Digital transformation success factor categories and best practices by Diederik Zunneberg

Digital transformations may be more difficult than traditional change efforts. McKinsey & Company conducted a survey in 2018 that identifies 5 success factor categories and 21 best practices.

5 success factor categories

  1. having the right, digital savvy leaders in place

  2. building capabilities for the workforce of the future

  3. empowering people to work in new ways

  4. giving day-to-day tools a digital upgrade

  5. communicating frequently via traditional and digital methods

21 keys to success: digital transformation best practices

  1. Implement digital tools to make information more accessible across the organization.

  2. Engage initiative leaders (leaders of either digital or nondigital initiatives that are part of the transformation) to support the transformation.

  3. Modify standard operating procedures to include new digital technologies.

  4. Establish a clear change story (description of and case for the changes being made) for the digital transformation.

  5. Add one or more people who are familiar or very familiar with digital technologies to the top team.

  6. Leaders engaged in transformation-specific roles encourage employees to challenge old ways of working (processes and procedures).

  7. Senior managers encourage employees to challenge old ways of working (processes and procedures).

  8. Redefine individuals’ roles and responsibilities so they align with the transformation’s goals.

  9. Provide employees with opportunities to generate ideas of where digitization might support the business.

  10. Establish one or more practices related to new ways of working (such as continuous learning, open physical and virtual work environments, and role mobility).

  11. Engage employees in integrator roles (employees who translate and integrate new digital methods and processes into existing ways of working to help connect traditional and digital parts of the business) to support the transformation.

  12. Implement digital self-serve technology for employees’ and business partners’ use.

  13. Engage the leader of a program-management office or transformation office (full-time leader of the
    team or office dedicated to transformation-related activities) to support the transformation.

  14. Leaders in transformation-specific roles get more involved in developing the digital transformation’s initiatives than they were in past change efforts.

  15. Leaders in transformation-specific roles encourage their employees to experiment with new ideas (such as rapid prototyping and allowing employees to learn from their failures).

  16. Senior managers get more involved in digital initiatives than they were in past change efforts.

  17. Leaders in transformation-specific roles ensure collaboration between their units and others across the organization when employees are working on transformation initiatives.

  18. Senior managers ensure collaboration between their units and others across the organization.

  19. Engage technology-innovation managers (managers with specialized technical skills who lead work on digital innovations, such as development of new digital products or services) to support the transformation.

  20. Senior managers encourage their employees to experiment with new ideas.

  21. Senior managers foster a sense of urgency within their units for making the transformation’s changes.

Research method
The McKinsey online survey was in the field from January 16, 2018, to January 26, 2018, and garnered responses from 1,793 participants representing the full range of regions, industries, company sizes, functional specialties, and tenures. Of them, 1,521 have been part of at least one digital transformation in the past five years at either their current or previous organizations. To adjust for differences in response rates, the data are weighted by the contribution of each respondent’s nation to global GDP.

Unlocking success in digital transformations”, October 2018, McKinsey.com