias?
  • Which business units are lacking input from individuals from a diverse range of backgrounds?

“Recruiting truly diverse talent, and bringing in people with different perspectives and a range of experiences is vital to the success of our business, but also enables us to develop future leaders and build critical skills for Citi,” says Jacqui Lloyd, Senior Vice President  and Apprenticeship Lead at Citi.

The reality in the digital world is that technical roles often suffer from a lack of representation. To overcome this barrier and accelerate the impact of their digital transformation efforts, organizations like Citi are harnessing the power of professional apprenticeships.

Through Multiverse's Software Engineering apprenticeship, Citi was able to access a wider pool of talented candidates and acquire highly sought-after digital skills to help democratize access to the banking industry. This strategic move aligns with Citi's long-term goals and supports their commitment to closing the digital skills gap, widening access to opportunity, and building a more diverse and inclusive workforce.

Elevate your transformation efforts with Multiverse

In a digital environment, competition comes from all angles. It’s important to consistently measure how you’re tracking against your digital initiatives to ensure you’re still on the right path, and adjust where necessary.

When you’re ready to align your talent strategy with your digital goals, Multiverse can help. Our expert team has worked with over 1,000 companies to close skills gaps, build a resilient talent pipeline, and unlock digital transformation.

Drive your transformation forward. Book a free consultation with one of our team members to learn more.

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