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7 Big Digital Transformation Questions: Answered

Friday 3 July 2020 Digital Transformation


Mike Wilkinson's picture
By Mike Wilkinson

Embarking on a major digital transformation project is an exciting time for any business. Whatever new technologies you want to embrace – be it cloud, automation, virtualisation or AI & machine learning – your next steps are going to have a profound impact on your processes and operations for years to come.

With that in mind, it’s important to ask the right questions now and make sure your first steps are the right ones. To help you get started, we’ve pulled together seven of the most common questions business leaders ask when planning digital transformation projects and provided tips to help you along the way.

Question 1: Am I transforming for the right reasons?

This is a fundamental question that only you will be able to answer for yourself. We’ve all been in the situation where we’ve seen an exciting new technology and leapt to embrace it before really considering whether it’s the right move.

If you want to check that you’re making the right choices for your business and changing for the right reasons, engage stakeholders from across the business, plan properly, and talk to everyone to ensure your plans are a response to genuine needs.


Question 2: Should I worry about walking away from my sunk costs?

You’ve invested a lot of money into the hardware and software you rely on today. But that doesn’t mean you should continue to invest in it if it’s not delivering what you need it to.

Be ruthless if the benefits of walking away from your existing solution outweigh the status quo. Then walk away as soon as possible to avoid sinking further costs into your current technology.

Question 3: Which vendor is right for me?

The reality with most solutions is that there is always some kind of either vendor or technology lock-in which may increase costs later down the line – but that’s not always a terrible thing.

Take steps to conduct an unbiased review of potential vendors and ensure you understand how you will be locked in, as well as the possible future costs you could incur for time, effort and ongoing support.


Question 4: Should I go off the shelf or open source?

It’s one of the most important questions you’ll have to answer along your digital transformation journey; should you buy a proven off-the-shelf solution, or build your own to get exactly what you need?

Most off the shelf solutions will do 90% of what you want. You need to decide whether that extra 10% is business critical from a capability perspective

With off the shelf, you get greater ease of deployment without the need for heavyweight development skills. With open source, you gain the flexibility to build whatever you need and respond to your exact business demands.

Most off the shelf solutions will do 90% of what you want. You need to decide whether that extra 10% is business critical from a capability perspective. Then, you must be really sure that you can get your own skills and resources together to develop and support that 10%.

Question 5: How much is digital transformation really going to cost?

The answer to this question will vary greatly depending on the solutions you choose to embrace. But you can take a lot of the guesswork out of cost estimation by looking out for potential hidden costs as you select and deploy your chosen solutions.

Often, you’ll buy a product then you’ll have to pay extra for licenses and ongoing support. As you evaluate your technology choices, establish what these costs are likely to be upfront and ensure you have the budget to fully cover the real cost of your chosen transformative tech.


Question 6: Can I replicate the success of digital giants by following what they’ve done?

When embarking on a major digital transformation project, it’s easy for businesses to start trying to replicate the successes of global digital giants like Facebook, Google or Amazon. At this stage, it’s important to keep your feet on the ground and recognise that you are not any of these businesses. What worked for them likely isn’t right for your business.

Look to see if there are best practices you can take away from large organisations that you look up to. But be realistic in regard to your organisation, its size, and your business needs. There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to digital transformation. Just because one company has achieved success in one way doesn’t necessarily mean it will work for you.

Question 7: How much training will my people need to get up to speed?

Once a deployment has been made, a lot of project managers think 'job done'. In reality, the deployment is just the beginning of your digital transformation.

Your people need to be trained in how to get the most from new deployments quickly. Ideally, training should be conducted in full while the solution is fresh, interest in it is at its peak, and the consultants deploying the solution are still on-site.

The longer you wait, the greater the risk that people will either use your chosen solution in a way that isn’t aligned to the original KPIs of your transformation project, or maybe not even embrace it at all!

Need help? Talk to the digital transformation experts

Ultimately, your digital transformation won’t look exactly like anybody else’s. You need to make the right choices and find the right answers for your business. That can be a challenging process, but with the help of expert consultants and deployment teams, the whole process can be simplified – freeing you to focus on establishing exactly what your people, your customers and your business needs.

To find out how CACI can help you take the complexity out of digital transformation, talk to us by calling +44 (0)20 7602 6000 or visiting our Network Services page today.


The seven most common questions people ask when planning a digital transformation project.

7 Big Digital Transformation Questions: Answered