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Don’t Let Your Digital Transformation Fail: How to Create Strategies That Work Pt. 1

By Shonte Eldridge, Executive Government Advisor, Amazon Web Services (AWS)

Due to the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, state and local government leaders were forced to quickly streamline operations and increase the number of digital services they provided. These technology upgrades not only reduced the time constituents spent searching for information, but in several instances created a better customer experience, a Gartner 2020 survey also found.

However, most of the technology implemented during the pandemic was out of necessity and not part of a holistic strategy. So how can government leaders stop the emergency, siloed-delivery approach and create digital transformation strategies that are resilient, cost-effective and produce comprehensive results? The process is not as difficult as you think.

Before outlining the steps to develop a successful strategy (check out part 2), three common digital transformation questions need to be answered.

First, why is a digital transformation strategy needed? To answer this question let’s turn to the longstanding and often-cited McKinsey study, which states that 70% of digital transformation efforts fail or do not reach their stated goals. The list of reasons for the failures is long. But lack of management support, poor enterprisewide collaboration and low employee engagement are at the top; all items a comprehensive strategy could address.

Second, what does a successful digital transformation look like? Unfortunately, many leaders incorrectly assume that a digital transformation is just about deploying new technology. Therefore, they do not plan for long-term business and financial demands, and they ignore the importance culture plays in an organization’s ability to adopt new processes and approaches. Creating strategies that solely focus on technology, and ignore the people and process aspects of a transformation, can put your strategy at risk of being well written but never fully implemented.

Third, how much time should a digital transformation strategy cover? One year? Four years? An eternity? The answer is all of the above. Developing a strategy that meets immediate goals is important. However, to truly transform, organizations should consider including now, next and future milestones.

Creating a well-thought-out digital transformation strategy, one that takes all the above into consideration, not only reduces wasted time and resources but ensures the deployed technology is sustained for years to come.

Part 2 will outline five steps to create a successful digital transformation strategy.

Shonte Eldridge serves as an Executive Government Advisor with Amazon Web Services (AWS). In this role, she helps government leaders cut through the noise and transform their organizations into best-in-class, modern operations. Before joining AWS, Shonte worked in the public sector for over two decades and held several senior positions including the Deputy Chief of Operations for the City of Baltimore. She is known for helping government leaders use technology to solve complex operational challenges, and in 2020 was recognized as one of the year’s 25 women to watch by the Baltimore Sun Newspaper.

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