Digital Transformation - It’s a Business Priority

By Special Guest|21 November 2017

In this guest blog post, Kelly Olsen former CIO at NHS Property Services Ltd., explores digital transformation and what it means for your entire organisation. The key takeaway? Think Big, Start Small, Scale Fast. What do you think? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts on this subject.

Phrases like ‘we are doing a Digital Transformation’ are thrown around in boardrooms, corridors, at conferences and in offices, they appear in annual reports, 5 year business plans, but what does it really mean to undertake a ‘Digital Transformation’?

For me this means taking the business objectives, the whole business, not just one element, mapping these overarching business goals with fully aligned plans in each of these areas:

Operationally – the business processes needed to execute the plan

Organisationally – the people and teams needed to deliver ongoing business operation, growth and success

Informationally (new word I just made up!) - the data that needs to be acquired, stored and maintained and needed to drive business performance and decision-making

Technically – the technology needed to enable the plan

It’s a lot to think about so Think Big, Start Small and Quick, Scale Fast.

What’s the plan, Stan?

Where is the business going, what are your high-level aspirations? Is it to deploy a fleet of autonomous vehicles, to deliver excellence in customer service through a single customer view and machine learning or to develop new markets by embracing the Internet of Things. Whatever the business goal is:

Turn the goals into a clear, high-level roadmap

Write the roadmap, holistically so there’s consensus about the direction of travel, and expect it to morph and evolve – it WILL (and probably should) change.

Map the organisational, information,  technology and data roadmaps against this and agree the priorities – what can you fund already, what requires investment, what will be the most effective areas to invest in?

Oh and don’t forget…

Think big, start small and scale fast, use this adage to develop your roadmap and expect change.

Don’t be coy Roy - Is your core Infrastructure and Organisation ready, be honest?

Health check your core infrastructure and platforms – do the gap analysis plan what needs to be done and in what order to be ready.

Do you have the skills, what’s the plan to retrain, augment or change what people do?

Are there any new policies, security or data protection rules that need to be developed?

Don’t just slip out the back, Jack - What can be re-used?

Are there soft and hard assets that can be re-used or redeployed to protect some of the previous investments and perhaps shorten the project timetable?

And the key, Lee? - How will you keep the lights on?

How and who will manage the legacy, this is not just technology, old systems, but old processes and ways of working. Do not assume all the legacy will be transformed. What is the roadmap for retiring these solutions and or processes and what investment is needed to keep them going?

We are not alone - Do you need help to accelerate delivery or create a momentum for change?

Do you need consultancy support to augment your teams to make things go faster or utilise specialist skills?

The answer is easy, if you take it logically – what’s your data strategy?

How will you gather, organise and maintain data during this process, as a key asset to give business insight this is a key area which deserves its own workstream.

How will legacy data sources integrate with new ones and how will you translate old sources of data to fit the new world structures?

…and in the morning you’ll see the light - How are you doing? Deliverables and Success Criteria

How will you know you are succeeding? Detail the short-term deliverables, measure your business performance along the way, re-plan where necessary and continue to ensure anything you do is still aligned with the end game (or your revised end-game).

Kelly Olsen

Kelly Olsen.jpgKelly Olsen works as Head of Corporate Programmes and Director at NHS Property Services Ltd, and was formerly Chief Information Officer. She has strong expertise in technology, business transformation, operational excellence and programme management.



Further Information

Inhouse vs. Outsourcing

Decide if the continuation of an in-house technology team is the best way forward, versus the benefits of outsourcing to an external expert.


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