The consultant for digital transformation

Scritto da Nicholas Chilese
il 10/04/2021

The role of the consultant has changed a lot over time, taking on various forms and methodologies.

With digital this phenomenon of evolution has become even more rapid and fragmented, but without a real focus on the needs of companies. The consultant for digital transformation, if well articulated and carried out, represents a game changer in this confused ecosystem, being able to lead the company as a whole towards digitization.

On the one hand, a few large strategic consulting companies thrive, in fact unreachable due to excessive costs for SMEs and often not very concrete in downloading strategies to the ground, on the other hand there are more and more individual vertical consultants on even very specific issues (eg HR , data analysis, SEO, community, UX, etc.).

In this article we will see by points the areas of competence of the consultant for digital transformation, focusing on the elements of value that he can bring to the company.

Governance of strategies

The first area of action of the digital transformation consultant is that of strategies.

In fact, it must be able to quickly align with purpose and vision and support the company in translating them into action plans that exploit the potential of digital tools.

This first step of the consultant’s job is complex and takes a few weeks or months. It requires the performance of analyzes on various fronts, such as the digital culture in the company, the level of technological adoption and ICT tools, the analysis of today’s strategies and objectives, the analysis of business processes, market and competitor analysis and so on.

The analysis work involves interfacing the chief digital officer with several company figures on different levels, starting from the first management lines, passing through the department, project or product managers and arriving at the operational staff. A work that is largely carried out in the early stages of the collaboration but which continues without interruption, to re-emerge every six months and annually in order to verify the results of the work carried out.

In light of the outputs that emerged from the various analyzes carried out in the company, it is the consultant’s task to summarize them and present them to the top management, not only as a state of the art, but also by bringing a series of observations on the most critical issues or opportunities and a set of possible solutions. and solution and development projects. A set of information and ideas that must be analyzed and reasoned with the management in order to prioritize emergencies and draw up an operational roadmap that takes into account economic resources, skills and technologies, timing, objectives and expected results, possible unexpected developments.

Even this work of defining the strategy is not set in stone, but evolves with the progress of work and needs. It needs to be defined in a flexible, adaptive way and needs frequent revision.

Government of the people

A second decisive area on which concerted action is essential to make the company grow is that of people.

In fact, the need to involve all company personnel to bring digital to the company is often underestimated, even by business executives. It is not enough to buy the latest technology for administration or production to think about transforming the company, much less to think about transforming the corporate culture.

The real starting point of the roadmap above is the people. And before skills comes the mind-set. A mindset open to change, learning, collaboration, improvement and flexibility is the prerequisite for aligning people with a transformation project and for avoiding the ever-present resistance. Resistances that in most cases are due to fears and fears, of not being up to par, of losing one’s position, of having to commit oneself beyond what is necessary for an unclear purpose.

For this reason, the role of the digital transformation consultant is to create a relationship with the people in the company and to clearly convey to them the purposes, methods and reasons of necessity underlying the transformation process.

Secondly, the ecosystem will be mapped to understand the level of competence for each function and business sector and consequently a plan will be drawn up which, for each specific need, outlines a path of growth and training.
In this sense, projects, tenders or vouchers for the training of personnel are born more and more often able to amortize the high costs of this activity.

Data governance

A characterizing aspect of digital is the high quality and quantity of data it can produce.

A huge advantage to understand in real time the efficiency and effectiveness of machines, marketing, sales, etc. But at the same time a strong complication if there are not the correct tools or skills for measurement, integration or analysis. And even if there were such elements, it could still be a vain job if there are no reference objectives or KPIs (Key performance indicators) on which to base optimization or change choices when not respected.

In short, a great opportunity to become data driven, but also a considerable burden. In this sense, the role of the CDO is primarily to understand with senior management and middle management what the relevant objectives are and with which indices, metrics and milestones to measure them. Secondly, a measurement and detection system must be structured which should possibly be centralized in a series of easy-to-read dashboards or dashboards. Finally, he will support the dedicated figures in the company in monitoring data and in the subsequent, if necessary, re-elaboration of the company strategy on one or more fronts of activities.

The work of the digital transformation consultant often requires an experimental approach, similar to that of the growth hacker, where to find the best commercial rather than marketing solution it is necessary to test multiple solutions or variations of the same solution. In this sense, the data and a correct analysis are the key to evaluate the goodness of the work.
I talked in depth about Big Data and Business Analytics, what they are and why they are fundamental for companies in this article .

Governance of technologies

Ultimately, the digital transformation consultant supports the selection and implementation of digital technologies.

It may seem counter-intuitive but the selection of software or hardware is among the last points to be addressed in the digital transformation process of a company. As I hope to have conveyed, the work on strategy and people precedes conceptually and temporally. Only then comes the work, however important and complex, of selecting and setting the technological tools.

This is indeed a complex job that in most cases requires the involvement of several internal and external resources in order to outline the development, setting and assistance path for use.

As you will have understood, the work of the digital transformation consultant or chief digital officer is particularly wide and varied, it is also difficult to find people with truly effective skills and methods to bring to the company. For this reason in Maia management we have gathered a team of multidisciplinary experts who, working on dozens of clients, have structured a structured methodology capable of enabling the consultant to manage complexity, moreover the strength of the team allows to avoid the risk of lack of skills or experience. on the numerous action areas of the digital transformation process.

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