<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=443149619225659&ev=PageView&noscript=1"> Digital Roadmapping: What is it and why is it important?

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Digital Roadmapping: What is it and why is it important?

Digital Roadmapping: What is it and why is it important?

Building a Digital Roadmap

From mobile devices and cloud computing to the Internet of Things and big data, technological trends are arising, evolving and affecting our lives at an ever-greater pace.

In response to these rapid and groundbreaking changes—and those changes that are yet to come—more and more companies are taking on a digital transformation, understanding how to leverage the advantages of digital technologies for their organization. IT consulting firm CapGemini has found that "digitally mature" businesses see 9 percent more revenue and 26 percent more profitability than their less tech-savvy competitors.

Although nearly every business recognizes the radical potential of digital technology, few of them have invested much thought into carrying out these transformations. According to a 2016 study by cloud infrastructure company VMware, only 29 percent of companies have a multi-year roadmap to direct their digital transformations.

If you are in the other 71 percent of organizations who have not yet defined your digital roadmap, not to worry. Here's a quick primer on how you can get started on your digital journey.

What is a Digital Roadmap?

A digital roadmap is a strategic document for how your business will operate and develop digitally in the future. Because it uses elements of an organization's vision, goals, outlook, and strategy, a digital roadmap needs to be individual to each business.

What Should You Include in a Digital Roadmap?

A journey cannot begin without knowing where you are and where you need to go. To begin with, your company's digital roadmap should include an honest, comprehensive assessment of your current technological situation and your objectives for undergoing a digital transformation.

These objectives must be backed up by metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) that you can use to measure your progress. For example, you may have the goal of completing a certain percentage of sales through your e-commerce store or improving your customers' ratings of your tech support system.

Finally, these objectives must be broken down into concrete steps, initiatives and checkpoints arranged on a timeline so that you can evaluate your progress at any given point. Of course, since it is hard to predict the state of technology even a year in advance, your plans should be nimble and flexible to accommodate any shifting priorities or missed deadlines.

How Can a Digital Roadmap Benefit Your Business?

Like its paper namesake, a digital roadmap should guide you as you navigate your journey to digital transformation. By making your intentions and strategy crystal-clear, digital roadmaps make it more likely that you will ultimately succeed in your efforts. According to a study by Dominican University, people who write down their goals at regular intervals are 42 percent more likely to achieve them.

If you decided to go on a cross-country road trip, you would be wise to plan well ahead so that you are less likely to get lost, be late, or run out of gas. Similarly, a digital roadmap written in advance helps reduce risk and puts everyone on the same page in regards to your long-term digital plans and processes.

How Can You Enact a Digital Roadmap?

For your digital roadmap to lead in the right direction, you need to secure buy-in from executives. Without the explicit approval and commitment of your CEO and leadership team, any digital initiative is practically doomed to fail.

Once you have obtained executive sponsorship and set off, you need to continually monitor your progress to make sure you are heading in the right direction. It is often a good choice to start by building momentum at the outset, achieving milestones with substantial rewards and lower risk.

Digital transformations have the power to change your entire organization for the better. By planning with a digital roadmap, you can make sure that you are always aware of your situation and that you are set up well for success. 

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About the author

Richard is CEO of Small Footprint. He worked for several start-up companies before starting Small Footprint. He spent 15 years working and living in Eastern Europe, during which time he built and managed operations across 5 countries for start-up telecoms provider eTel Group (later purchased by Telecom Austria), and also served as an early Sr. Manager for Hungarian telco Novacom, forging strategic international partnerships and new product development. In 2003 he saw the opportunity to leverage the exceptional software engineering talent of the region to provide global IT services and established Small Footprint. Small Footprint is celebrating its 15 year anniversary this year, having established an exceptional company culture envied by many.

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