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4 elements of a successful digital transformation

Business professionals sitting around a conference tableEighty-five percent of business leaders feel they must offer digital services or become irrelevant.1 Ninety-one percent see digital transformation as a way of sparking innovation and finding efficiencies.2 While business leaders understand the need to develop a digital transformation strategy, many aren’t sure where to start. A playbook like this one can help.

We’ve worked with more than a thousand companies on their digital transformation journey, in addition to undertaking our own, and we’ve learned a lot along the way. As we’ve worked with companies on digital transformation, we’ve refined and optimized the process into a framework we call I.D.E.A., and we share insights and practices that support that framework in our Digital Transformation Playbook: Four Elements to a Successful Strategy. To learn more about and gain experience in our I.D.E.A. framework, you can apply to the Microsoft CATALYST program.

Whether you’re excited or daunted about digital transformation, the steps outlined in the playbook can help you tackle the process. Below we will guide you through the general approach that we’ve found to be successful.

Four practices for digital transformation success

Inspire: envision the future state of your business

A great way to do this is with an Envisioning Workshop. Envisioning Workshops convene stakeholders from across the business to develop and align on a vision for their organization’s future success. The workshop includes an overview of market and industry opportunities and threats, exercises to evaluate your organization’s capabilities through the lens of digital transformation, and a customer journey practice that gives you insights into your customers’ point of view.

Design: scope your transformation aspiration and technology roadmap

One way to do this is by building a compelling case through assessments. Digital transformation projects require funding, and funding requires ROI projections. Conducting a business assessment will help you estimate financial ROI, while a technical assessment can show decision-makers that the project you’re proposing is finite and doable.

Empower: build support for your vision

Building a solution demo is a great way to whet the appetite for digital transformation across your organization. It can help bring your concept to life, engage renewed support for your vision, and provide you with valuable feedback.

Achieve: move your organization from vision to action

Create and execute on your transformation plan. Once you’ve completed the three steps above, you’ll have the information and insights to develop an executable plan, with concrete steps to project completion.

Our Digital Transformation Playbook: Elements to a Successful Strategy contains more detailed information on these steps, with instructions and templates for activities such as capabilities mapping, customer journey mapping, and creating a business assessment. While digital transformation is never a one-size-fits-all undertaking, we’ve found these activities to be highly supportive to many organizations across industries, and depending on where your company is in its process, you can use this playbook from beginning to end or jump to the section that’s most relevant to you.

If you’re looking for additional support on digital transformation, you can apply to the Microsoft CATALYST program. We also welcome you to contact a Microsoft representative to discuss partnering with Microsoft on your digital transformation journey.


1Research Report, ISACA, Information Systems Audit and Control Association, 2018.

2 Survey, Couchbase, August 2018.