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How to Lead a Digital Transformation and Make Sure it Sticks

Advice from our Nonprofit Principal Strategist

Perfect planning and execution only happens in the movies. In the real world, the launch of a digital transformation is a complex and a well choreographed set of steps that require intentional communication and coordination to be successful. Given this, there are several areas where organizations need to pay special attention. These checklists will help you on your digital transformation journey and provide tips to make sure it sticks.

Digital transformation pre-launch checklist

  • List internal stakeholders that need training
  • List external stakeholders that need training (ex. volunteers, donors, members)
  • Find out how stakeholders like to learn (Pro tip: make this process fun and engaging by sending out surveys to better understand their preferences)
  • Set a list of goals and learning objectives for your audiences (this helps define the courses and content needed)
  • Make a list of what worked well and what didn’t during past training exercises, if applicable
  • Plan a similar training experience for everyone, no matter their location (and be aware this may impact your delivery methods)
  • Decide who will lead the trainings and be responsible for both content and delivery moving forward
  • Train!

You’ve made it to launch day of your digital transformation — now what? The success of your project is measured by more than just getting to this point. Each organization has its own goals, so “success” will look different for everyone. With that said, there are some general ways in which success can be measured:

  • how the technology is adopted by stakeholders
  • their confidence in the new way of doing things
  • the positive impacts the new technology have on the organization, as envisioned at the initiation of the project

Continued success depends on there being a concerted effort to ensure everyone understands the impact of the technology on their day-to-day processes and how it’s used to carry out the activities core to their constituent interactions. The bottom line is it’s about more than the technology — it’s about the people.

Digital transformations are about more than the technology — they’re about the people. Ensure you’re prepared to support your users and their growth on the new system.

Many organizations share an ideal vision of how new technology will streamline processes, provide data transparency and reveal insights about their customers, allowing them to carry out their mission. However, just implementing a new system won’t lead to user adoption. Organizations must be prepared to support their users as they continue to grow on the journey of using this new technology.

It’s critical to be thinking of post-launch life early on. Early planning will help ensure that your organization is prepared to support your users and their growth on this new technology. A key component to continued success for post launch life is continued training.

Digital transformation post-launch checklist

  • Decide how training will be provided to new staff (which will be different than training provided to current staff who are learning through the lens of how it “used to be”), and adapt training materials accordingly
  • Implement a system to store training materials — LMS (learning management system) or other (Pro tip: check out My Trailhead, a new Salesforce offering)
  • Assign someone to maintain and update the content

After launch, it’s important to test your training program and use it as an opportunity to learn what worked and what didn’t. You will be in a better position to adapt your approach where needed and respond to user feedback.

Digital transformation post-launch retrospective checklist

  • What gaps were brought forward? Does additional content need to be created to bridge any business process gaps?
  • Which tools or strategies used for training worked well, and which did not have the intended impact?
  • What is the initial feedback on employee confidence in using the new system?
  • Were there certain groups that had more challenges, and what can be done to improve their learning?

Over my years of experience helping organizations implement new systems, I have seen firsthand how easy it is to concentrate on the initial launch of the system and overlook the plan for the future. But I encourage all organizations to harness the excitement and energy of implementing a new system — and channel that energy into a long-term onboarding plan. This will ensure positive outcomes of the new system beyond launch day.

Not all tools and approaches are “one size fits all.” Think strategically about your various audiences and recognize this will be an ongoing effort you will continue to learn from.

The success of your technology ultimately depends on the people: your team. Learn about our customer enablement program and how we can help support you in achieving your business goals or fulfilling your nonprofit missions.

Written by Laura Bibbo, Nonprofit Principal Strategist at Traction on Demand.


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