Your Digital Transformation Team Doesn't Look the Way You'd Expect

By Katie Rose Hestor

02 Jun 2021

Digital Transformation Isn’t Just An Automation, It’s An Evolution. Your Team Should Reflect That.

A digital transformation is an exercise in transcendence - not just in the literal sense of transforming a process or experience from something traditional to something exceptional, but in the way that it questions accepted notions about how people in certain roles interact with and contribute to the strategy itself.

When it comes to assembling a digital transformation team, the inclination is typically to assemble a team of tech professionals, and task them with delivering a digital solution. The problem with that strategy is that the secret to a successful digital transformation is knowing that delivering a superior system isn’t the final destination, it’s part of the journey.

A digital transformation isn’t so much automation as it is evolution - it’s not insular, and your team should include people with the capabilities to support you throughout this quest. Erick Barbor, Senior Director, Head of Strategy, Samsung Electronics, explains:

“Digital transformation is a path. The prompt is: ‘this is the journey that I’m on,’ and a really good partner will say, “here’s how we can help you throughout that whole journey .’”

According to Barbor, an effective digital transformation team requires subject matter experts - people who can outline what the business is trying to achieve or what pain point it’s trying to address - supported by a strong technical team who will provide product ownership and assist with management of the digital asset moving forward.

Developing and supporting systems integration is a recognisably digital role, but meaningfully assisting with management of a digital asset is something more elusive.

Developing and supporting systems integration is a recognisably digital role, but meaningfully assisting with management of a digital asset is something more elusive: that requires a forward-thinking, simultaneously business savvy and digitally intelligent collective, and that’s not easy to find. Training, teaching and assisting with assembly of an internal team are services removed from the provision of a digital transformation, but they’re essential for its continued success.

Today’s marketplace demands cross-functional expertise as well as innovation. Digital Transformation teams require certain core professionals to succeed: Developers, designers, architects, legal and financial pros and HR support are essential to moving forward with a digital transformation project, but contributions from non-traditional roles aren’t often given the same attention when it comes to assembling a Digital Transformation team. It’s time to change that narrative.

Digital Transformation Team Members

Here’s the essential list of non-traditional members you’ll need in the room with your core team to create an effective digital transformation team guaranteed to deliver a kinetic solution:

  • Transformation Lead: Your transformation lead must embody transcendence. Said otherwise, this C-level leader should have well rounded knowledge of what it means to undertake a digital transformation in terms of tech and business. Barbor explains why this link is crucial: “the key [for a successful digital transformation] is for your IT people to speak the same language as your business people.” Put simply: you’ll need a translator.
  • Subject Matter Expert(s): Sometimes known as the “Business Process Expert,” this is the member responsible for defining the business process that’s being improved. This role isn’t often at the top of the list when it comes to digital transformation dream teams, but it should be. Per Barbor, digital transformation is about “adding capabilities to the business.” That means your team must have someone on board who can identify and dissect business practices, customer pain points, and overall goals, from both business and tech perspectives. The key is to get someone in the room who can attack and explain the issue from every angle.
  • Change Cheerleader: Change Cheerleaders are crucial to presenting an optimistic view of the entire project to everyone around them. Their job is, in part, to help people get comfortable with something that’s innately uncomfortable - change. They do this with an intimate understanding of the end goal and the overall project, and they can effectively communicate the benefits of the change to those around them. They’re also masters of conflict resolution and relationship building, and they understand exactly how to respond when someone questions or pushes back against the transformation process.
  • Post-Transformation Managers: This is the role you’re not going to find on every digital dream team list. The post-transformation management role will likely be serviced by several digital professionals with expertise guiding development of enterprise personnel tasked with managing the digital asset post-delivery. This role supports training, teaching and sourcing the right talent to ensure the foundation laid by the digital transformation team doesn’t erode once the asset is launched.

Ultimately, your core digital transformation team must include developers, architects, designers and engineers. Including these technical professionals ensures that you can engineer and deliver a digital transformation, but your team needs more, and so does your digital asset, if you want it to act like one.

Your team needs dimension, and it needs forward-thinking leadership focused on building an evergreen asset. Digital transformation teams built to occupy the ever narrowing space between business and digital strategy are the teams that deliver agile, thoughtful systems designed to last.

Your digital transformation team might not look the way you’d expect, but progress often necessitates departure from tradition, and this evolution is no exception.

Interested in discussing your digital transformation project with us? Get in touch!

Find out what we can deliver, take a look at our client case studies.

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