Key Factors For Successful Digital Transformation

Gimena Aguerreberry
June 24, 2021

Many teams successfully accelerated digital initiatives during the pandemic to drive efficiencies and support work-from-home models at scale. As digital technologies dramatically reshape industry after industry, many companies are pursuing large-scale change efforts to capture the benefits of these trends or simply to keep up with competitors.

The convergence of technology and behavior is only accelerating, and the butterfly effect it causes is transformative and disruptive. Markets are shifting to such an extent that they open the door to innovation with new products, services, and ways of doing business becoming the norm as a result.

Change takes place at all levels during a digital transformation, especially when it comes to talent and capabilities. Many companies today tend to focus their efforts on technology, without considering the full organizational impact. Digital transformation requires a shift in approaches to deploying and utilizing technology.

With the proper strategies and capabilities in place, enterprises can use digital transformation to pull the right levers for intended business outcomes. The following are the key factors for successful digital transformation.

Leadership Commitment

A digital culture requires a change in leadership competency at all levels of the organization. Transformed processes require vision, skills, and enthusiasm at all levels. A successful transformation requires the company to have high leadership engagement and alignment, including often-overlooked middle-management ownership and accountability.

A major key in succeeding with digital transformation efforts is having the right leaders in place who can set a vision and a roadmap that the organization can get behind. These individuals must have a clear understanding of both business and digital technologies.

Aligned Strategy

Define the purpose of digital transformation, aligning stakeholders (and shareholders) around the new vision and roadmap. Set goals for your digital transformation— what specific areas do you hope to improve through digital? What kind of metrics are you hoping to achieve? Setting quantifiable KPIs can help ensure that you meet your digital transformation objectives.

Digital transformation requires a strategy that goes beyond IT's vision of what technologies to implement. Rather, it must answer the question of how technology will help the company deliver a differentiated product or offering to the marketplace.

A crucial digital transformation success factor is to reassess the roadmap in year two or three to ensure the IT strategy is still relevant, and course-correct if necessary due to tech disruption or business model evolution.

People & Process

Understand customer values, expectations, and behaviors. This requires digital transformation buy-in at all levels— all employees and leadership— so that the entire organization is aligned with digital goals and strategies.

Assess operational infrastructure and update (or revamp) technologies, processes, and policies to support change. Start with the contact center, which is a key platform for delivering great customer experiences, and make it collaborative, unified, and intelligent.

The entire organization uses a continuous improvement framework of individuals, workgroups, and competency processes. Well-understood talent allows project teams to leverage their greatest assets.

Technology & Data

Use technology to promote trustworthiness and meet ever-increasing customer expectations. Ensure your content and communications are platform-proof so that algorithm changes do not interfere with customer experiences.

Data can help you streamline experiences across customer journeys, no matter how they interact with your brand. Data can also help you evaluate the results— brand relevance, increased revenue, and more— of your digital transformation.

Digital transformation initiatives often involve analyzing vast amounts of structured and unstructured data in order to gain rapid insights. Organizations can then use the insights gleaned to inform digitization priorities and strategies, as well as automate and improve workflows.


Implement, learn and adapt to steer ongoing digital transformation and customer experience work. Evaluate the state of your transformation frequently so you can make adjustments if necessary.

Whether or not an organization has already begun a digital transformation, it is important for all companies to think critically about the ways in which digitization could affect their businesses, in the near and longer-term, and the skills they will need to keep up. One critical step is for organizations to develop clear workforce strategies to help determine the digital skills and capabilities that they currently have—and will need—to meet their future goals.

As digital requires new ways of working as well as changes to the organization’s overall culture, employees must be empowered to work differently and keep up with the faster pace of business.

"Key Factors For Successful Digital Transformation" by Gimena Aguerreberry is licensed under CC BY SA. Source code examples are licensed under MIT.

Photo by Andrew Neel.

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