The Ultimate Guide to Digital Transformation Consulting in 2024
Digital transformation (DX) is a major challenge and opportunity for businesses. Even though executives are willing to apply digital transformation to the organization, in-house teams may not have the experience or time to achieve this objective. Digital Transformation Consultants can help the organization overcome the challenge by establishing a digital strategy and implementing digital technology across the enterprise.
We’ve written before about digital transformation, feel free to read that as an intro to the topic.
What is Digital Transformation Consulting?
Digital Transformation Consultancy is a service that helps companies formulate their digital transformation strategy and implement it to enhance their performance through digital technologies. Digital Transformation Consultants (DTC) analyze the company’s tech infrastructure, processes, people, and organization to both strengthen the organization’s short-term performance and maintain sustainable long-term improvement.
DTCs generally provide services in these broad areas:
- Formulating a digital transformation strategy and roadmap including both short term, high ROI initiatives (i.e. low-hanging fruits) and long term initiatives
- Implementing digital technologies to diminish the manual workload of organizations to
- reduce costs
- Increasing process effectiveness (e.g. reduced error rates)
- increase employee satisfaction by reducing dull work
- enabling faster responses to clients.
- Building digital products to allow the company to expand into new businesses or new channels
- Outlining necessary changes to people and processes to enable and sustain the digital transformation
Why is Digital Transformation Consulting important now?
The world is shifting through digitization and technology and competition is getting more fierce. However, most organizations are lacking either awareness, expertise, or the manpower to complete their digital transformation. Therefore 70% of digital transformations fail, most often due to resistance from employees.
Digital transformation consulting services provide knowledge and experience to businesses so that they ensure that the digital technologies and strategies of the company are connected and the risk of failure is minimized.
How do consultants add value to digital transformation projects?
Consultants add value via their additional manpower, global expertise from working with hundreds of companies on similar topics, and outsider perspective. This is also the case in digital transformation.
It is expensive and difficult to attract digital experts to your company. Consulting companies have been improving their digital workforce via acquisitions. Expertise is a valuable asset in most digital transformation projects. Consultants should have seen processes being automated with various technologies through their work in many client engagements.
For example, consultants should be able to point you to the most effective automation solution for your accounts payable automation. Since accounts payable (AP) is a common process for companies of all industries, consultants can have experience from implementing AP automation to tens of organizations and you could learn from their experience. Another broadly applicable area is process mining and task mining. These help organizations understand their processes in a detailed manner using log files and screen capture. Therefore organizations can identify bottlenecks and improve their business processes.
Outsiders’ perspective is crucial in organization-related projects. And since the organization is a key part of the digital transformation, consultants can add value with their outsider’s perspective.
Finally, companies tend to be afraid of consultants sharing their strategy and secrets with competitors as consultants share their experiences within their consulting organization. While this is a concern for strategic projects, it should not be a concern with digital transformation projects. All companies are doing their best to digitize and automate their processes, therefore, in most cases, there are not many company-specific secrets involved in these projects.
How to choose a Digital Transformation implementation partner?
The success of the project will be mostly dependent on choosing the right digital transformation consultant. Here are a few critical criteria for evaluating digital transformation implementation partners. We sorted them from higher to lower priority:
- Since consultants add value with their expertise, it is important to make sure that they have the relevant expertise for your project. For example, a digital transformation company that focuses on back-office automation may not be a good fit for your company if your priority is to boost digital sales. Companies need to analyze consultants’ previous projects to see that they have the right
- Technical expertise
- Process-specific expertise
- Industry-specific expertise.
- Though the expertise of the consulting company is important, individual consultants are the ones that get the job done. Companies should review CVs of individual consultants to ensure that these individuals have the necessary expertise.
- Finally, the best consultants are the ones that can objectively assess the technologies that will be implemented. Companies need to understand that consultants that work as part of a tech vendor will be biased towards that vendor’s solutions
What are example case studies from digital transformation consulting companies?
Chipotle is an American restaurant chain that serves Mexican food. A slowdown in demand made the company realize that they don’t have a one-to-one relationship with customers and this was preventing them to deliver personalized customer journeys1.
Chipotle needed a way to create deeper relationships with customers. They partnered with a digital transformation consulting company to bring a new approach to the food restaurant chain. Using the consulting company’s Business-Expertise-Technology (BXT) framework2, the consulting company provided a customized change management playbook and training execution programs to employees and launched a customer loyalty program. Consultants defined the design and tech requirements, integrated the solutions with the emphasis of securely managing customers’ private data.
- 99% increase in digital sales (Q2 2019 YOY)
- 1 Million enrollments in Chipotle Rewards within the first week
Financial service provider
A financial service provider decided to accelerate its performance in several key areas. They intended to use advanced technology to meet the needs of the evolving investment market, however, their outdated tech infrastructure did not integrate well with internal or external applications. Along with their old infrastructure, manual processes also prevented them from being agile.3
They partnered with a DX consultant which led the project from design to implementation and provided ongoing technical expertise. The consultant designed a scalable infrastructure that could handle multiple app integrations, boost its agility, and enable the firm to offer new microservices in response to market demands. They also implemented a cloud native platform for deploying next-generation apps and migrated data to the cloud with zero downtime for the investment firm and its 12 million brokerage clients. This platform was provided as a managed service, meeting the financial services company’s objective to focus on developing new products and services rather than managing its infrastructure.
With its new infrastructure and digital technologies, the financial institution reduced the time-to-market significantly and became capable of deploying a new application in 3 to 4 months.
For more case studies on digital transformation, feel free to read our article with >30 case studies.
What are digital transformation strategy companies?
The digital transformation consulting landscape is crowded and vendors offer different value propositions. We’ve examined the digital transformation consulting landscape in another article and highlighted consulting companies for different industries. If you are looking for a DX consulting company, you can also check our data-driven, sortable vendor list.
For more on digital transformation, check our other articles on the topic:
- Digital transformation statistics
- Digital transformation frameworks
- Digital transformation and customer experience
- HR Digital Transformation
If you are interested in AI transformation, which is the next step of digital transformation, feel free to check our article about it.
If you have questions about how digital transformation consultants can help your business, we can help:
Cem has been the principal analyst at AIMultiple since 2017. AIMultiple informs hundreds of thousands of businesses (as per similarWeb) including 60% of Fortune 500 every month.
Cem's work has been cited by leading global publications including Business Insider, Forbes, Washington Post, global firms like Deloitte, HPE, NGOs like World Economic Forum and supranational organizations like European Commission. You can see more reputable companies and media that referenced AIMultiple.
Throughout his career, Cem served as a tech consultant, tech buyer and tech entrepreneur. He advised businesses on their enterprise software, automation, cloud, AI / ML and other technology related decisions at McKinsey & Company and Altman Solon for more than a decade. He also published a McKinsey report on digitalization.
He led technology strategy and procurement of a telco while reporting to the CEO. He has also led commercial growth of deep tech company Hypatos that reached a 7 digit annual recurring revenue and a 9 digit valuation from 0 within 2 years. Cem's work in Hypatos was covered by leading technology publications like TechCrunch and Business Insider.
Cem regularly speaks at international technology conferences. He graduated from Bogazici University as a computer engineer and holds an MBA from Columbia Business School.
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