A digital roadmap is a blueprint for your future business. It should outline your objectives over the short and long term and connect the digital initiatives needed to achieve these. Ideally, it should detail how to convert your business's vision into an actionable plan that mitigates risk while increasing profitability. Also referred to as a digital transformation or strategy roadmap, the digital roadmap is a critical part of any business. Usually, the roadmap will fill the gap between the high-level strategy and the detailed execution plan, creating a flow from vision to implementation.
Digital transformation roadmaps are a form of planning, and planning to meet your business objectives is essential. How will you know what to implement without a proper framework that allows for flexibility?
To start, it’s a good idea to understand where your business is and where you want it to be. Then map out how you plan on getting there. You will need to make a few assessments and fundamental decisions to create an effective and transformative digital roadmap for your business. These include:
First, understand your current operations and optimize any processes needed to meet your future state. Then you can start to match technology solutions to these requirements.
It is essential to assess how much change your business can sustain when factored against the risk of making that change.
This step combines your operational knowledge with an understanding of what different technology solutions are capable of. Map out which areas need custom solutions and which can fit into out-the-box offerings.
Related to customization, you will need to decide on your Enterprise Resource System (ERP software). You will need to understand which parts of your business can be accommodated by a single, core ERP, and which parts would be better suited to a best-of-breed solution.
What type of software solutions and which implementation partner is best suited to your business is a critical decision. This can be determined by considering:
Company culture versus software partner culture and solutions
Is the technology-focused at an industry or business function level?
Your data migration plan is important in deciding which technology solution you will need. Consider how this data migration will be supported by your new ecosystem.
Consider the impact of the technological changes on the people in your business and what training and processes will need to be implemented to facilitate the change.
The solution's architecture is a critical document that will combine your current state with the vision for your business's future processes and applications. Key to this is the integration process because this affects data migration.
When setting your digital roadmap in stone, you have lots of options.
You could use existing tools like Excel, PowerPoint, or straightforward PDFs — but this can quickly become laborious and time-consuming. In addition, because these tools aren’t specialized, there’s a higher chance you’ll make mistakes or have trouble collaborating.
Instead, using the right tool for the right job is always best. In this case, airfocus is an excellent tool for creating a digital roadmap. As mentioned above, handy features like a drag-and-drop interface, customizable views, and seamless collaboration makes airfocus the ideal choice for digital roadmaps.
Just like a great recipe, no digital roadmap is complete without the perfect ingredients.
With that in mind, here are the elements you should include to ensure a smooth road ahead for your business.
The vision is all about your goals. You’re setting your stall out immediately by explicitly listing the measurable and strategic goals your digital roadmap will help you achieve. As always, it’s a good idea to use SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.
Your roadmap won’t mean much if it has no scope. That’s why you should define a timeline for each initiative within your digital transformation roadmap. As you do this, be sure to consider dependencies and resource constraints — the last thing you want to do is set a deadline that’s impossible to reach.
Regardless of the focus of your digital roadmap, as a long-term plan, it will always involve at least one (but usually many more) internal teams. When developing a digital roadmap, it’s essential to identify the key stakeholders who will be impacted by each initiative you plan to develop.
It’s easy to avoid thinking about things that could go wrong, but identifying the potential risks and challenges your roadmap may face will help you overcome them if the worst should happen. Building a contingency plan now could be a game-changer later.
Your core success metrics, or key performance indicators (KPIs), should be selected so that you can judge the success (or the failure) of each of your digital initiatives.
One of the best things about the digital roadmap is its versatility.
For example, consider digital marketing roadmaps. These can help a company plan and execute a laser-focused marketing strategy more effectively.
Creating a digital marketing roadmap begins with defining your company’s objectives, then the identification of specific marketing initiatives which will help you achieve those goals.
Your digital marketing roadmap can run the gamut of the marketing space (and that’s a lot of ground), but you might consider including:
Brand awareness campaigns
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
You could choose to use existing methods such as a combination of Excel, PowerPoint, and PDFs. However, this approach has many drawbacks.
Manually compiling documentation is time-consuming and error-prone.
No real-time updates
Potential security risks
In contrast, a dedicated roadmapping tool (like airfocus) will streamline this process. You can leverage a digital transformation roadmap template to get several benefits:
Easy to use drag and drop interface for adding information
Multi-team collaboration with version control
Facilitates aligning across the business