20/07/2020 |

Building a Digital Roadmap: 5 Lessons From OTRS Group’s Digital Transformation

Building a roadmap to drive digital transformation
can be tricky. Consider these five lessons as you consider what to include.

map with colorful pins
The digital roadmap is nothing more than a description of the direction in which change should take place.

“Oh, only 5 lessons we learned?” I thought when I read the title of the blog article I was supposed to write. Surely there’s more, I figured. But then, during my “virtual”/imaginative tour through our digital transformation process, which is far from being finished, I came to the conclusion that it is actually always the same difficulty that causes us to stumble and get one or the other injury: It is the lack of consequences, the lack of discipline, the “not to end” thinking, the insistence on a correct solution and the persistence in what’s usual. All of these are symptoms of an insufficiently developed digital mindset; Or perhaps even a step higher, they are the result of having a digital corporate culture that is not clearly defined. This is the next stumbling block, one which does not only bring down the individual, but also entire departments or even the entire company with regard to digital transformation.

But let’s stick to the digital roadmap and the lessons that we need to learn, or perhaps have learned, and which are all closely related to the digital mindset. First of all, a short digression: What is the mindset all about? We like to call ourselves digital natives, or at least digital immigrants, but that doesn’t necessarily go hand-in-hand with having a digital mindset. What we mean by this is having the openness, curiosity, willingness to take risks and being passionate in a way that determines and shapes our attitude about work.

It is right to ask how the digital mindset and the roadmap are connected. Well, I would say that without the mindset, there can be no successful implementation of the digital roadmap. And I would like to demonstrate this with the following examples.

What Is a Digital Roadmap?

Basically, the digital roadmap is nothing more than a description of the direction in which change should take place. It should, however, contain a careful description of the goals to be achieved and some of the planned digital initiatives so that while the company is “on the road” it can be checked again and again to determine whether one is still on the right track or whether the measures introduced are conducive to achieving the goals. But this requires a first impulse that usually arises from an emotion: curiosity.

The Triad of Curiosity: What? How? Why?

What can I do better? How can I generate more sales and position myself for the future? Why should customers buy from me? Okay, these are perhaps not exactly the questions that are normally associated with the triad of curiosity. But when we talk about the impulse for digital transformation, these questions certainly play a role. And they have to be asked seriously if curiosity is to drive us to such an extent that we start the time- and money-consuming process of digital transformation at all. So first of all, we must be clear about this! Why do I want to invest, and if I do so, how much am I willing to invest?

In order to succeed in setting goals, you first have to analyze the status quo, and this is best done through a comprehensive employee survey.

Do You Really Want to Know Where You Stand and Where the Deficits Lie? Yes!

In order to succeed in setting goals, you first have to analyze the status quo, and this is best done through a comprehensive employee survey. We have done this and gained many interesting insights in the process. You can certainly expect a lot of feedback, and it requires a certain openness to accept even the unpleasant results. After all, something is supposed to change for the better, so it is clear that the starting position cannot be perfect. At the same time, it must already be conveyed here that the management is capable of criticism and willing to change, i.e. that the survey is not pro forma.

Willingness to Take Risks – the Guarantor of Innovation

The dynamics during the process of digital (business) transformation offer many opportunities to learn! And here it is important not to struggle with the fact that something has shown that it may be impractical, but instead to focus on a careful analysis in order to gain insights for the improvement potential. For this to be possible at all, a certain willingness to take risks is required. Because only then we are in a position to try something really new, accepting the risk, or should I say the chance, that this was not the expected outcome, do we become innovative.

Not Everyone, but the Right People on the Team

Of course, the initiator of the change is anchored in management. But beyond that, there are certainly some stakeholders that should not be forgotten. Here the principle applies: Not everyone who wants to, and certainly no one who does not want to, should be on the team of those who are responsible as drivers of the transformation. Passion is required here, as well as a sometimes high tolerance for frustration and assertiveness.

And in the End, It’s All About Data…

The desired agile, silo-free work usually develops a strong dynamic. To prevent this from getting out of control, good monitoring is required; It is critical that analyses of performance, productivity and efficiency, as well as information about the working atmosphere and employee commitment, provide information on the progress and success of the change process. Digital transformation does not mean changing to chaos mode, and agility does not mean doing what you want, when you want and how you want. Rather, it means using the potential of a complex world in a forward-looking and continuous manner so that high-quality results can be delivered.

So, there it is. Five – of the many – lessons we’ve learned in building out our own digital roadmap here at OTRS Group. Have you tackled the same? What lessons have you learned? How is the digital roadmap going for your team or business?

Photos: delfi de la Rua on Unsplash

2 thoughts on “Building a Digital Roadmap: 5 Lessons From OTRS Group’s Digital Transformation

  1. Great article 👍 What’s the biggest misunderstanding you discovered concerning your digital transformation from the employee survey?

    1. Hi Slin,
      The interesting thing about the survey and the insights were that there is an expectation that there is one “unique possible way to go.” It appears that most people think that starting the digital transformation process offers only one single path to follow with no deviation ever and a single goal of success. People tend to feel insecure and irritated when they find out that this change process also means trying, failing and trying again; this is natural and not a mistake at all.
      Best regards
      Your OTRS Expert

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