On a recent business trip overseas, I was struck by how many organisations I came across that were struggling to measure the success of their digital transformation programs. In my experience, digital transformation must be viewed as a highly strategic initiative and measuring its success should be part of the planning process well before implementation.

Traditionally, business leaders have measured success based on a set of key performance indicators that include revenue, costs and customer satisfaction, among others.

While these indicators can provide valuable insights, leaders need to look beyond them in the new era of measuring digital transformation to ensure they are getting the most value from their business investments and efforts. New metrics must be considered to have greater control and visibility around progress; and the opportunity to see and analyse change in real-time is vital.

Digital transformation, for many organisations, requires both a cultural and behavioural shift. Riding the wave of change during this time can be tricky for leaders – but it can be much more manageable if the right operational insights are constantly visible and available.

So where to start?

The key is to keep metrics around performance and ROI simple, measure the right things and celebrate even the smallest wins to keep employees motivated and customers happy.

  • Cultural shift

    Focusing on culture builds a more engaged and productive workplace, crucial for a successful transformational change. As leaders implement digital systems and processes, bring the team into the process early and take them on the journey to co-build the metrics that the organisation will measure success on.

    Once indicators have been developed, invite wide consultation from those performing the tasks. This not only builds a healthy corporate culture, but also drives operational excellence. A cultural shift is never a generic objective; therefore, measurement is unique to each organisation.

  • Behavioural shift

    Take the time to define behaviours for success and embed that across the transformation program. As behaviour drives performance, develop a culture of continuous improvement that rewards progress.

    A lack of knowledge is one of the biggest obstacles a leader can face when considering the value of digital transformation. That’s why it is more important than ever to plan and execute to the agreed KPIs. This will give leaders the insights required to assess and refine transformation efforts continuously.

Digital transformation doesn’t happen overnight. In today’s rapidly changing marketplace, leaders who embrace the value of digital transformation metrics are much more likely to succeed at transformation than those who rely on traditional KPIs.

Putting people first and working hand in hand with technology will unlock the company’s potential, change behaviour and activate results.