Ron Huber

Ron Huber is the CEO and co-founder of Achieve Internet. He's an experienced senior executive with over 15 years managing and leading software teams in the online media, Internet, and software development space.

About the Author

Digital transformation is a process that helps organizations increase efficiency and effectiveness while adapting to the ever-changing digital landscape.

The process of going digital has never been easy, and it's become even more complicated in recent years. Companies need to think about what they are trying to accomplish versus “going digital.”

To stay competitive with startups and other companies that have already started this transformation process early on, companies need to embrace an outside-in approach and API portals as part of their digital transformation strategy.

Is it a daunting process? It can be. But with the right roadmap, it's a much smoother journey.

What Is a Digital Transformation Roadmap?

A digital transformation roadmap is a tailored guide that offers step-by-step instructions on how to achieve your organizational goals using digital technology.

It will likely change over time as the landscape changes and new technologies emerge, but it should provide a general framework for approaching digital transformation.

Before you create your roadmap, you’ll need to ask questions like:

  • How would your partners and clients benefit from this investment?

  • What’s the competition already doing?

  • What does true digital transformation look like when we’re finished?

Remember, true digital transformation involves updating the way your entire company works with technology—not just upgrading its IT department.

This process changes how the whole business operates and adds value for customers in all aspects of their business lives, from production methods to customer service solutions.

The Outside-In Approach

One of the most important aspects of designing an API is focusing on what people will use it for and how they want to interact.

Every company needs to look at digital transformation as a priority because you're being left behind. And even if you’re just getting started, you can quickly catch up with the competition by taking the outside-in approach.

The outside-in approach starts by identifying your target consumers, then getting acquainted with their needs so you can build a great experience around them.

This consumer-oriented approach asks questions like:

  • In what way would the API be useful to the client?

  • Are there any ways I can help the consumer locate the API more easily?

  • How can I make it easy for consumers to build apps using my API?

For example, you spend two to three years migrating your internal systems to the cloud. You'll use trending words like Kubernetes and Microservices, but then what? Gartner suggests taking a look at the market, and talking to your partners, clients, and even competitors.

Are you planning to expand your business through digital offerings or simply trying to save IT overhead by eliminating your data center?

If it's the former, you should start with your API portal. Identify who wants or needs access to your data and determine how your business will grow through partnering with application developers or partners who are begging for real-time access.

As you develop your digital transformation roadmap, using the needs and pain points of your user base as the North Star guiding your strategy is how some of the world’s largest organizations disrupt their markets and stay ahead of the competition.

Now that you know the essentials, let's move from theory to practice.

How to Create a Digital Transformation Roadmap

While there are many factors to consider when creating a digital transformation roadmap, we recommend considering these key elements.

1. Assess the Current State

To successfully navigate the ever-changing digital landscape, a business must be willing and able to adapt to new technologies and trends. As such, a critical part of any organization's digital transformation roadmap should be an assessment of its current state.

This involves evaluating both existing systems and infrastructure as well as the broader business goals and operational needs of the organization.

Approaches vary according to an organization's industry, size, and complexity, but all of them tend to involve evaluating key performance indicators like ROI or employee satisfaction. These findings help to inform future priorities and processes as the business works to become more agile and responsive in its digital transformation efforts.

These frameworks will help you identify what needs to be done for your organization to achieve its digital transformation goals.

  • SWOT: A strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) analysis is an exercise that lets you identify both internal and external factors that may impact your digital transformation efforts.

  • PESTEL: A political, economic, social, technological, environmental, and legal (PESTEL) analysis aids with your understanding of the macro-environmental factors that impact your business as you seek to digitize.

  • BGC Matrix: The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) matrix is a tool commonly used by businesses to assess their portfolio of products or services. When applied to digital transformation efforts, it helps prioritize initiatives based on their potential impact.