Whether you are an established eCommerce merchant or shifting into the digital space, digital transformation is a big job. While it can be overwhelming, and we often hear ‘I don’t know what I don’t know’, ensuring you have the right foundations and a roadmap for your desired outcomes will help to cut through the noise and help you deliver what you set out to achieve. This blog is not a comprehensive guide (we’d be here for a long time and that’s where the B2B whitepaper can help) but it aims to provide you with a checklist of the key areas of consideration for your digital transformation journey.
Begin with the end in mind
As with any successful project, ensure you are starting out with clear objectives for what you want to achieve. You should ensure you have short, medium and longer term objectives that are measurable so you can evaluate your progress along the way.
Roadmap to success – what does Great look like?
Have a detailed understanding of your current digital ecosystem and your desired future state. Inline with your objectives, outline key milestones along your roadmap to success. Within this, you will need to understand what is fixed and what is flexible, i.e. existing systems. Note: legacy systems shouldn’t be roadblocks to your desired outcomes, evaluate how these systems fit with your objectives and build a business case evaluating the systems within your digital transformation roadmap where required.
What’s on your roadmap?
Knowing what needs to be on your roadmap to digital success can be a challenge in itself. Most B2B businesses will have between 15-25 elements or systems that need to work together. These may include;
Enterprise resourcing planning (ERP)
Order management systems (OMS)
Warehouse management systems (WMS)
Product information management (PIM)
Electronic data interchange (EDI)
Customer relationship management systems (CRM)
Loyalty and reward systems
Email direct marketing (EDM)
Point of sale systems (POS)
Self-service kiosks and information panels
Customer service systems
Analytics and business intelligence
Data warehouse systems
Middleware / Enterprise service bus (ESB)
Budget and MVP consideration
Budget is a consideration in all projects and will no doubt provide barring on the achievable outcomes and timeframe of your digital transformation initiatives. Implementing a MoSCoW (Must have, Should have, Could have, and Won’t have) methodology is successful in determining priorities. Further to this, we are seeing a growing trend to stand up transactional commerce in a minimum viable product (MVP) capacity. This means getting a solution up and running quickly with only the minimum requirements and then embarking on a reiteration plan to enhance features and functionality in a continuous improvements workflow. An MVP approach isn’t suitable for all businesses, specifically if you have complex business rules or integrations, or established customer expectations with an existing digital commerce solution. However, MVP is particularly beneficial if you are moving into the transactional commerce space, are restricted with budget, are challenged with stakeholder buy in, or need a proof of concept solution. At Balance Internet we have an MVP eCommerce accelerator suite called The Mantle.
Don’t go it alone
Digital Transformation is a big job and one that touches nearly all departments within an organisation. Projects succeed when they have greater organisational buy in and requirements across departments are transparent. A steering committee including key stakeholders from pivotal areas of the business is a great way to include people on the journey as well as hold people accountable for outcomes. Further to this, a comprehensive change management plan, including internal and external policies, and training is essential.But you don’t need to do it all yourself. Establishing an understanding of internal roles as well as contracted roles, external consultancy as well as longer term digital partners will help you achieve your objectives.