A Guide to Digital Transformation | Part 2

Jonty Plewes 14.11.2017

"A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don't necessarily want to go, but ought to be." Rosalynn Carter, First Lady.

Last week Adrian Wake of 28Connect kicked off our 5-part Guide to Digital Transformation and left us with his key take-away, "it's not about the technology".  Successful transformations, or large-scale change programs in general, succeed through leadership, planning, and execution and change.

This week Adrian focuses on the success factor of leadership and provides the first of two Business Quick Guides he has created for the series.  If you would like to connect directly with Adrian, see his contact details at the end of the blog.


Success starts at the top!  Whether it's due to opportunity or necessity, whether transformation or optimisation, the leadership team must be onboard before the rest of the employees.  A clear understanding of 'why' a business needs to change or adapt must resinate with the majority and provide a clear sense of purpose for the organisation and individuals.  'Burning platform' statements often get the most attention, but I hope it isn't your primary reason.  However, let's think about that.  They get your attention because it becomes very personal with the thought of potentially losing your job.  Burning platform or not, it's the same clarity of understanding you're aiming for.

Add in a future vision of the company and you’re connecting the reason why with the direction you will take to get there.  Your reason and vision become your north star for leading, planning, engaging employees and execution.

Starting with a clearly defined vision, here is this week’s checklist of items, all linking back to the common success factors, described in Part 1 as reasons for failure.

  • Clearly Defined Vision – communicate a "why" statement as a clear call to action.  Does your vision articulate the value you will create for your customers, the key products and revenue streams, how the business will operate and how you will connect your people to customers, suppliers and processes? 
  • Accountability - is the whole leadership team united and accountable for the transformation outcomes, not just a single 'sponsor'?
  • Digital & Process Culture - is the business knowledgeable in new and emerging technologies?  How disciplined is the business in defining and following processes?  Is there a problem-solving mindset?
  • Roadmap of Initiatives - is there a series of technology and non-technology initiatives aligned, defined and prioritised to deliver the vision of your future business?
  • Adoption & Execution - do you have the skills and resources to facilitate and drive the introduction of new technology and behaviours?

This checklist can be found in the first of two Business Quick Guides to Digital Transformation, along with a 5-step process to plan your digital future and deliver a Roadmap of Initiatives.  This will be the focus of Part 3 next week.

We'll also discuss Digital & Process Culture in more detail later in the series, but to wrap up this week, here are two final considerations.


I've been in the conversations where revealing the real 'why' or a roadmap brings fear of a mass exodus of good people or competitors finding out what we are doing.  I agree, there’s some risk, but if you want to create buy-in, the employees need something they can personalise and buy-in to.


On day one you may only know the 'why' and not the complete future vision.  That’s OK.  Share the reason and thoughts about direction and go away to do more work on your future vision.  The framework and process I will provide in the next episode steps through the need to understand customer and business value, the operational capabilities required and finally the technology you’ll leverage.  These steps build a more complete picture which individuals will start connecting with over time.

And remember, it’s still not about the technology!


Jonty Plewes's picture
Associate Director | IT & Business Transformation