Why does a business need a digital transformation consultant?
There are many reasons why businesses, especially SMBs, need digital transformation consultants. Forrester recently stated that for every $1 spent on RPA (a primary component to digital transformation) $3.41 was spent on services to make it work. This means that the technology only comprised 23% of the total costs. The remaining 77% of the costs were related to services that included strategy development, process assessment and prioritization, solution building, solution maintenance, performance optimization and continuous improvement.
Studies have shown that 94% of business respondents believe digital transformation can provide a competitive advantage. However, studies also reveal that 50% of AI and digital transformation projects fail. Those failures are overwhelming when companies opt to do them in-house. Studies have also revealed that 62% of large enterprises have developed an AI and digital transformation strategy. SMBs are nowhere near this number but are starting to increase their adoption. Another data point worth noting is that currently only 13% of enterprises scale AI beyond a single point solution. The likely cause for this is lack of expert involvement to make the process easier. Clearly, successfully scaling and achieving the best results with digital transformation occurs when there is a sound implementation model. Sound models and smooth implementations are most likely to occur when consultants can help with digital transformation strategy and with the customer journey.
What is the profile of a digital transformation consultant?
Digital transformation companies and digital transformation consultants come in different shapes and sizes. When selecting a firm to engage with, it is best to select the one that is the most well rounded. It is also best to work with a firm that will engage a team to work on any engagement with a varied skill set.
An important digital transformation consultant profile is technology specialists. Technology specialists need to be versed in all elements of digital transformation including RPA, Conversational AI, Cognitive AI, Intelligent Process Automation, and Machine Learning just to name a few. They will also need to have experience with data analytics, cloud platforms, digital security, and mobility solutions.
Another important profile is a domain expert. A business will want to engage with firms and consultants who have experience in their industry or type of business. Having a firm with experience in your specific vertical market is helpful. Some common domain focuses, and ones where we happen to have domain experts, include Banking, Financial Services, Accounting, Telecommunications, Manufacturing, Supply and Logistics, Medical, Legal, Consumer Goods, Education, Energy, and Utilities … just to name a few.
A final profile that is important is the strategy consultant. It is particularly important to not simply engage with a firm that is only capable of executing technology projects. Engaging with a digital transformation consultant that also understands and is versed in business process consulting is paramount. Digital is not always the answer. In today’s economy it is frequently part of the equation, but any digital transformation project should be about the business first and how best to optimize business results.
What else is there to look for in a good digital transformation consultant?
This is one of the most important characteristics to look for in a digital transformation consultant company. In addition to digital transformation project experience, businesses should also look for well-rounded consulting experience in firms they engage with. The most impactful consultants will bring business optimization skill sets along with a deep and varied technology expertise. Selecting a company that has a global view is also important as they can bring best practices from around the world. Selecting a company with experience in your specific domain, and domains related to your business, as mentioned above, is also key.
Getting a good feel for how digital transformation consulting companies will engage with a client is also critical. The best projects involve feedback and input from all stakeholders in an organization. Verifying that this will be part of the process up front is wise. The customer journey on digital transformation projects is important. That journey starts with being involved up front. At Valenta we start to work with clients at the ideation phase of any consulting project. We also include them in planning, optimization, co-creation, and the evaluation stages. For any proof of concept, we involve clients at process walk throughs, process designs, solution designs, and acceptance tests.
It is also critical to work with consultants who will recommend digital transformation solutions from the best vendor for any specific application or company. Finding digital transformation consultants that are vendor agnostic is important. Some companies may pose as consultants but in actuality they have dedicated a lot of time and effort to become specialized in one vendor’s solution. This is the classic example of every business issue being the proverbial nail and a hammer always being the right tool. Every business is different, and every set of circumstances are different. Finding a vendor that is multi-disciplined, and up to speed with multiple vendors, including which vendor’s solutions are most future proof, is a primary objective.
Selecting a digital transformation consultant company with good people skills is also important. Change can be challenging and uncertainty unpleasant. However, change is part of the customer journey. Finding a consultant who instills change management into their process is helpful. Finding digital transformation consulting firms who have also done classical business process optimization consulting typically helps in this area. One practice we like to take at Valenta is to identify a process in a company that is creating the most pain or annoyance for the greatest amount of people in the company and work on that first. By solving a problem or eliminating an issue like this, employees are often wanting more of the same, embrace change, and create a flywheel effect.
It’s probably obvious but businesses, especially SMB, will want to find a digital transformation consultant company that can implement successfully any digital transformation solutions that are recommended. Studying and identifying what is the best solution to a problem or the best way to optimize is only the first part of the process. Implementing and executing a project is equally as important. This is where identifying potential consultants with deep and varied skills will reap rewards.
Training and Adoption
Training and education on how to use new platforms is often overlooked. However quality training and education is critical for successful adoption of digital transformation solutions. Discussing with vendors up front how they will address this important part of any project is a clever idea. Securing longer term access to a dedicated support person, who will also be training as they are supporting staff, could be part of an engagement. Ensuring that all training is well documented and that any onboarding training is recorded for new future employees is also a smart move.
When it comes to digital transformation solutions there is a lot to keep in mind and get right. We are here to help. Valenta is a digital transformation consultant. We can provide digital transformation as a service in a SaaS model making it easy for small and medium sized businesses to get started with digital transformation. We can also provide offshore or near shore virtual staff for digital transformation to companies that want to staff their own Center of Excellence or COE. Valenta can be a permanent COE or an “on call” COE for any business wanting to get started with digital transformation and Consulting services. Please Contact Us to start your Digital Transformation now