Digital transformation projects need structure. Without a clear plan, they can devolve into a collection of scattered technology investments instead of a strategic initiative. As we discussed in my last article, the 20x20n framework is designed to help organizations repeat waves of digital transformation by following four key steps:
- Rolling out new capabilities
- Delivering foundational services
- Assessing the ecosystem
- Fostering improvements
The overarching goal here is to use a pragmatic, data-driven approach in digital transformation.
The 20x20n framework gets its start with an emphasis on assessing requirements based on business drivers and then going through those aforementioned steps in an initial wave of innovation. From there, companies working to sustain digital transformation need to evolve into a subsequent wave in which the emphasis on delivering services with greater speed, improving the underlying IT ecosystem and learning from initial results and adjusting according.
Moving through these subsequent waves of transformation is often when organizations can go beyond entry-level digital innovation and drive deep changes in how they operate. Here is how they do it:
Deepening the core steps to transformation
Successful digital transformations support system modernization while turning your business into a technology accelerator that can innovate quickly and flexibly. This can still be accomplished through the four key steps of establishing new capabilities, rolling out foundational services, performing assessment and driving improvements. Each step changes during these subsequent waves to focus on more nuanced capabilities needed to support a digitized environment.
During subsequent waves of the 20x20n framework, new capabilities should focus on putting modern solutions in place, but the process of doing so is different. Where the initial waves are marked primarily by improving architectures, rolling out third-party services and setting a base for the future, the new capabilities portion of the later waves emphasize taking a more controlled, strategic approach to innovation. To this end, the step includes:
- Moving toward outcome-based development: Instead of relying on development processes aimed at putting out fires and keeping up with business demands, organizations should deploy capabilities that empower them to focus on the positive outcomes of projects and put value-focused initiatives into place.
- Delivering new business capabilities: Digital transformation projects are built on business drivers. At this stage in your efforts, you should be moving past a focus on meeting basic IT needs and creating a culture in which you are emphasizing solutions that have a direct and positive impact on how the business functions.
- Migrating applications to the cloud: System modernization plays a vital role in digital transformation and moving your legacy applications into the cloud allows for better data integration, simpler maintenance and management, reduced technical overhead and potential advances in uptime and availability.
With these new capabilities in place, it's time to revisit foundational services in a more digitally mature organization.
These later waves should be marked by greater adaptability. However, your foundational solutions, such as modern APIs, microservices and underlying architecture, are still priorities just as they were during initial waves.
The difference between the initial waves and the subsequent waves is that early on, you're focusing on building a foundation for modernized services. As you mature, it's time to consistently deliver on rapid development and deployment of the capabilities that are critical for your business.
With the 20x20n framework, you should never stop assessing and analyzing how you're working toward your goals and how your systems are functioning. In these subsequent waves, it is important to revisit the work you did during the initial waves and reevaluate how those projects are doing. A successful digital transformation project relies heavily on continuous improvement, which is why I emphasize assessments in each transformation wave.
This is the time to dig into how your applications and overarching IT ecosystem are operating and make the underlying improvements needed to sustain your progress and continue to grow. You should use this step to deal with technical debt, identify key performance metrics that you aren't quite achieving and step up your efforts, focus on resiliency, ramp up efficiency and bolster security.
These are the types of overarching gains that are needed to keep the momentum of digital transformation going beyond the initial rollout of exciting new technologies.
Using application visibility to achieve digital success
These steps focus on becoming faster in how you innovate and systematizing the process of learning from your past efforts. You can't do that if you don't have meaningful data about how your projects are performing. This is where CAST steps in as the fuel for digital transformation. With Software Intelligence, you get the deep metrics you need to analyze your application environment and drive digital change.