When it comes to executing digital transformation projects successfully, leading to a profound change in business models and processes to fully leverage the opportunities unlocked by digital technologies, many organizations turn to specialized consultants.
Digital transformation consultants help the organization craft a new vision and bring in expertise that is not available within internal teams, mainly by drawing on their experience of successful transformation projects in other companies. They bring a valuable external perspective and awareness of digital transformation trends that can help break out of ‘status quo’ thinking and adopt the bold new approaches vital for genuine transformation. Their presence gives your team the confidence to venture into uncharted territory – whether new business processes or digital tools.
The purpose of seeking digital transformation consulting could be for strategic or execution expertise. The consultant will draw up a digital transformation program that starts with analyzing the current business models, consumer insights, market dynamics, infrastructure, people, and processes. Then new user journeys can be envisioned based on modern technologies that unlock growth opportunities and possibly, also cut down costs.
Many organizations seek a partner who will be in step with current digital transformation trends and navigate the process so that a measurable impact is achieved. When you select a digital transformation consulting partner, do consider each of the following aspects.
Does the consultant have relevant experience?
Without a doubt, the top criteria you will consider when evaluating digital transformation consulting options will be the expertise, experience, and track record of success that each can demonstrate. But what should you specifically look for during this evaluation process? Here are the factors you need to consider.
Can the consultant present case studies that show how their work helped organizations navigate the transformation process, with measurable results, if possible? You may also want to consider the profile of their client organizations – are they of a similar size to yours? This is worth considering, and we usually assume that a consultant who has helped multinational conglomerates may not suit a small business or vice versa. Small and large organizations have very different challenges and resources, so the approach could be quite different.
Of course, some may take a different view and welcome the insights that consultants who have worked with a different size of organization bring. So the leadership of a large enterprise may find value in a digital transformation consultant who has advised game-changing startups. Or founders of small enterprises may want to get a sense of scale and find that consultants with enterprise experience bring that to the table
Another key aspect of experience is the span of sectors. Has the consultant worked in your industry? You can decide whether this an essential requirement for you or not. Let’s say you work in an industrial sector that doesn’t have too many digital transformation examples currently. You may want to work with a consultant who has helped businesses in consumer or service industries and benefit from their perspective.
Then there are advantages of having consultants with knowledge and experience in your sector, especially if they have insights about user requirements. So you can define your qualification criteria as either being from your specific industry or state that you welcome experts from other sectors.
What is the profile of individual consultants?
You may choose to work with a consulting firm or an individual, and in either case, the profile of the person or team who will work on your project is extremely important. So when you are awarding the project to a consulting firm, you should pay close attention to the individuals assigned to your project.
The consultant should have sufficient ‘executive presence,’ convey authority and inspire confidence. All these qualities are essential for their recommendations to receive serious attention and consideration from senior management.
The senior-most consultant must have cross-functional understanding and experience because digital transformation involves organization-wide changes, keeping the customer’s needs at the center, and is not limited to particular functions. This senior, cross-functional leader can then bring in functional experts as needed. So you should evaluate the consulting company’s leaders and team from this point of view.
Is the consultant vendor agnostic?
Digital transformation requires the organization to acquire new capabilities, which often involves purchasing specific technology products, services, or people development programs. You may need to acquire products or services for new technologies such as IoT or machine learning. You will evaluate multiple vendors for each of these products or services, and it’s critical that the digital transformation consulting service you work with should not have a prior preference for or a business arrangement with any one vendor.
A vendor-agnostic digital transformation consultant will enable you to evaluate options with an open mind. As the consultant is not motivated by any benefit from a particular vendor, she can offer impartial advice.
Another advantage of a vendor-agnostic digital transformation consulting company is that they can better design multi-vendor solutions, which select the best provider for each specific application. On the other hand, if your digital transformation consultant represents a particular vendor, that vendor may offer the best option for one part of the solution you need but may not be your best choice for other parts, and a consultant who stands to gain from the deal may not bring this to your notice.
An objective and impartial digital transformation consulting company like Treehouse Technology Group works only in your best interest when creating a digital transformation program.
How strong are the consultant’s change management and implementation capabilities?
The consultant must help you create the future vision by examining strategic questions such as ‘how can digital technologies help to unlock value at each stage of our operations?’ Or ‘which growth opportunities can we find from consumer insights and analytics?’ Once this vision has been defined, the digital transformation consultant must create a roadmap of the activities, schedule, responsibilities, and costs of the transformation project. Based on prior experience, your consultant will be aware of risks and pitfalls so that you can avoid those and increase the chances of successfully achieving your defined goals.
You will need a technology architecture, so see that the consulting firm has the expertise to create one. The consultant will then play a key role, along with the solution development team, to acquire the tools, technologies, and capabilities to implement the planned transformation. The consultant must be capable of driving significant engagement initiatives and create collaboration between business functions and IT.
Discuss the execution methodology with the consultant – do they follow an agile approach or any other framework? You will need to establish a collaborative process in which the consulting team and your own managers work together to plan, execute, review, and complete.
Some employees may find the process of transformation intimidating, as it requires them to change ways of working that they are used to and may have been following for years. While business leaders communicate across teams to build enthusiastic support for the changes, the consultant must address concerns or apprehensions and encourage participation. Your teams should not just feel that they have to adapt to the transformation, rather they should feel energized, empowered, and confident that they will get support if they need it.
Discuss with your digital transformation consultant – do they have the expertise and content to conduct training for your teams? This is vitally important, especially when it comes to technologies for which experts are not available internally.
Once you embark on the digital transformation program, it’s a journey that will extend over some years and need continuous improvement even beyond that. Your digital transformation consulting partner can be an essential resource in this journey. Getting a team of experts, like Treehouse Technology Group, is a huge asset, and the criteria listed above can help you identify the right one.