Leading Digital Change: Expert Tips From Leighton

Issue 103

"Business Agility is the ability to compete and thrive in the digital age by quickly responding to market change and emerging opportunities with innovative, digitally enabled business solutions." - Scaled Agile Framework.

That’s one of Tom Preval’s favourite quotes, our Delivery Community Lead here at Leighton. Tom explains: “For me, this gets to the heart of what is important from a delivery perspective when thinking about how we can support digital transformations.”

Supporting successful digital transformations is something we are well versed in at Leighton, having developed successful software applications for over 32 years. As digital transformation becomes more crucial in today’s business landscape, we asked Leighton experts their top tips for navigating digital change.

Where to start?

“Set a clear vision and keep it visible,” advises Tom. Define specific, measurable objectives to ensure all stakeholders are aligned. “Don’t forget to regularly communicate the vision and progress to the entire organisation to maintain alignment,” he added.

James Bunting, CEO of Leighton, suggests starting with the problem you aim to solve: “It’s imperative to understand the problem you are trying to fix. Dig, dig, dig to understand where you are now and where you want to be.” Engaging an external expert can provide valuable insights and a fresh perspective.

Claire Cundill, CBO at Leighton, adds: “Avoid starting with the solution. It’s an easy trap to fall into, and we see it often, but as Simon Sinek says, start with your why and remember who your customer is and how you want to help them.”

Leighton’s CTO, Steve Morland, suggests starting small: “Look first around your core product or service, identify functions or processes you can improve and modernise these to support overall change.” This approach allows for manageable steps towards broader transformation.

Deliver value quickly

Embracing Agile methodology is central to delivering value quickly. “Iterate, show progress, test and learn” emphasises James. “Ensure all stakeholders see progress and value quickly and regularly to help maintain momentum and support,” he added. Don’t wait for a “big bang” release at the end.

Investing in the right tools is also crucial. “Invest in tools and developer experience to get to market quicker,” advises Steve. “Look at what you can automate to start delivering value,” he added. The right tools can significantly enhance efficiency and speed to market.

Leighton’s Accessibility Community Lead, Jo Larby, highlights the importance of investing in knowledge to deliver added value. “Invest in knowledge, whether by upskilling yourself and your existing team or using trusted partners as a springboard,” said Jo.

Culture, leadership and empowered teams

“Any digital transformation initiative is a change project,” says James. “Build a culture of change, transformation, and inclusion and ensure the work lands and is used,” he added. Foster an environment where innovation and adaptation are encouraged.

For Tom, strong leadership and empowered teams are vital to moving at pace. “Establish cross-functional teams with the autonomy to make decisions and get work done,” he notes. Equally, these teams need strong leadership. “These teams need to trust that senior leadership is on the same journey, providing necessary direction, resources, and authority,” he added.

Claire added: “Getting the right people involved from the beginning is key. Whether it’s tech teams or business stakeholders, your team need to be onboard from the beginning to make it a success and to continue to champion it when bumps inevitably happen.”

Jo highlights the value of leading by example and fostering diverse teams to avoid groupthink and benefit from varied experiences. “Diversity in teams provides opportunities to learn from lived and worked experiences, helping create innovative solutions and ensuring different perspectives are considered,” she notes.

Keep your customer at the core

A customer-centric approach should underpin all digital transformation efforts. “Put your customer or end-user at the heart of what you do,” advises Tom. “Design and implement solutions with customer experience at the forefront.”

Jo emphasises the importance of understanding all potential users and their needs. “Digital transformation should ensure that nobody gets left behind. Understand your users’ existing pain points and needs from your service,” she advises. “Ensuring your customer sees you as a trusted partner means considering security, reliability, and availability,” she added.

In today’s fast-paced digital landscape, business agility and customer-centric approaches are essential to successful transformations. By setting a clear vision, embracing agile methodologies, and fostering a culture of change, companies can navigate digital transformation effectively and meet their customers’ evolving needs.

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