Digital Transformation Framework: Launch, Build, and Scale

In order to ride the wind and waves in the digital wave and forge ahead, enterprises need a “hard work” that can quickly transform. A recent McKinsey survey found that 65% of businesses are increasing their digital and technology investments to keep pace with changing market conditions. In fact, the process of integrating these technological measures is digital transformation. To ensure success, companies need to develop their own digital strategy framework. This article will introduce the three stages of digital transformation: launch, build and scale, and hope to inspire you.

By Roald Kruit, Co-Founder of Mendix

In order to ride the wind and waves in the digital wave and forge ahead, enterprises need a “hard work” that can quickly transform. A recent McKinsey survey found that 65% of businesses are increasing their digital and technology investments to keep pace with changing market conditions. In fact, the process of integrating these technological measures is digital transformation. To ensure success, companies need to develop their own digital strategy framework. This article will introduce the three stages of digital transformation: launch, build and scale, and hope to inspire you.

What is the Digital Transformation Framework?

If digital transformation is the process of integrating digital technologies that help businesses succeed, then the digital transformation framework is the roadmap to success. eWeek defines a digital transformation framework as “a step-by-step plan for the successful implementation of a digital transformation strategy”. The framework is divided into three phases: launch, build, and extend.

Phase 1: Launch

During the startup phase, companies can start small and gain broader support for digital execution initiatives by proving the value of new approaches. At this stage, it is necessary to ensure that the first initiatives can be successfully implemented and have a PR effect internally. The first project needs to have a “wow” factor that generates business value, so that it can be a “catalyst” for other projects and generate support and attention across the company. As Plautus puts it: “One eyewitness is better than ten rumors. The whole world believes in seeing is believing.” Therefore, it is important to choose the right first projects. In addition, companies need to meet some necessary prerequisites, including:

• infrastructure
• Business case
• The right partner and team

Stage 2: Build

When entering the build phase, companies should begin to focus on building teams and developing strategies to accelerate the implementation of digital transformation initiatives. The main goals of this phase are to form a dedicated team, identify training needs and develop a procurement strategy. Another important goal was to distill the successful practices of the first projects and use them as reference templates for future projects.

As the number of applications increases, other topics will also become important, such as: rapid continuous delivery through DevOps, governance and architecture focused on ensuring application maintainability and compliance, and more.

Phase 3: Expansion

The main work of the expansion phase is to transform the enterprise into a true digital enterprise through greater automation to achieve the efficiency required to deliver and manage hundreds of applications. These jobs include:

• Support a large product portfolio by automating deployment and maintenance
• Join the quality inspection process to actively monitor the maintainability of the project
• Improve reusability by creating a dedicated app store

With these capabilities, businesses can build distributed innovation capabilities within the organization, enabling multiple teams to develop collaboratively, ultimately maximizing value and productivity.

Digital Transformation Examples

The Dutch semiconductor equipment manufacturing company ASML makes good use of the concept of expansion. The company, which has revenue of £11.9bn, aims to double that revenue by 2025. ASML realized during the time-consuming process of building a custom app that it had to accelerate development if it wanted to achieve its revenue goals. To scale quickly, they not only needed to recruit staff, but also had to find a way to optimize their processes to increase the productivity of their teams.

ASML achieves large-scale development of applications by using Siemens’ low-code App Factory framework, thereby gaining business opportunities. Not only is the framework a successful digital transformation tool, but it also provides a detailed reference of the steps ASML needs to take. Roy Coenders, ASML Shared Services Manager, said: “In working with Siemens Low Code, we have learned to prioritize tasks at the right level.”

In the end, the ASML team quickly developed five applications, one of which took only two and a half weeks to develop.

The challenges of digital transformation

When developing a digital transformation framework, if you rush to scale and immediately invest in scaling, companies are likely to fail for two reasons:

• “One bite can’t make a big fat man”: Organizations simply cannot manage such a large-scale change at one time, and making drastic innovations when the management ability cannot afford it will make the enterprise stagnate.

• Unproven innovations are highly disruptive: Businesses cannot innovate at scale based on assumptions, but rather on best practices.

It is for these reasons that we created our digital transformation roadmap. Based on Siemens Low Code’s experience working with hundreds of customers, this digital transformation framework will help companies do the right things at the right time, guiding them through the three key transformation stages of launching, building and scaling.

The key to digital transformation is timing: neither do everything at once, nor spend too much time on something. For example, if an enterprise development team forgets to address governance issues during the build phase, it can create chaos later, incurring high restructuring costs and hindering further development. Siemens Low Code has guided hundreds of customers on their digital transformation journey through low-code application development, and experience-based best practices can help companies focus on the right things at the right time.

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