Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Towards digital transformation

Today I've been in a workshop, helping to develop a vision for our website. Well, that's how it started. What we actually did was come up with plans for digital transformation.

Earlier this year we set up a project to look at reviewing and replacing our content management system (CMS). But, we soon realised that what we actually had to do first is work out exactly what we want our web site to do, what audiences it serves, what we want it to deliver, before we even think about the technology. Today we had a workshop facilitated by Paul Boag, who writes a really good blog on all matters digital, to try and come up with a vision of where we want to go.

We know a University priority this year is "Digital", and one of the the things we were trying to unpick today was what "digital" actually means. At one level its a set of technologies - mobile, web, social media, new players such as digital assistants (eg Siri) - but more importantly it's the way these technologies influence behaviour, culture and user experience. 

Some organisations are approaching the challenges and opportunities of digital, by setting up Digital Transformation projects. Actually, I'm loathe to call them projects, as one of the things we discussed was how a project culture can kill digital developments, where the cost of failure is low and the process needs to be a quick build, test, improve. Much like the discussions we been having around bimodal IT.

One of the organisations we looked at is the Government Digital Service who  have been leading the digital transformation of government, making public services digital by default, and simpler, clearer and faster to use. They have a Service Design Manual which sets out all of their standards for building digital services.

During the day we looked at our business objectives, our customers of the website and its services, what our tangible deliverables are, and opportunities and threats. We did some hard prioritising, and it was painful taking some things out. But, we got to a stage where we have the outline of a business case for a major digital initiative, including the creation of a digital transformation team.

Won't say more than that for now, as we have a lot of work to do, but I'll leave you with one of the fun things we did where we used our artistic skills to illustrate two views of the future - one where we embrace digital, the other where we don't. Hopefully you might be able to tell which is which, but whether you can interpret them, well that's another story :-0

1 comment:

Christopher Howett said...

Hi Christine, this is great thinking and exciting to read. Talking of Digital Transformation I thought this report might be of interest if you've not seen it http://thenewreality.info/

It's superbly put together and in that sense wholly useful I think. In a similar way to the Government Service Design Manual is, every time I look through that it blows me away how useful, refreshing that resource is. Open, user centered is massive.

As you guys at the University explore digital transformation, we are just starting on a similar path at the Students' Union. I'd very much welcome sharing thinking and findings and of course reading the progress made...

All the best, Chris