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Questions to Ask to Accelerate Your Digital Transformation

Make sure you're prepared to strategize for your digital transformation journey by asking the right questions about your organization beforehand.

The journey to digitally transforming your company is a long one, with plenty of roadblocks and dead ends along the way. However, there's a way to speed up the journey — ask the right questions before you set out.

MIT on digital transformationMIT Researcher Stephanie Woerner offers advice on the right questions to ask in an interview on the Knowledge@Wharton website, "Six Questions That Can Help Guide Digital Transformation." Woerner and co-researcher MIT Peter Weill wrote the book, "What's Your Digital Business Model? Six Questions to Help You Build the Next-Generation Enterprise," based on several years of study at the MIT Center for Information Systems Research.

Overall, Woerner says, when undergoing a digital transformation, companies have to "develop new ways of working, really taking evidence into account when making decisions." In particular, they need to figure out "how to integrate the business. What customers are expecting is a seamless experience, and you really can't deliver that in the long term without using technology to integrate silos so that you're able to share across the business."

With that in mind, she says, the first question a company should ask before undergoing a digital transformation is "How strong is the digital threat or opportunity to your business model? [It's helpful to figure out] where do you have competitors coming in, where are startups [and] what percentage of your revenues are under threat."

Accelerate Digital transformationNext, ask, "which business model is best for your enterprise's future?" The third question is "What's your key competitive advantage — are you going to focus on content, experience or platform?" After that ask, "How are you going to use mobile and the internet of things to connect and learn?" The final question, she says, is "Do you have the leadership at all levels to make the transformation happen?"

Based on all that, she says, you'll have all the information you need to set out on the right path towards digital transformation.

Woerner also offers an especially important piece of advice to companies interested in digital transformation — don't be governed by yesterday's business goals. She was asked, "Businesses are always looking for an advantage over their rivals. How has digital changed that?" Her answer: "Often, they were looking for efficiencies and cutting costs, and now they're thinking as much about creating that relationship with the customer and learning more about their customer. You're thinking about partnerships and changing your business design so that you're not just a value chain but more of an ecosystem. I think that digital makes those easier. It also increases your potential for being seen globally."

Download the whitepaper: How to Speed Your Digital Transformation Successfully.

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About Author

Amy Groden-Morrison
Amy Groden-Morrison

Amy Groden-Morrison has served more than 15 years in marketing communications leadership roles at companies such as TIBCO Software, RSA Security and Ziff-Davis. Most recently she was responsible for developing marketing programs that helped achieve 30%+ annual growth rate for analytics products at a $1Bil, NASDAQ-listed business integration Software Company. Her past accomplishments include establishing the first co-branded technology program with CNN, launching an events company on the NYSE, rebranding a NASDAQ-listed company amid a crisis, and positioning and marketing a Boston-area startup for successful acquisition. Amy currently serves as a Healthbox Accelerator Program Mentor, Marketing Committee Lead for the MIT Enterprise Forum of Cambridge Launch Smart Clinics, and on the organizing team for Boston TechJam. She holds an MBA from Northeastern University.

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The Alpha platform is the only unified mobile and web app development and deployment environment with distinct “no-code” and “low-code” components. Using the Alpha TransForm no-code product, business users and developers can take full advantage of all the capabilities of the smartphone to turn any form into a mobile app in minutes, and power users can add advanced app functionality with Alpha TransForm's built-in programming language. IT developers can use the Alpha Anywhere low-code environment to develop complex web or mobile business apps from scratch, integrate data with existing systems of record and workflows (including data collected via Alpha TransForm), and add additional security or authentication requirements to protect corporate data.