You completed your audit 4.0. What do you have to do now to achieve your business’s digital transformation? Where do you begin?
Here you are, recommendations in hand, facing a plan providing you with a clear portrait of your business’s level of digital maturity.
You now have to take action to develop this maturity in line with your strategic planning. But where do you start to achieve your ambitions?
Step 1: Determine project priority
The 4.0 diagnosis includes a digital plan presenting an overview of the intermediate and digital transformation projects to be implemented.
At a certain point, the business will have to make a final selection of the projects to be implemented based on its budget and implementation plan. It is therefore necessary to determine the critical path for achieving the objectives of the various strategic and operational directions established.
To help you categorize your actions objectively, we suggest that you define some criteria and give them a summary score (between 1 and 5).
You could, for example, use the following criteria:
- Criticality: Is your project critical? (5 = very critical, 1 = less critical);
- Immediate realization: Does your project depend on the implementation of other projects?
(5 = project without other prerequisite projects, 1 = project with several other prerequisite projects);
- Budget and expected return: Will the return on investment on your project be quick or very significant (5 = project with high expected return, 1 = project with lower expected return);
- Timeframe: Is the expected end date of your project fixed and achievable (5 = very achievable within expected timeframe, 1 = improbable or unrealistic timeframe);
- Risk: Does your project involve risks that could negatively affect the company’s performance if they were poorly defined? (5 = low risk, 1 = high risk);
- Impact: Will the completion or non-completion of your project have an impact on the achievement of your objectives? (5 = significant impact, 1 = no impact).
Then, you will have to add up the scores to obtain an overall score. Higher scores will determine the priority of projects to be implemented.
You will therefore be able to better categorize your projects based on the following priorities:
- Priority no. 1: important and urgent;
- Priority no. 2: important and non-urgent;
- Priority no. 3: not important and urgent;
- Priority no. 4: (abandon): not important and non-urgent.
Step 2: Analyze project feasibility
Once you have finished prioritizing your projects, some of them with a high number of variables will require more rigorous analysis to determine in greater depth the difference between what the 4.0 diagnosis predicts and the actual situation.
The feasibility analysis therefore confirms whether or not the optimistic view of the digital plan is valid in your situation. It is, to some extent, the ultimate test before making a definitive commitment to the project.
Concretely, you will conduct:
- A market study (as needed);
- A financial analysis to assess:
- costs (initial and recurring);
- profitability (cost-benefit, payback period, net discounted value);
- A financing analysis;
- A risk management analysis (technical, organizational and financial).
Step 3: Establish project charter
Now that you know your priority projects and are aware that the gap between the 4.0 diagnosis your situation is narrowed, it is essential to finally define the project.
- Draft a preliminary statement of the purpose of the project.
- Confirm and specify its objectives.
- Determine the project’s main actors.
- Define the project’s authority (its champion).
This charter serves, among other things, to authorize the project and acts somewhat as a contract between the project champion, the various stakeholders and the project team. Of course, you must obtain senior management approval before starting your project.
Step 4: Manage projects
The management steps of technology projects emerging from an industry 4.0 audit are not so different from those of another type of project, i.e. planning, execution, control and finalization.
However, not everyone is comfortable with technologies. This is one of the reasons why projects relating to the digital shift bring their share of challenges.
You will have to adapt your management style, as the projects will be affected by new elements, that companies are not familiar with:
- internet of objects,
- additive manufacturing,
- system integration,
- autonomous systems,
- augmented reality,
- massive data,
- cloud computing.
Project managers don’t have to be experts in all of these fields, but they must act as digital transformation leaders and coaches.
That said, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Support by experts in digital and organizational transformation can make all the difference between facing the future with confidence and conviction and remaining immobilized in the status quo.
Key factors for success:
Get your employees involved in your digital transformation from the very beginning of the project
An employee who is engaged and committed to the success of your growth projects will become a positive leader and excellent ambassador for your employer brand.
Put employee health and safety first
New technologies and robots will require special attention and handling. Standards, employee interaction, workspace reconfiguration and risk management are matters to consider in your transformation.
Not everyone has the same digital maturity, and a technology project involves resources and expertise. Start on the right track with the support of business advisors.
Establish measurable objectives
Without a goal, it will be difficult for you to measure the impact of any change. Assess your results regularly, that way you can consider improvement measures quickly instead of lingering in a doomed situation.
Aim for small victories
What pays off quickly is extremely motivating and instills the desire to surpass oneself and go even further.
Challenge your business model
Ask yourself: Does it contribute to or hamper your progress.
Invest in training
Trained and informed employees will be more productive and more likely to present new ideas and innovate. Training is an important factor when it comes to considering your future in a company.
Don’t overlook the importance of proper communication
Taking the time to explain the reason for the changes will promote a better understanding on the part of all staff and it will be easier to get your resources on board with on this new adventure.
Develop a change culture management plan and listen to your employees
You would be surprised to see how much they can contribute in ideas and suggestions for improvement.
Don’t try to do it alone
Your projects will require a good financial investment and will require much from your resources. Being supported by experts will make the task manageable for all.
In a context of digital transformation, the magnitude of the technological challenges facing organizations is relatively large. For most SMEs, a technology project can be a daunting adventure.
Beyond competitiveness, you will have to take a look at your how you manage your human resources who are essential to the growth of your organization. A technological project can quickly become demanding for your employees in addition to taking them out of their comfort zone. That’s why it’s important to implement ways to retain your resources and keep them mobilized.
Feel free to call on our experts in information technology, business strategies and models, organizational performance and human resources management to assist you in all stages of the implementation of 4.0 projects, such as:
- the realization of an information technology master plan;
- the management of technological projects;
- guidance in selecting computer systems;
- guidance in implementing computer systems;
- business strategies and models;
- organizational performance;
- human resource management.
04 Oct 2019 | Written by :