The Step-by-Step Guide to Digital Transformation


  • » Create the most effective, realistic and competitive strategy your organisation can deliver
  • » Translate your vision into actions supported by data
  • » Select the best marketing and technology tactics from an advanced playbook


The Micro Analysis

1. Know Yourself: A clear diagnosis of the situation, an
easily understood strategic ambition and well articulated value proposition.

      2.  Know Your Customer: An empirical value for customer volume, the tasks they wish to complete and their motivations.
      3.  Your Marketplace: Who is the competition and what is their momentum?
      4.  Your Resources: The Time, Talent & Cash that can be dedicated to fulfilling the strategic ambition.

The Micro Analysis

      5. Current Position: Use your web analytics to find your starting position – how do customers find you?
      6. Engine of Growth: Once you know where you are, you can make ‘a play’ and move your market position. Where do you want to be?
      7. Tactics: Create Mile Markers. Break them into Projects. Break the Projects into Tasks.

Understanding the Positions of the Quadrant:

  • » Advocacy – Slow but steady growth. innovators in any market sector.
  • » Authority – The preserve of a few focused and dedicated
  • » Attention – The default choice for those who need quick wins and have yet to truly innovate or disrupt.
  • » Prime – The largest, most well known dominant player in your market (should one exist

Watch the videos below in full screen for more detail on the 7 Principles of Digital Business Strategy:


Engaging Your People in the Digital Transformation Process is vital to it’s success. Nothing kills a good transformation project like disenfranchised staff. They resist change and kill the chances of effective implementation. Similar to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, a Digital Transformation project must meet the individual team members’ hierarchy of needs.

The compelling story, focal points and vision of where change will take us must come from the Digital Business Strategy. Ensure that each individual understands the strategy and the role they play in it. Explain how their input will be measured and validated, give them the tools, training and support they’ll need to achieve their personal purpose, and explain how they stand to progress in their careers by transforming with the new opportunity.

It’s important to find the right internal advocates for your Digital Transformation project. Seek those with emotional commitment and an intellectual connection to the project. Nurture these ambassadors and they will influence the bystanders, helping to adjust the overall temperament of an organisation in realignment. Creating the right culture for Digital Transformation determines it’s success.


The 7th Habit mentioned in the #1 best selling book, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey, states that we should sharpen the saw. The book describes how successful people put first things first. They spend time on the Important, Not Urgent tasks. As well as personal betterment, a leader needs to understand the latest thinking beyond their own industry and appreciate how business models are evolving and changing because of digital disruption.

Individual team members should have a clear training agenda. The training requirements should focus on filling in gaps to allow people to best complete the challenges laid out in the Digital Business Strategy.

Senior Managers don’t want to be tested. They shy away from being scored. Operatives see being scored as an addition to their CV and therefore prefer a different kind of educational regime.


Why is Innovation so damn important? People want new. They want different. They only talk about stuff they find inspiring.

Innovation is now a necessary component of any business that wants to become an Authority within its industry. To become an authority, a business must gain earned media from other industry authorities or influencers. That means your ideas must be published and recognised as thought leading. Your ideas must be shared online. Your ideas must spread. Simply being good at what you do does not make you a thought leader.

Three Types of Innovation

    1Closed – Do it in-house (Old school)
    2 Collaborative – With selected partners (Fashionable)
    3Open – With customers and anyone that wants to join in (All-the-rage)


UCLA Management Professor Richard Rumelt suggests in his highly acclaimed book, Good Strategy/Bad Strategy, that a good strategy should contain a strategy kernel. The Diagnosis defines the nature of the challenge, the Guiding Policy is the overall approach that can be taken to overcome defined obstacles, and Coherent Action is a set of coordinated actions and resources which overcome the diagnosed challenge.

Once you have taken the innovations at hand, the capabilities available, aligned the business resources, answered individual needs, created clarity and inspired your people, diagnosed the challenges, and defined the strategy, it is technology and communications that will deliver the strategy, and therefore the competitive advantage.


How does the framework work?

The framework takes an in-depth look at what you would like to achieve in terms of your own ambitions and how you can create a unique value proposition. It uses data to understand what is happening in your marketplace – who are your competitors, how much momentum do they have and how can you create a plan to displace them? It also uses data to establish what the customer demand is and understand if you are able to attract enough customers with your value proposition.

The framework takes into consideration the available resources your organisation has in order to be able to calculate if you have enough resources to achieve your stated ambition.

It provides a list of “plays” or pathways your organisation can take from where it currently is to where you want it to be, taking into consideration whether you have capacity, capabilities and innovations to drive the change needed within your organisation.

Last is the execution of your organisations new strategy using the all important tactics to be carried out in order to deliver upon your ambition. The framework guides you through the process of gathering the data, calculating the requirements and creating measured outcomes. It principally requires inputs from leaders, marketers and technologists to drive the organisation forward on your chosen path of growth.

Does the framework work for any organisation? »

The framework works for any organisation prepared for change. The organisation must first have accepted there is a requirement for transformation and then must be willing to accept data will give guidance but leadership must take decisions. Marketers can communicate, but value propositions must be made. Technologists can deliver technology, but the endgame of what they’re trying to achieve must be clearly articulated and understood before technology is included.

It will work for any organisation whether they are commercial or public sector, charitable or even political. The challenge each organisations has is making sure the culture is willing to accept change. However, the framework will accommodate any organisation.

What will using this framework tell us? »

The framework uses data to calculate both customer demand and competitive force within the marketplace. It will tell you if you have the right resources before entering new markets, creating new markets or competing in existing markets.

The framework will tell you if you have a clear enough ambition and a clearly enough articulated value proposition, and it will tell you what “play” or pathway best suits your organisations growth and how to execute that.

Most of all, by choosing a play, you will be able to understand much more clearly what actions and tactics you should not be partaking in as well as those we should be partaking in. Finally, the framework will help develop a coherent plan of action, a set of tactics and outcomes which are typically delivered through technology and communications, while also giving you the guidance your organisation will need to improve innovation and close capability gaps.

How do we carry out business as usual and transform at the same time? »

There are mechanisms within the cultural part of the transformation framework which will help to create the right cultural change. Cultural change does not mean you have to stop doing what your organisation does and immediately switch over to what you would like to do.

There are proven methods that would need to be taken into account and those methods need to be resourced in order to make sure business as usual can be carried out and the transformation process can begin by a series of small transitions, growing into much larger transitions.

Can I see examples of how this framework has worked before? »

There are many case studies in the case studies section of the website.
Click here to read more.

What skills are needed to use the framework? Can this be done in house? »

The skills that are typically needed are leadership skills. Those who can ask the right searching questions when trying to diagnose the situation, and can lead organisations through change. These individuals will also need the skills to be able to remove the noise from the conversation and look at what the strategic imperatives are.

The challenge many organisations have done this in-house is that they can quickly get swamped by getting back into tactical, non-strategic actions that run and drive day-to-day business – talking about their internal capabilities and desires as opposed to the strategic way ahead.

It is strongly advised that you gain an external person, free from your corporate baggage, who can ask questions and keep the conversations strictly strategic and in line with the framework to prevent people from drifting into anecdotal hearsay about why they should or shouldn’t be performing particular tasks. The preference is external, but this is not to say it cannot be done by an impartial leader who can take pragmatic decisions.

What data do we need? »

The data comes from within the framework, either using the software provided by Ionology or other third party sources. For example, if you wish to find out how your competitors in your marketplace are doing online, www.ionology.com/dmd will allow you to score yourself against competitors, and it’s free!

Ionology’s software “Direction” will go into great detail as to how your competitors are performing. If you wanted to know how great customer demand is you can use google keyword planner to see what marketplace demand is, or use Direction for much greater detail and insight. Experimentation can be used to make judgement calls on customer tasks and intent to complete particular tasks.

For more information on what data can be obtained and how, visit our Digital Transformation training page for our free training course or get in touch.

Is software needed to use this framework? »

If you’re a larger organisation yes.
If you’re small probably not.

Large organisations happen to have more people involved, and with more people comes more complexity. Ionology software reduces the confusion around having multiple people performing multiple tasks as the same time in order to achieve the same strategic ambition. It goes beyond project management as it sticks to the Digital Transformation framework and it forces those who are involved to make very clearly articulated strategic plans which can be shared among other key stakeholders.

Where do we start? »

The starting point for any Digital Transformation project is with strategy and with strategy we have to use the 7PDBS framework, which has been developed by Ionology, is academically peer reviewed, and taught in many leading universities. Out of the 7 Principles, and you can start with any of the first 6.

1. Know yourself
2. Know your customer
3. Know your market place
4. Know your resources
5. Where are you now
6. Where do you want to go
(The 7th principle is creating your Strategic POA)

Most people feel more comfortable starting with where they are now and where they want to go. But it is equally as valid to start with “Know Yourself”, a diagnosis of the situation and articulate your unique VP going forward. Strategy is not written in a linear sense, as we get more data and we start to query the process, our value proposition can change, our ambitions can change, until we reach the time where we are content with our chosen play or pathway.

The advice which we would offer is to start at number one “know yourself” and truly diagnose the current situation as to “why we need change” or start with number 5 which is “where are we now” as both are similar inward reflections of your organisation.


Digital Transformation Framework – Building Blocks

Digital Transformation Framework Part 1 of 2 – Micro analysis

Digital Transformation Framework Part 2 of 2 – Quadrant

Digital Transformation Framework – Strategy



Article Name
Digital Transformation Framework
A step-by-step guide to using Ionology's structured and proven Digital Transformation framework to create successful Digital Transformation strategies.
Publisher Name
Publisher Logo