Simplifying digital transformation. A quick guide.

The pandemic has accelerated the need for digital transformation. And going digital can bring cost savings and new revenue, writes Full Fat Things’ Stewart Robinson.

By Stewart Robinson

Simplifying digital transformation. A quick guide.
Photograph: Rene Böhmer on Unsplash.

For some, the pace of change is overwhelming. Others are put off by memories of working on an arduous all-encompassing “Phoenix project”.

You don’t need to boil the ocean to make progress. Practice iterative improvement without huge budgets to deliver it.

The four steps:

1. Involve the team, take stock

Map out the essential and critical processes, such as payroll and going to print. You could start by following each revenue stream’s life cycle. You don’t need to detail everything, just how data flows.

Hold one-to-one sessions with key stakeholders. Don’t butt heads with change resistors. Listen to their insights. Involve them, and they’ll become advocates.

Identify the journey of each piece of data. Taking an advert lifecycle, map that sale and creative across sales, finance and production.

Don’t rely on single viewpoints for cross department processes. Talk to all involved.

2. Prioritise and measure

Share the data map with your team – it’s OK if it’s just bullet points and it shows the direction of traffic. It’s usual at this stage to uncover additional processes.

Together, identify the missed revenue chances and pain points (they’re usually time consuming or cause friction).

In each process, look at where data has multiple touch points, the potential for errors or bottlenecks, such as a manual data extraction or conversion before the next step. Check how visible the work queue is and where work silos have formed. For example, what fails if somebody is sick. The highest priorities will become clear.

Put in basic measurements to validate priorities and review again later. For instance, find out how long each part of the process takes to see whether it is worth investment. Short, non-critical tasks don’t need fixing.

3. Make the change

The answer isn’t necessarily a brand new system.

There are many factors involved in deciding what to do. It depends on the cause of the issue you’re addressing.

It could be training, adapting existing systems, building an interface that talks to your current systems, or using some software that automates tasks.

Make sure the new digital flow can both hold the data and track it so you always know where items are in the process.

4. Re-measure, review, prioritise

Have the team work through the new process a few times. Then, review and re-measure the process to see the improvement. Often, you’ll notice other successes too – share these results.

There may be further improvements to be made. Beware! Before you jump in, repeat the process from step 2 and take time to reprioritise.

Good Luck!

You don’t need to boil the ocean to make progress. Practice iterative improvement without huge budgets to deliver it.

"...create digital products with real revenue..."

About us

With a combined experience of over 50 years in the publishing industry, we’ve worked with names like Future, The Economist, Which?, Wiley and Wolters Kluwer on both B2B and B2C products. We can help take raw print output and create digital products with real revenue, often with minimal additional production inside the publisher.

Email: stew@fullfatthings.com

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This article was first published in the Publishing Partners Guide, an annual directory distributed with InPublishing magazine. If you would like to be added to the free mailing list, please register here.