Enterprises need digital transformation
- The number one rule of business is to be easy to do business with and deliver value.
- This principle of customer-centricity is central to all successful digital-native businesses.
- It is the fundamental driver of digital transformation.
Although the objective is apparently simple, most digital transformation initiatives fail1 .
Failure is not inevitable.
The first major step towards success is being realistic.
Accept that most organisations lack the necessary experience, knowledge, skills and other resources needed to achieve the desired outcomes.
This is at every level, from goal setting to granular planning and execution.
Digital transformation is a complex, hazardous journey, with many forks in the road.
Get a guide who does digital transformation as their day job and has a proven track record.
Like Torry Harris Integration Solutions (THIS) with its reputation for digital transformation consulting, based on more than 20 years’ experience.
It co-creates a digital transformation lifecycle each customer to make sure they arrive at their desired destination on time.
This approach fuses a customer’s deep knowledge of their business and operations with our expertise at leveraging universally recognised tools and methodologies.
It means customers don’t have to navigate the tools themselves, just get the best value from them.
Together we create a coherent, comprehensive, flexible transformation strategy.
The anatomy of digitalisation
Figure: Torry Harris Digital Transformation Lifecycle
- Our infographic encapsulates the THIS approach to the digital transformation lifecycle
- The top priority throughout is to avoid negative impacts on customer experience
- Beyond that, the transformation lifecycle is key to identifying priorities and the capabilities needed to make them happen
- The short guide below explains each element and, critically, their interdependence
Starting with a not-quite blank canvas
- The canvas is deceptively simple at first glance, but used the world over by smart enterprises of all kinds
- THIS works with customers to populate the template, clarifying their strategic goals
- The left side of the canvas – like the left side of the human brain – is about logical, efficient connections within the internal processes
- The right side, like the right side of human brain, covers creativity
How does the canvas work with business architecture?
- The architecture is the actionable blueprint of the strategy set out on the business model canvas, according to The Business Architecture Guild
- The business architecture shows a cross-organisational design of the whole business
- It breaks (decomposes) key elements down into components
The architecture is based on four pillars:
Capabilities are building blocks, abstracted from the organisational model, to achieve the desired outcomes.
Like Lego bricks, they are independent of each other and can be easily swapped, replaced and reused.
This modularity avoids integration tax (see APIs below) and supports automation – a key goal of any digital transformation.
Capabilities map to multiple value streams (see below).
Capabilities are further decomposed in the roadmap (see below).
Value streams are a high-level view of business processes that helps customers align them and understand inter-relationships.
Every sector has specific value streams – for instance, vets treat animals, telcos run networks, insurance firms process claims.
Organisation defines the organisational structure
This means the roles, responsibilities and locations it needs to function efficiently and effectively.
Information represents the relationships between data sources and data formats.
It describes entities that an enterprise is likely to collect information from or about.
It articulates the relationships between them and their associated data.
It avoids the details of system-level constructs.
It includes all business information, not only computerised data.
Capabilities trump technology
Many transformations fail because the starting point is technology instead of business outcomes.
Capabilities include technology and the other ingredients – such as skills, knowledge and experience – needed for technology to deliver what is required by the business.
This is why capability roadmaps have replaced or are used to complement technology roadmaps.
THIS uses the capability roadmap (shown in the bottom right-hand corner of our infographic) with clients to expand the capabilities element of the business architecture.
- It helps customers gain a deeper understanding of what capabilities they need now and in future
- Capability roadmaps define the underlying capabilities as well as encapsulating how they could be developed
- Capabilities are the ‘what’ of business needs, whereas processes are the ‘how’
- Capabilities are overarching, stable and long term; they help overcome the issue of different units wanting to change the same things at different times, which often generates much reworking,
- Reworking is counter to digital practices because it pulls IT resources in many directions, slows progress and duplicates effort, squandering money, time and resources
- Capabilities are all about modularity, replication, configuration, integration and automation
The critical building block in all of those things is application programming interfaces (APIs), which brings us to the top right-hand corner of our infographic.
APIs enable smart integrations
Smart integrations use applications programming interfaces (APIs) which McKinsey says, “are the connective tissue in today’s ecosystems”.
THIS believes that any service that has a business meaning or business use case should be viewed and treated as an API.
The real value comes from reusing APIs wherever possible and automating smart integrations.
Automating smart integration is essential for digital transformation because:
- It provides a consistent way of doing things, which supports replication and reuse instead of re-invention and retro-engineering. It enables configuration rather than requiring customisation
- It provides visibility across processes and the entire lifecycle
- It means being able to provide better customer experience
- It shortens the time from concept to cash
- It cuts cost, including by massively reducing human error
APIs have terrific potential for every business, but this is frequently wasted, often through low API reuse as a result of poor governance, which is not widely understood