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How agility can drive your digital transformation

Jan 05, 2022

As organizations focus on their digital transformation, many are finding that agility is the key to making the process more successful. After all, being able to quickly pivot is at the heart of today’s drive toward digital services.

An agile transformation sets out to deliver change across the entire organization by fostering engagement, collaboration and flexibility. The approach is an interactive and iterative strategy that starts with the “why” and continues to center the business objectives. It also makes use of a roadmap that helps businesses plan their digital transformation strategy and maintain sight of the core organizing questions:

  • What are the business challenges, and how will these be approached over time?
  • What are the costs?
  • What are the success metrics?

Advantages of agility

Digital transformation can require substantial support and resources, and real, foundational change can be tough. An agile approach enables organizations to persevere. Once you evaluate business goals and challenges, your underlying strategy is to plan big while executing small. Testing and optimization start from the beginning. This framework enables rapid iterations based on stakeholder and customer feedback.

As you identify issues earlier, you can make critical adjustments and plan tweaking decisions closer to real-time. You can plan for the room to fail fast and move forward quickly, opening the door for innovation as you identify lessons learned and adapt. Teams can move quickly to serve customers, and organizations can thrive in a rapidly changing digital world.

Changing business models and capabilities in progressive, measured steps can facilitate better risk management and cost control. Not every new technology step or iteration requires the same type of risk and compliance involvement. Agile transformation offers the flexibility to adapt the nature of risk management to a particular phase or iteration.

Constant communication and regular testing at the end of each sprint can ensure critical issues are dealt with early before operations get off track. 

One effective solution is a coverage model that matches the intensity (high, medium or low) and nature (for example, operational, reputational or compliance) of risks with the amount and type of support required from the risk and compliance function.

What does digital agility look like?

In an agile transformation, organizations seek first to understand the desired business goals and targeted value. If your organization is investing in the right digital technologies, then you can deliver better customer outcomes and make the transformation worth the effort with an agile approach. Taking a continuous approach to digital transformation can be the best way to manage big vision plans while remaining adaptable and delivering ongoing value to customers.

Success in digital transformation comes down to people, from C-Suite to the frontline teams to the customer. Your transformation strategy should encourage and integrate regular communication and feedback sessions from stakeholders. In turn, the transformation journey can reap the benefits of several critical factors for transformation success.

Leadership commitment is essential for the transformation journey. By taking a long-term view and starting the transformation with a thorough understanding of your targeted business objectives, the journey can better align with overall strategic goals.

Encourage your teams to think agilely, embracing innovation and technological excellence. Stronger team morale — a necessary ingredient for creativity and innovation — can become a reality. As employees feel more empowered to fuel change, work quality can soar.

Ultimately, digital transformation delivers an integrated technology solution built around the customer's needs. Applications, platforms and the related new processes create value that shapes the customer experience. But technology advances quickly, so businesses need to develop a capability for learning and adapting with equal speed. Agile-transformed organizations can become better at adapting to real-time market changes and delivering services or products faster than competitors. As a result, the company can be better positioned for growth and market opportunities.

Is your business ready for an agile transformation?

Transformation strategy will depend on business needs. Why might the organization need to transform? What efficiencies may be achieved? What do your customers expect? What risks and costs will you need to manage? These are essential questions for organizations to think about before embarking on a digital transformation journey. Above all, an agile transformation realizes that new technology or automation itself is not the endgame.

In addition to maintaining sight of the business goals that drive your digital strategy, an agile approach revolves around empowering teams, particularly those closest to clients. Employees should be able to initiate opportunities for adaption and quality improvements in real-time. Critical ingredients for success include teamwork and a corporate culture that nourishes feedback and communication.

Is your organization ready to make these goals a reality? Have you already launched your digital transformation journey? Wipfli can help. Learn more about our digital services.

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Author(s)

Billy Collins
Senior Manager
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