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A Digital Transformation Framework

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There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to adopting digital transformation. The road to embracing it can be long, winding, and filled with potholes and other hazards along the way. That’s why we often refer to digital transformation as a journey. This Digital Transformation Framework will serve as a map to help you navigate this road, taking in the steps and processes you need to consider and identifying some of the leading technology solution vendors that create digital workspace solutions along with other valuable resources.

Not every organisation will be at the same stage of their journey. Some may be just starting out, while others are nearing the end. You can join the journey at whichever stage your organisation is at.

One thing you need to be aware of is that the journey can be and should be continuous. We’re not saying it will never end exactly, but it should be viewed as a lifecycle. Even if you have completed, successfully implemented, and onboarded a solution, time will have moved on, and inevitably, so will technology and your business.

This means that you may need to review the needs of the business as market trends and customer demand may have changed. Or perhaps new technology is now available that wasn’t previously or was deemed not mature enough to adopt at the time. Whichever the case in question, you should continue reviewing, refining, and adapting as technology and business progress. If you stand still, then you run the risk of falling behind your competition.

In this framework, we have identified six steps to successfully navigate the transformation journey from beginning to end. These steps are depicted in the following graphic:

Figure 1: Framework steps and processes

As previously discussed, you can start this journey from the beginning or jump in along the way, depending on where you’re in your own organisation’s personal journey.

What is digital transformation?

Before we start talking about how to enable digital transformation, let us take a minute to put this into context and explain more about what we mean by digital transformation.

At a high level, digital transformation can be described as…

“Adopting a digital-first mindset, taking advantage of digital-based technologies designed to create and deliver new business processes, to modify existing business processes, all with the end goal of delivering the best possible customer experience, drive employee innovation all designed to meet the ever-moving challenges of enabling an organisation to be agile and flexible to meet market demands and requirements and staying ahead of the competition.”

As you can see from the definition above, digital transformation is very much a change in mindset, moving from the old-school way of doing things to a digital-first mentality with a business-led approach to delivering technology that focuses on improving how an organisation works.

It isn’t just about deploying technology for the sake of technology because the IT teams are in the driving seat and want the latest and greatest technology.

Digital transformation is an opportunity for organisations to reimagine how they do business empowered by the latest technology solutions.

Even though we’re ultimately talking about technology solutions and how to deploy them, and we will discuss technology later in this framework,  it is important to first understand why digital transformation forms a key part of any organisation and how that organisation should approach it.

We defined, at a high level, what digital transformation is in a generic sense, but in reality, it can apply to many different types of transformation. For example, it could be moving physical on-premises infrastructure to a cloud service provider, consuming subscription-based Software as a Service such as an HR system, adopting remote working policies, automating customer support services, or using AI-driven platforms to improve customer efficiency.

This particular framework will focus on remote working and how to deliver end user services, desktops, and applications to employees and external partners – The Digital Workspace or Digital Workplace. However, the processes we will discuss will be relevant to any digital transformation project. You just need to swap out some of the actual technology solutions for those relevant to you.

Six steps for successful digital transformation

Each of the six steps introduced earlier will be discussed in more detail as separate articles, but for now, we will summarise these to provide a high-level overview to help understand where your journey begins.

1. Business case

The first port of call for a digital transformation project or initiative, or for any project in reality, is to build a business case.

A business case is a sales pitch to the business and the key stakeholders or board members. Its purpose is to provide the information, to answer the “what?”, “why?” and “how?” questions required to decide whether or not the project gets the green light and investment in time and money. Ultimately, it needs to prove its value to the organisation.

This section will help guide you through building a business case and also understanding what a successful outcome would look like.

View this step

2. Assess and analyse

To be honest, the assessment and analysis phase could come before the business case in order to identify what is required. It will then be used to build a picture of what you have in place today and then again at every step along the way to ensure you’re refining as you go.

This section will detail the different nuances of assessing and analysing, from the initial business case to conducting a full-blown assessment of your current environment and the tools that can be used to enable this.

A critical part of this phase is the human element and employee and customer interaction.

View this step

3. Solution options

When your business case has been signed off, and you have a comprehensive picture of your current environment, you can now evaluate the available technology solutions to ensure you match the right solutions to your use cases to achieve a successful outcome.

This section will discuss the digital workspace solutions and the vendors in this space, guiding you through why you would choose one technology solution over another to decide which technology will address your requirements, ready to move on to proving the technology delivers against the requirements.

View this step

4. Proving the solution

Armed with the business case, assessment data, and your choice of technology, now is the time to put that solution to the test, measured against specific and scoped success criteria.

This section will guide you through proof of concepts and pilots and how to approach each phase of proving the technology isn’t only fit for purpose but also delivers the desired outcome.

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5. Deployment

You have now proved the technology is fit for purpose and delivers against your success criteria and the business and use cases.

The next step is to take the lessons learned in the previous phases, particularly from the feedback gathered during the assessment and proving stages and put together an implementation plan from high-level design through to how to manage the onboarding process.

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6. Management

Although this is the final phase of the process, in reality, it isn’t. It is just another important piece of your solution’s overall lifecycle and evolution.

With management, we will explore the day-to-day management options, from troubleshooting to fine-tuning and improving the end user experience. We will proactively take this information and feed it back into the business case and assessment/analysis phases discussed at the start of this framework to help continually identify requirements and evolve the solution with the demand of the business and as technology moves forward.

View this step

Download the Digital Transformation Framework resources!

eBook comprising all sections of this framework

PowerPoint template for your business case

Workspace solution options summarised in a simple infographic

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About the Author(S)

Peter von Oven

Peter von Oven is an experienced technical consultant working closely with customers, partners, and vendors in designing technology solutions, to meet business needs and deliver outcomes. During his career, Peter has presented at key IT events such as VMworld, IP EXPO, and various VMUGs and CCUG events across the UK. He has also worked in senior presales roles and presales management roles for Fujitsu, HP, Citrix, and VMware, and has been awarded VMware vExpert for the last nine years in a row and vExpert EUC for the last three consecutive years. In 2021, Peter added the vExpert Desktop Hypervisor award to his portfolio of awards. In 2016, Peter founded his own company specializing in application delivery. He is also an avid author, having now written 18 books and made videos about VMware end-user computing solutions.

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