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In simple terms, the word ‘transformation’ means a complete change to something. A digital transformation is a complete change in how your organisation uses digital technologies. A digital transformation does not change your organisation’s purpose or objectives.

Let’s assume your organisation has defined its purpose and objectives. Your next step is to develop a strategy.

Check any respected dictionary, and the definition for strategy is similar. In general, a strategy is a plan that takes you from where you are today to where you want to get to. You cannot, or should not, develop a strategy until you are clear on your destination. In military terms, your strategy may describe how you are going to secure a physical target. In business terms, it may describe how you are going to achieve a goal. Examples of a goal can include reducing operational costs, increasing revenue, or increasing customer satisfaction.

Too often this is where organisations go wrong. Dozens, sometimes hundreds, of projects are in delivery at any one time. Each project may have justified why it is a good use of that organisation’s resources. But where does that project sit in the strategy, and how is that strategy delivering on the objectives of the organisation?

This is where I see large gaps in many organisations’ digital transformations. The sponsors of digital make lofty claims that investments are necessary for the organisation to remain relevant. To position the organisation to succeed in future markets. To remain competitive.

People start to think the digital transformation is the organisation’s strategy. A digital transformation describes a program of work within the strategy. It may be a very large piece of the strategy but is one component of it.

As a director, you must be comfortable you understand how digital fits into your organisation’s strategy.

Are you clear on the role digital plays in delivering on your organisational objectives?