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Many organisations are on their digital transformation journey. Depending on the business culture, digital maturity, sector and many other factors, the business requirements and capabilities will often differ.

However, are there some core capabilities or organisational characteristics that lead to successful digital transformation?

McKinsey’s Karel Dörner and Jürgen Meffert suggested these Nine questions to help you get your digital transformation right;

  1. How well do you know where change is occurring?

  2. Do you know which customer journeys matter?

  3. Are your teams collaborating across functions?

  4. Do you have a disciplined ‘test and learn’ approach?

  5. Are your budgets tied to progress?

  6. Do you have mechanisms to challenge ideas?

  7. Are your people empowered to act?

  8. Is your IT operating at two speeds?

  9. Are you coordinating a portfolio of initiatives?

In 2013 Accenture along with many others suggested adopting a “Digital First” mindset and putting digital at the heart of the business. Banking on Digital: Enabling a digital mindset – Digital Operating Model. “Determining the most effective operating model for your business can prove challenging. But it’s important to think about the capabilities required to execute, as much as the strategy.” – Accenture

The MIT Center for Digital Business working paper #301 – Becoming a Digital Organisation – The Journey to Digital Dexterity research from both MIT Sloan School of Management and Capgemini Consulting suggests that “In order to build an enterprise for long-term digital advantage, executives need to cultivate the unique set of characteristics of a Digital Organisation that collectively enable both Digital Capability and Digital Dexterity. The paper describes the pieces of that puzzle and provides guidance for the journey to “becoming digital.” It is not simple, but it is possible.” Digital Dexterity being the ability to rapidly self-organise to deliver new value from digital technologies.”

This research exposes the foundations of a Digital Organisation, which include (similar to Accenture) a Digital-First Mindset and key characteristics from three organisational dimensions: Practices, Workforce, and Resources, captured as M-PWR. Together, M-PWR characteristics drive Digital Capability in the short-term and Digital Dexterity in the long-term.

In the book Digital to the Core Gartner the authors describe that you should lead your organisation at three distinct levels;

  • Remake Yourself – Who do you need to be and how must you remake yourself as a digital era relevant leader?

  • Remodel Your Enterprise – What does your enterprise need to become and how will you redefine your company?

  • Remap Your Industry – How must your worldview change, and what fundamental industry paradigms must you rethink?

The book draws on the authors’ interviews with over 35 C-level executives in global companies and government organizations, plus Gartner’s CIO Agenda survey of 2,800 CIOs. Case studies include GE, Ford, Quicken, U.K. government, Babolat, Volvo, Publicis, McDonald’s, Tory Burch, India’s BJP party, and many others.

These digital transformation authorities (Accenture, Capgemini, Gartner, McKinsey & MIT) suggest similar characteristics and capabilities are required for successful transformation, remodelling and leading the organisation to adopt a digital mindset in all that they do.