Everything that’s meaningful in life and business comes with risks. Digital transformation projects are no exception. A digital roadmap illuminates these risks and gives you a clear plan on what you can do to alleviate them, so you feel prepared, resilient, and empowered to take on digital transformation projects.

In this blog we’ll discuss the main types of risks within digital transformation and how you can mitigate them.


Recap – what is a digital roadmap?

A roadmap is a high-level, flexible and strategic plan that helps organisations not under or overestimate the actions, costs and impacts of digital transformation. A roadmap takes you from where you are now (current state) to where you want to be (target state). It does this by mapping milestones along the way and outlining processes, policies, systems, technology and people resources you need to get to your destination.


1. How to mitigate people and culture risks.

If you want to keep your people happy and productive during and after digital transformation, you’ll need to value their opinions and perspectives. Change impacts everyone – from your staff, management, and customers, to the Board. Include key people in the design of your roadmap – especially when you’re gathering information and data on what they’d like to see change and how they foresee the impact.

That way they feel included in the process rather than having to adjust because they are forced to.

For a digital transformation project to be a success, you need your people on board. Achieving your digital vision can involve a whole culture shift, so don’t overlook the importance of making sure everyone is aligned with your goals.

You could also adopt a key person or team to be change champions. Their role is to influence culture change and keep your organisation invested in the digital roadmap and its successful outcome.


2. Overcome a lack of structure or strategy.

A digital roadmap allows you to plan for your ideal future first and then find digital solutions that fit you best.

Adopting a particular type of technology should not be the endgame – your vision and mission should be.

A digital roadmap is strategic and mitigates shiny object syndrome by addressing the most pressing questions: What are you trying to achieve and why? How are we going to make this happen and by when?

Technology then becomes an enabler and not a distraction.


3. Financial risks.

Target State recommends engaging an independent external adviser to design your digital roadmap. A significant drawcard for outsourcing this expertise is you get someone who can reality check your budget who is not nestled in your organisation and its politics.

To minimise risk of over or under-spending, you need someone who can ask the hard questions. Does your plan allow for contingencies? Is it flexible enough to adapt to external environment – like a pandemic, natural disaster, or change in regulations, your vendor going out of business, or new vendors entering the market? Is it fair and sustainable?

Digital roadmap planning allows you to understand the full lifecycle costs of technology – how much is it to install, license, onboard and decommission? A solution that looks promising on paper, might have significant ongoing costs.

The process also looks objectively at the organisation as a whole so you can be confident you are investing in the right areas of your business. The process of gathering objective data in creating a roadmap reduces the risk of favouritism or going along with the status quo – so you can make equitable and fact-based decisions.  


4. Minimise hold-ups or projects stalling.

A digital roadmap plots the sequence of events – the milestones and perquisites that need to be completed to keep the project on schedule as much as possible.

You can factor in lead times and anticipate delays and barriers. Like all good roadmaps, it has a plan for diversions and is flexible enough to adapt to internal or external changes.


5. Keep your data and policies secure, legal and relevant.

A roadmap allows you to check and boost your capabilities. It helps you decide if you have the right skillset in house already, if you need to hire more people, or if it’s best to outsource.

One such area that’s critical for your success and resilience is cyber security and privacy. You may have team members responsible for protecting against these types of breaches, so they will need to be brought up to speed on any digital developments.

Improved security will look like tightening up access to confidential information and data control, particularly as more people work remotely, and devices may be travelling with employees across the globe.

Your roadmap should include how you are going to develop and implement your first line of defence – best practice security and privacy policies and processes.


Ready to take the next step?

A digital roadmap is essential if you want to extract the most value from your digital transformation project, while lessening the blow of financial, time, security, and people-related risks.

Worried a digital roadmap is too hard, too pricey or will take too long? Target State has helped dozens of organisations – from not-for-profits to large corporates – create and action their digital roadmap saving them time, pain and cost in the long-run.

Technology then becomes an enabler and not a distraction.


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