Digital transformation initiatives are often complex and high risk. JourneyApps aims to simplify as much of it as possible. Even so, the internal approvals required to proceed with an initiative can be tricky to navigate. Here are some of the questions that you should ask yourself before going to your IT leadership (or other decision makers) to get a digital transformation project approved:
1. Do you have a strong business case?
A strong business case is by far the best guarantee of getting a project approved. Spend time analyzing the quantitative cost-versus-benefit for your proposed initiative. Where can you get productivity gains, such as reducing labor costs, turnaround times, or eliminating spend on old systems and processes? Strategic advantages are even more valuable. How does your initiative make the business more competitive? Where can you get big gains in customer satisfaction? How does the initiative lead to better insights from data to improve your products?
2. Who is sponsoring the initiative? Who do you need to win over?
Once you have a great business case, make sure you have the right executive backers. If you are not the executive sponsor, find out who you need to get bought in to the initiative higher up the food chain. Which person’s KPIs will be improved by the initiative that you are proposing?
3. Which budget will be used for this solution?
If you have an existing budget that you can use, that’s the first prize. However, often there is no existing budget that can be used for a new, innovative initiative. Does IT see the initiative as a high enough priority on their roadmap to fund it from their budget? If the business case for your initiative is strong, will the executive buyer be willing to approve discretionary spending? Is there an operational excellence or continuous improvement budget that can be used, based on the productivity gains expected from the solution?
4. Have you done a basic security assessment and organized an in-depth security vetting?
If you are proposing that a new vendor should be used for the initiative, make sure that you have obtained essential security information from them — such as their security white paper, and ideally, a SOC 2 report. Contact your corporate IT security team proactively to arrange an in-depth security vetting with the vendor.
5. How will you get the solution adopted?
Many companies spend large amounts of money on new technology solutions based on business cases that never pan out, because the solutions did not get adopted by users. This is known as “shelfware”, and you want to avoid this trap. Think about the managers, supervisors and end-users you need buy-in from to adopt the solution that are going to have to change the way they are completing tasks today. What training do you envision you need? Can these users use their existing hardware (e.g. computers, phones or iPads) or will they need new hardware to use the solution? If the new solution is cloud-based, that’s a bonus — since it eliminates the need for hosting infrastructure and reduces the burden on IT. Does the vendor provide tools to monitor user adoption proactively? Do you need to brush up on your knowledge of change management?
6. Does your solution need any integration?
Solutions that require integration with an existing business system almost always require the close involvement of IT. Ask your vendor to propose an integration architecture that you can present to IT. Also ask yourself whether you can start phase 1 of your new solution without integration — it’s often possible to get a fast start by manually importing or exporting information rather than developing automated integration.
7. Does the solution involve sensitive data?
Data privacy and other data regulations are becoming more prevalent and stringent every year. Does your proposed solution require collecting or storing any personally identifiable information (PII) of individuals? If so, consider whether you need to design the solution to comply with regulatory frameworks such as the European Union’s GDPR. Do you work on contracts for the Federal government, and will the solution involve any data related to your government work? There are a number of regulations that may apply. Check with your vendor whether they provide compliance with applicable regulatory frameworks for the relevant class of data.
Getting first pass answers to the above 7 questions will put you in a strong position to start seeking approvals for your new Digital Transformation initiative. JourneyApps will walk this path with you and provide guidance and advice throughout the process. Feel free to contact us for a free consultation.