Alina Veselova, Senior Business Transformation Consultant, IT company CROC, explains how companies can evolve digitally by employing design thinking and whether engaging external partners for this may pay off.

Today, hardly anybody questions the need for digital transformation of modern business. Indeed, the vast majority of business owners and managers realize that the ability to quickly adapt to new market demands and customer preferences is vital.

Preparatory stage

Any transformation begins with an in-depth analysis of the current situation: interviews with top managers and key specialists and a questionnaire survey covering as many employees as possible; followed by analysis of a company’s project accounting, finance, HR, etc. The result is a list of key points to be transformed first.

Starting the transformation, we thought it would be a good idea to ‘eat the elephant one bite at a time’: first, deal with sales processes, then move on to marketing, and finally transform the office space. But we soon realized that, when it comes to business transformation, all these parts are interconnected, and we had to transform them all at the same time, often in several rounds due to various external and internal circumstances constantly affecting the company’s business situation.

Here are several practices that can be transformed in the majority of companies:

  • Sales;
  • Pricing;
  • Marketing;
  • Production units;
  • Interaction with subcontractors and partners;
  • Innovation management;
  • Staff incentives;
  • Knowledge management;
  • Corporate culture;
  • Office ecosystem.

Once the practices are defined, the question is: who is going to implement the changes: experienced outside consultants or a company’s own employees?

If a company opts for the latter, just like we did two years ago, employees – before starting the transformation – need to learn key operation principles and how to use relevant tools. There are several methodological approaches. We chose design thinking.

Journey of transformation teams

Our employees from different functional units formed into teams of six to ten people to design a new approach to a selected subject. They had to undergo five stages of the design thinking methodology with the support of a partner, a person who is not a team member but organizes communication, advises on which tools and methods to use for specific tasks, and monitors team work.

Here are the original article RBC.