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  • Blog August 22, 2017

    Digital Transformation Planning: The 5 Maps You Absolutely Need

    2 Minutes Read

The complexity of today’s business operations makes it challenging for companies to transform themselves as fast as their stakeholders would like. Almost half of C-level decision makers predict it will take their companies more than 5 years to complete a full transformation cycle1.

Truth be told, digital business transformation is a complex endeavor. On one hand, you are dealing with constantly evolving customer, client, partner, supplier and/or investor preferences. On the other hand, you must make sense of, and assess, legacy operating models, organizational structures, technology and information architectures, before you start exploring transformative improvements, let alone start executing. Simply put, there are just too many moving pieces and parts transformation teams need to manage. And, never forget, transformation is taking place while the business is running. This means disruptions in business-as-usual can be costly and any potential damage inflicted because of a broken process, poor system integration, lack of skill or knowledge can be irreparable.

Nevertheless, transformation teams have many different maps at their disposal, which can help them understand how value is created and delivered, identify mission-critical gaps, contextualize improvement requirements, and plan coordinated action across people, processes, technology, governance, information and channels. In line below, I expand on the 5 most valuable maps when it comes to planning for digital business transformation.

1. Digital transformation and strategy: Getting it right (Amdocs research)

Strategic Alignment Map

Image credit: Compunnel Digital

I often refer to this type of mapping as the ultimate tool to align your “business spine.” Strategic alignment maps connect a company’s business identity, encompassing its brand promise, mission, values and culture, to leading performance indicators. In between the two anchors, the map integrates the objectives of corporate, operational and functional strategies, and details the overall success criteria. Contextualizing all the above along the stakeholder’s experience lifecycle (e.g. customer, client, supplier, partner or investor) amplifies the value of the map by helping: a) business leaders to understand how their vision is operationalized along the value chain, and b) managers to rationalize how their teams’ day-to-day activities and performance impact the company’s top and bottom line results.

Journey Map

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Journey maps are high-level narratives of the experience your customers, clients or other stakeholders (e.g. suppliers, partners) go through when they engage with your business, whether this is in the form of visiting a store, downloading an app, talking to a support representative or purchasing a product. They usually include the key phases of the engagement starting with attraction and acquisition, and ending with expansion (cross-sell or up-sell). At each key interaction or “touchpoint”, journey maps deep dive to explore the customer’s needs, motivations and expectations. Since customers follow different paths and utilize different channels as they engage with your business, journey maps usually visualize narratives for specific customer personas. Ultimately, the value of journey maps stems from their ability to showcase the outside-in view of doing business with a company, and inspire out-of-box thinking when it comes to solving simple business problems, with an eye toward tangible performance improvements.  

Value Stream Map

Image credit: Karen Martin (Value Stream Mapping for Non-Manufacturing Environments)

Value stream maps are primarily used to document and analyze the current state, and design the future state, of how value is created and delivered to customers, clients, or other stakeholders. It is a core component of lean management and can be applied to nearly any value chain regardless of complexity. Value stream maps focus on the activities required to fulfill a customer request, and overlay key performance metrics with emphasis on efficiency (such as Process Time and Lead Time) and quality (such as Completeness and Accuracy ratios). As you plan to roll out new digital capabilities or make changes in other areas including people and processes, value stream maps will help you contextualize and better communicate improvement considerations by identifying the key actors and objects involved in business, and how business capabilities ultimately contribute to strategic and tactical goals.

Business Capability Map

Image credit: Ulrich Kalex (alphabet)

Business Capability Maps link the overall capabilities of a company and the underlying processes and functions that enable them, usually in hierarchical order. When these associations are contextualized along the stakeholder journey (customer, client, partner, investor, supplier, etc.), decision makers can form a well-rounded view of what really constitutes their business and the individual contributions of each unit or function. The value of Business capability maps is amplified when additional overlays of information are applied on the basic maps, such as the maturity or degree of readiness of such business capabilities. Business capability maps is the key piece in bridging business and technology since a business capability can be deconstructed in multiple layers that expose functional and non-functional requirements a development team can execute.

Transformation Road Map

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Digital transformation roadmaps are time-based plans that define the key actions a business, unit or function must take to change its desired state. In digital business transformation, roadmaps usually include separate but interconnected tracks for each business enabler (people, processes, technology, information, channels and governance) and clearly define the interdependencies among them. As with most maps, transformation roadmaps become more valuable when additional information is overlaid. For instance, a digital transformation roadmap can include a list of digital capabilities or features that are rolled out over time, along with their associated costs or resource requirements. Although 5-year strategic roadmaps are still at play, the fast pace of technological change makes it hard to envision an accurate destination more than 2 years ahead.

Digital business transformation is a complex journey. Transformation teams and their leaders need to develop proficiency in the run-and-change approach where every little piece matters and every little error costs money and time. From aligning the organization behind common goals, setting clear expectations, and synchronizing your efforts to avoid costly fallouts along the way, these 5 maps will help you keep all the moving pieces together.