Readiness for Change: A Digital Transformation Checklist

Are you ready to transform your business to stay competitive in the digital age? Before embarking on a digital transformation project, it is important to gauge your company’s readiness for change.

How ready your business is for change, after all, will significantly impact the outcomes of a change project.

In this post, we’ll cover some of the most important areas to examine when assessing your company’s readiness for digital transformation.

Readiness for Change: A Checklist for Digital Transformation

Digital transformation often involves significant organizational changes, not only those that impact business processes and tools, but also those that affect workflows, jobs, the workforce, and the corporate culture.

To prepare for such sweeping changes, it is important to thoroughly assess change readiness, while focusing particularly on the digital components of change.

When creating your change readiness assessment, be sure to include the points covered below:

Digital Maturity

An organization’s digital maturity refers to its overall digital capabilities.

When assessing digital maturity, it is important to evaluate areas such as:

  • The IT infrastructure
  • Whether the company is using modern digital tools
  • How fully technology-driven processes are embedded into the organization
  • If the business leverages data and analytics to its fullest extent
  • Whether the business is innovating and investing in emerging technology

Digital maturity, it must be noted, depend not only on tools and systems, but also on the culture, as we’ll see below.

Digital Savviness

A digitally savvy workforce is more open to digital tools and technology.

As a consequence, they are also more willing to embrace digitally-driven organizational changes.

When assessing employees’ digital savviness, questionnaires and surveys should focus on areas such as:

  • Employee skills
  • How employees feel about the proposed change project
  • Employees’ attitudes towards digital technology in general

Ideally, digital should be fully embedded into the workplace culture – if it is not, then change leaders may want to consider making this an agenda item on their change project.

Commitment

According to Prosci, it is important to create buy-in and commitment for change.

They call this capability “socialization” and advise that buy-in should be obtained not only from leadership, but from every level of the organization.

When assessing how committed the organization is to change, Prosci suggests measuring areas such as:

  • Whether the organization sees change management as a competitive differentiator
  • Whether everyone across the organization shares the same definition of change management
  • Whether mechanisms and policies exist for reinforcing change 

Importantly, Prosci points out that commitment, or “socialization,” is actually a core capability of change management that can be measured on a change management maturity scale.

Digital Leadership

Digital leadership requires a very specific skill set that combines business leadership with technical capabilities.

Today’s CIOs, for instance, are required to not only be technologically savvy, they must also possess other skills, such as:

  • Leadership skills and people skills
  • The ability to innovate with technology
  • A business mindset

When developing a digital transformation strategy, change managers should ensure that digital leaders, such as IT leaders and CIOs, have a place at the project’s helm.

Present and Future Business Impact

A business impact analysis helps business leaders understand how a proposed change will affect the business.

It is designed to measure the impact on areas such as the workforce, business processes, organizational performance, business strategy, and the company’s finances, among other things.

However, when preparing for digital transformation, it is important to remember that technology is fueling constant change in the marketplace.

When performing impact analyses, therefore, it is important to understand future technology trends and gauge how a change will play out over months and years.

Setting the North Star of Your Digital Transformation Plan

Digital transformation is a journey, not a destination.

The same holds true for digital maturity – there is no “end state.”

After all, the digital economy is continually evolving, so there can never be a fully digitally mature organization. 

The implication for digital change leaders is that they should focus on creating digital capabilities that enable continual evolution and change.

When defining a strategic north star, therefore, sights be set on areas such as:

  • Organizational agility, which will enable flexibility, nimbleness, and the ability to react swiftly and appropriately to changing circumstances
  • An organizational culture that prioritizes learning, openness to change, and digital-first thinking
  • Business models that are built around digital-first strategies
  • An organizational structure that integrates IT with other business units

In short, it is important to place digital at the heart of the organization’s strategy and vision, especially in today’s digitally-driven business world.

Final Thoughts

Digital transformation, like other organizational changes, requires the proper preparation. And, like other change efforts, it is crucial to focus on the human element of change, such as employee skills and attitudes.

However, to succeed in today’s fast-paced business landscape, businesses should become technology-driven organizations

For many business leaders and managers, this may mean reimagining existing operating models and business strategies. 

While such a mindset shift may be challenging – or even disconcerting – it will become more and more mandatory in the years to come. 

To ensure that organizations and employees can make this transition smoothly, be sure to build a digital change strategy around the points covered above.

Chris is the Lead Author & Editor of Change Blog. Chris established the Change blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to Change Management.