Digital transformation - more than a megatrend

Digitalization has long been a feature of all change processes.
According to Zukunftsinstitut “digitalization should not be reduced to technologies only, but should be understood more comprehensively as ‚digital communication networks‘.”
Digital transformation is driven by technology and communication: Digital technologies have fundamentally changed the way people and devices communicate: both from person to machine -and vice versa-  and machines among themselves.
Digital transformation is a multifaceted development that involves integrating digital technologies and communication into various aspects of an organization to fundamentally change how it operates and delivers sustainable value.

Industrial sectors heavily, impacted by digital transformation, are summarized in McKinsey Technology trend outlook 2022 and 2023

Relevant technology trends/driving forces at a glance

Applied AI/ Machine Learning

uses intelligent application to solve classification, prediction, and control problems to automate, add, or augment real-world business use cases. As AI technologies rapidly push new frontiers of innovation, business adoption continues to grow across use cases.

Machine learning (ML) workflows are processes that bring AI and ML into production for real-world business use. 

Cloud and edge computing

Networks of the future consist of traditional cloud data centers and a variety of computational resources located at network edge nodes closer to end users to reap the benefits of traditional cloud computing while gaining advantages such as better data latency and increased data autonomy

Advanced connectivity

5G/6G cellular, wireless low-power networks, low-Earth-orbit satellites, and other technologies support a host of digital solutions that can help networks increase geographic coverage, reduce latency, reduce energy consumption, increase data throughput, and increase spectrum efficiency.

Many organizations are only at the beginning of their digital journey and often overlook the fact that digital transformation involves not only technological progress but also a change in leadership, corporate culture, communication, empowerment, upskilling and healthy employee attitudes and  mindset. 
Following guiding questions may vary depending on industry sector, size, and specific objectives of your professional context and organization but help to get prepared for an era of radical technological innovations driven by digital transformation.

20 guiding questions addressing 10 different aspects to navigate the journey of human centric (digital) transformation in your professional context more effectively:

Vision and strategy

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What is the vision for our organization in the (digital) transformative era, and how do we communicate it effectively to all internal and external stakeholders?
What is our (digital) transformation strategic framework, and how does it align with our overall business objectives and a healthy and sustainable value creation?

Culture and leadership

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How can we foster a culture of innovation and agility to support  (digital) transformation initiatives?

Do we have the right leadership and teams with approbriately defined roles and responsiblities in place to drive human centric (digital) initiatives across the organization?

Current business model and its future. 

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How can we leverage digital technologies and new communication features to profoundly enhance or even radically change our existing business model towards a healthy and sustainable value creation, considering  societal and environmental impacts and meet evolving user needs at the same time?

What data and insights do we require and want to use (ethic/responsible) to better understand our professional context?

Talents and upskilling

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Do we have the required  talent and skills within our organization to navigate our digital transformation journey ?

How do we attract new and upskill/ retain exisiting  talents?

Technology infrastructure

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Do we have the necessary technological infrastructure in place to support our (digital) transformation initiatives?

How do we ensure an interconnected operational approach and scalability of our digital systems and platforms?

Partnerships and Ecosystems

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How can we leverage partnerships and collaborations with other organizations to accelerate our (digital) transformation journey?

What ecosystems do we need to be a part of to remain in business and innovative in our business sector?

Data management and analytics

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Do we effectively and responsibly collect, manage, and analyze data to derive actionable insights and drive decision-making in a balanced way, i.e. data -intuition?

What data governance policies and procedures do we need to ensure data quality, privacy, security as well as  ethical, responsible, sustainable and reliable use ?

Change management

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How do we overcome resistance to change and effectively navigate the cultural shift that comes with digital transformation?

Which moves are required  to ensure that teams/employees at all levels can embrace change with a healthy mind-set?

Key progress indicators

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What key performance/progress indicators (KPIs) should we use to follow up our (digital) transformation initiatives and business activities and measure their benefit/impact beyond financial results ?

How do we continuously assess and iterate our digital strategy to ‘stay on track’ in a rapidly changing landscape?

Risk management

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What are the potential risks (e.g. cybersecurity) associated with our (digital) transformation initiatives, and how do we mitigate them?

How do we ensure an ethical, responsible, sustainable and  reliable use of new technologies and compliance with data protection regulations and industry standards?