Strategies for a successful digital transformation — building your business case and value framework

When you’re going through a digital transformation, or when your company decides to add Adobe tech to your IT landscape, the goal is to achieve business objectives. There are huge benefits to such an undertaking, but it takes a lot of investment too. To get the maximum value from this investment, you have a few different strategies in front of you. Let’s use a metaphor to understand a couple of them.

Imagine you’re planning a road trip from Paris to various destinations in Europe. The objectives and key results (OKRs) encompass your primary aim of enjoying a fantastic trip, while the key results focus on the specific outcomes that contribute to this remarkable experience, such as returning rejuvenated and sporting a beautiful tan. The metrics you use to measure whether you have reached your goal are your key performance indicators (KPIs), which in this case could be the number of cities you have visited with more than 80% of sunny days. The digital transformation program would be the roadmap to reach the cities in time, ensuring that you make progress toward your ultimate goal of reaching all destinations.

Focusing on the business case — designing the perfect bus for your digital transformation journey

In a digital transformation project, one of the strategies is to focus on the business case. This can be seen as a defined set of iconic use cases that will be implemented at some point in time, delivering an important part of the expected benefits, like fixing a situation or taking an opportunity.

With our metaphor, you could imagine that a business case (i.e., a big project) is a bus designed for your needs, reaching all the cities you stop at in a specific order, until you celebrate when you reach the destination. Everyone is in the same bus with a maximum probability of reaching the destination in time.

This approach comes with a key point to focus on. To define the actual path to reach the stopping cities and destination, you need to have some experience and know the road — but your company might never have walked this path yet. You would usually need a partner who has already seen the cities or organized a few trips like the one you want to achieve.

That is what Adobe Professional Services brings to the table, starting with Adobe digital strategists. They help validate your aspirations. Conversely, they also confirm if a close city would be even better, outline the roads to take, and suggest the type of bus to build. And then Adobe enterprise architects make this concrete by designing a customized bus for the trip, with the ideal engine, seating capacity, and accessibility features. By using the combined expertise of digital strategists and enterprise architects, Adobe Professional Services offers comprehensive support for your business needs.

And then it’s all about building it as a team, so you can enjoy the trip and reach your destination safely.

Revving up your digital transformation — navigating multiple destinations with Adobe Professional Services' customer experience value framework

When it comes to reaching multiple cities, there are three destinations that you should prioritize — enhancing your image, increasing your revenue, and strengthening your organization. Of course, you have an important number of cities in mind where you’d like to stop. Let’s say you’re working on a big project like building a marketing platform, which is the bus. However, the bus is not always the most efficient means of transportation. For some things, such as when an important product launch is imminent, you have to be fast and need a small, fast car. And in other situations, you need some leeway to try out what a special-purpose car would be best suited for.

To make this happen, you need a strong organization to list the destinations, plan who leaves when and who should arrive when, fuel everything, help whenever something happens, and follow who reached the destination. At Adobe Professional Services, we’ve developed an approach helping visualize and organize all of that — the customer experience value framework. It serves as a map that guides you to the destinations (OKRs), to the number of cities with more than 80% of sunny days (KPIs), and through the bus (the project) and its distinctive characteristics (tactics). Ultimately, the customer experience value framework plays a pivotal role in navigating the path toward success.

A hybrid approach to digital transformation — building a fleet of solutions with Adobe Professional Services

Taking the best approach obviously depends on your goals. At Adobe Professional Services, we tend to recommend a hybrid approach. This involves dedicating attention and resources to a main project, symbolized by a bus, while using the agility and experimentation of smaller, fast side projects, represented by a bus and special-purpose cars. This combination is a no-brainer. If a subproject is slower than expected, or if the path was not optimum for some reason, the other will still reach a lot of destinations, and as a company you’ll still move toward global success. This challenge of resource allocation ensures a balance between stability and innovation, propelling your company toward both short-term wins and long-term success on a global scale.

In other words, with the hybrid approach, the value realization framework would give you a list of potential use cases to implement quickly, covering several goals, and the most complex would benefit from a specific dedication from your organization.

That’s what we’re currently achieving with one of our customers that’s moved to Adobe Experience Platform. We didn’t wait to have all the sources integrated into Experience Platform before starting to generate value with use cases dedicated to Adobe Journey Optimizer and Adobe Target. Then with each integration, we open a full set of possibilities until we have the train ready.

Measuring success and return on investment

It’s now time to know if you succeeded with your project. This shouldn’t be too difficult if you’ve defined your main destinations and cities you stopped in well — you will know if you reach them. Just check on the map where you are — are your key performance indicators (KPIs) aligned with your OKRs?

When it comes to return on investment (ROI) on projects involving multiple technologies, there’s a frequent pain point. Implementing intelligent segmentation with look-alike modeling, timed sending, and other business or technical elements require collaboration with various providers for different components. Just like building a fleet of vehicles, each customized for a specific trip and destination, it becomes challenging to attribute the success of reaching the destination solely to a single factor. It’s difficult to say how much the tires contributed to reaching the destination versus the engine since you needed both to succeed. What is important is the global ROI for your project. Be confident that the work done when selecting the vendors during requests for proposals (RFPs) has been done properly — and stay focused on global delivery.

If you really need to show numbers to your investors for each line of investment, I believe a pragmatic approach is to stay at the global project ROI and to define in advance the generic contribution from each vendor (at the trip level). As an example, for the main Barcelona to Paris trip with the red sports car, the engine will contribute 40% of the results, 10% from the car body, 10% from the tires, and the remaining 10% to be divided through other parts. Though this might not be perfect, it sure helps in giving insights — and most importantly, it wouldn’t be too time-consuming.

If you wanted to get the perfect numbers, you would have to figure them out for each different trip and destination. But that would be cumbersome if the exercise were ever possible in your context.

Build your digital transformation strategy today

A strong business case will help you build a focused team to reach some of your most important goals. But the value delivered will usually be around the same area, with the same type of use cases.

A comprehensive value framework will help you reach many goals, generating value fast with clever use cases and low-hanging fruits. This needs a fine-grained follow-up to deliver on all the streams, and you must pay special attention to the global picture.

Measuring success in a complex ecosystem needs to define your OKRs from day one. ROI can be straightforward if you decide to focus on the global project, or more complex if you want to drill down to your lines of investment in your complex multi-vendor ecosystems.

Adobe Professional Services has built a strong expertise in all these areas and can be your trip advisor, no matter what journey you want to organize. Learn more about how Adobe Professional Services can help.

Luciano has more than 20 years of experience in IT, architecting and leading digital strategies, both as a client and as a consultant. He excels at building solutions to meet business objectives while advocating best practices. Luciano’s role as trusted advisor allows his customers to get the highest value of their Adobe investment.