Digital Transformation Companies: How to Choose
When you are trying to narrow down the best digital transformation agency from all the digital transformation companies out there, you'll want to approach your shortlisting process in a systematic way.
To help overcome the overwhelm of choosing a digital transformation company following are some points to keep top of mind to ensure a successful project.
How to Choose a Digital Transformation Company
1. Decide your digital strategy
Before going on a hunt for a digital transformation company you need to decide what you are expecting to achieve first by mapping out a clear digital strategy.
You want to look at the readily available technologies and think about how these tools can be leveraged in your organization.
Define how you are going to make your operations special and how you are going to deliver to customers in a novel or better way once digital is fully rolled out.
The basics include two options:
- Transform your organization's go-to-market customer engagement
- Transform your organization's business model with digitized solutions
According to Jeanne Ross, the above two options are the key areas to think about how digital transformation is going to help your company.
Digital requires a different approach and thinking. Identifying your strategy is often the hardest part of moving forward.
2. Prioritize the criteria that will be needed to execute your digital strategy
Once you've outlined the digital strategy you are seeking to implement, you can begin to prioritize and weigh the features you will develop against other constraints.
Priorities will vary based on your situation; but, you won't want to overlook the following when choosing a digital transformation partner:
- Access to team
- Management oversight
- Experience in your industry
- Workflow compatibility
The list could be endless but, from our own experience, consider the points above as a minimum.
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3. The Search: References and Case Studies
Once your team has agreed on the direction of your digital strategy and the most important criteria has been prioritized, it's now time to start your search and begin to shortlist digital transformation companies that will fit your transformation plan.
Most searches begin in one of two ways, either: (1) googling for companies; or, (2) reaching out to your network for referrals.
Googling can feel like the proverbial 'chasing your own tail' as there are many ads to wade through and other garbage in the search results that can be frustrating.
The most efficient method to start your search if often to simply ask your network. That could include a post on Facebook asking for any references, messaging industry insiders on LinkedIn or otherwise tapping the crowd for knowledge.
Once you've identified some promising references, you'll want to verify competencies and that's where case studies come in.
It's often reading through a good case study that you'll have an 'aha moment' when you know you've found a potential candidate company for your project.
Additionally, reading through a few case studies will ensures that the type of projects the company you are vetting will be a good fit - especially when the case study illustrates a proven solutions to problems you are seeking to overcome.
Now, you are ready to go on to the next step.
4. Contacting Your Shortlist
Having checked references and read through some case studies, you should now be confident to contact at least three digital transformation companies to find out more.
When you reach out to the companies you are looking to get a feel for how working with the company will go for your project.
- What processes does the company follow?
- How much face time will your project be allocated?
- How organized is the communication?
- Are you dealing with a sales rep or a future project lead?
- Do they have any guarantees?
- Is this a company you can work with long term?
Even a great company with an exceptional track record could end up a disaster if it doesn't fit with your company's communication culture, expected responsiveness or other subjective non-negotiables. So, this is the time to feel them out for required compatibility.
5. The Request for Proposal
It is common for organizations, yours may have another process, to highlight that the opportunity for a contract is competitive via a Request for Proposal, or RFP.
Once you've spec'd out your plan and interviewed a number of the available options on your shortlist and when your project is large - to get a better price - the RFP is often used.
This step may skipped - if you were able to make a decision during step four and are working on a smaller project.
When you want to reduce your risk - before getting into a large commitment - we recommend you test a number of the companies on your shortlist by giving each selected shortlisted company a small project to further assess the compatibility of a long term contract.
6. Starting Small: Take Baby Steps Before Committing to Big Projects
Before diving in on a big project, start small.
It takes time for two companies to come together and start working productively.
At the beginning of a relationship, starting small is the wise choice so the kinks in project workflows are worked out before the project size gets too big.
When this baby step process is skipped, kinks tend to metastasize to major problems that would've been easily avoided by following a step-by-step approach to scaling up.
To avoid the above scenario, take baby steps.
First, start with a simple digitization project, ideally one that can be done rapidly.
For example, moving a process that is currently taking place via email and spreadsheets into a database solution; a project like this opens the data to a world of permission controls, accountability and logic based workflows that are just not possible with a spreadsheet.
After an initial small stakes digitization process has been completed and the digital transformation company has proven amiable to work with, now you confidently enter into a longer term relationship and bigger project scope.
To take advantage of the ongoing digital disruption brought about by A.I., IoT, blockchain, the internet, the cloud, big data and more you need to shortlist three to five digital transformation companies that specialize in your industry.
Once you have your shortlist, the next step is to weigh the criteria important to your organization - keeping in mind budget, ability, access and management oversight.
For a procurement and supply chain organization, engaging the right digital transformation company can help you overcome the challenges of supply chain management.
There will continue to be many winners and losers as the digital revolution continues to accelerate and the confluence of technologies force businesses to adapt to an ever more competitive world where readily accessible technologies are accessible to nearly everyone.
Your advantage is going to be integrating the technology and using it better than anyone else - choosing a digital transformation company that fits your criteria will you get there faster.
Digital disruption is not inevitable when you accept the trend of the fourth industrial revolution and are proactive to take advantage of a closing window of opportunity to benefit your company before its too late.
Don't Get Left Behind
Schedule a free consultation with Visichain to ensure your supply chain and procurement operations get the best in digital transformation and remain competitive in today's dynamic environment.