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  • Writer's pictureOliver Nowak

Strategy Alignment: Creating your North Star

Before we go anywhere, I feel like I need to answer the question: What is digital transformation?

Simply put, digital transformation is all about integrating technology into areas of the business to drive fundamental change to how the business operates and delivers value to its customers.

So, plain and simple, for a digital transformation to be successful it must contain two elements. The first is, it must be aligned to the business strategy - how it operates. The second is it must create measurable business outcomes - drive value to your customers.

So what does a well-defined strategy look like?

A well-defined strategy provides direction and focus. It’s our how. Aligning your digital transformation investments and initiatives to the company’s strategy gives it focus, not just for now but for the coming years. This focus allows you to prioritise because, fundamentally, any digital transformation programme, at any organisation, comes up against the same key problem - resource availability. By resource I mean people, time and money, and if you had an unlimited source of those, you’d like to think you probably would have delivered the majority of your transformation years ago. But the reality is, you don’t. Strategy alignment is essential for giving you an ongoing, dynamic plan for allocating your scarce resources effectively.

But what does “effectively” mean?

This is where your measurable business outcomes come in. It’s all well and good saying you are aligned to your business strategy, but can you prove it?

Why does it matter, and why do you need to continuously prove yourself?

It all revolves around the definition of digital transformation that I started with. The key is, you are seeking to deliver ‘fundamental change’. Change at this breadth and depth is going to require wholehearted buy-in from senior stakeholders within your business for it to even get off the ground. Why? – Transformation costs a lot of money and it’s not going to take shape overnight so it’s going to take continued investment for the long-term. This will naturally cause conflict and roadblocks at a level and on a scale that only a fully inspired senior stakeholder is going to be able to smooth out for you. But you need to arm them for success. If you can prove how your transformation fundamentally changes the way the business operates for the better, and if you can demonstrate the value that it creates for your customers, then it will go a long way to ensuring your senior stakeholder is armed to go to battle for you. But remember, this isn’t a one and done activity. Any organisation is a dynamic beast. How it operates, and the customer-base it serves, are constantly evolving, so make sure you’re keeping pace along the way.

So, what can you start doing today?

Start with defining the Strategic Vision – What’s the big goal here? This should be your ‘North Star’.

Next, define the Strategic Drivers. These can be the big projects or programmes of work that will support the Strategic Vision.

Underpinning Strategic Drivers are the Business Outcomes. A business outcome is the measurable outcome from the transformation activity. So, the alignment might look like:

Strategic Vision

IT Strives to provide the tools and services to support the business goals. It looks to drive new technical innovations to make work-life easier for all employees.

Strategic Drivers

To provide the business with a Cloud First strategy

Business Outcomes

50% of all infrastructure to be cloud based by Dec 2023

I hope that has given you some useful insight. I look forward to seeing you at the next article.

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