Over the next decade, digital modernization will be imperative for any company that wants to keep up in an increasingly competitive market. In fact, 89% of all companies have already adopted a digital-first business strategy or plan to do so, according to recent market stats 

But what is digital modernization?  

To digitally modernize is to bring your company to the current state of the art when it comes to your tools and processes. It’s all about embracing concepts that have become well-established, like agile and DevOps. It is about an organization-wide approach to changes in strategy, technology, processes, people, and corporate ideology.  

As a leader, you can always be just a few conversations away from jump-starting your digital modernization efforts. And while it may face inertia — just like any new initiative — here are 5 tips to succeed at the enterprise level:  

  1. Cultural Shift. Embracing the mindset that all companies are IT companies is a critical mindset shift. The minute we think of ourselves as IT companies, the faster we identify the tools, systems and technologies in need of upgrades, modernization and acceleration, as we view them as pathways to compete and differentiate.  Compared to other “to-dos”, they buy back time to use on other initiatives, rather than competing for bandwidth. This immediately puts us in the mindset of how we can get quality products and solutions out the door quickly – and thus delight customers. Much of the power of digital modernization comes from an acute focus on development, software delivery, and superior user experiences.  
  2. Top-Down Sponsorship. Digital modernization initiatives move quickly and effectively when they have top-down leadership sponsorship. Messaging is thus critical here. Digital modernization should be viewed as a business imperative: not an option or an experiment, but an imperative to expanding market share.  
  3. An Understanding of Current State. What is your starting point when it comes to digital maturity? What are your strengths and weaknesses? Where are you incorporating the latest emerging technologies? How are you improving your software delivery lifecycles? And where are you gravely at risk? Many times, we are mature in one area of our technology practices and laggard in others. The quicker you can do an honest gut check as to where you are — and more importantly where you need to head — the quicker you can get to meaningful digital advancement.  
  4. Strategy. People are more comfortable with digital advancement when they can see the bigger picture. What is the long-term plan for your modernization efforts? How does everyone fit into it? How will you measure success and properly gauge where you are today and the impact you desire to have tomorrow? When you understand your “why” behind your modernization efforts, the execution can follow more smoothly.  
  5. Ground-up Participation. Within your plan, include participation from your people to ensure buy-in from the ground up. To begin, ask them to pinpoint the core areas of the practice that are most in need of upgrading/enhancement. Often it’s your doers— the coders, testers, engineers, etc. — who have the best perspective on where to aim your efforts first. The opportunity to learn alongside experts in digital transformation will ensure a smooth handoff.  

Years ago, we worked with a national health insurance company that checks all the boxes. They had executive buy-in, digital modernization was announced as a top initiative for the year, and it became a core activity for people on the team – who in turn became the evangelists for transformation. This enthusiasm and buy-in led to quick wins and ultimately resulted in a decrease in delivery of 120 days to 1 day, among other things.  

The most critical ingredient for any enterprise-wide digital modernization is sponsorship from the top. However, without it, there are still ways that you can get started on a digital transformation project. Look for opportunities to introduce modernization in bite-size pieces to demonstrate value, so that when the company is ready to embrace a full transformational effort, you will have laid a foundation.   

Here are a few ways to get started today: 

  • Dip your toe in agile. It’s the new standard and the new normal, but you need a team willing to embrace it.  
  • Embrace a DevOps mindset. Most tools today are designed with DevOps in mind.  
  • Avoid wasted time through targeted deployment of test automation.  

Related Reading: Test Automation: We’ve Got to Move Faster 

If you’re ready for digital modernization at the enterprise level, or just starting to dip a toe in, we would love to help. Click here (https://sqagroup.com/digital-delivery/) to learn more about our approach.