Practical tips for accelerating digital transformation

The pandemic has hugely affected organizations, both in the private or public sector. We explore this in more detail in a recent piece on how remote learning tools are being adopted in dramatic numbers globally in the pandemic. These examples show how quickly digital transformation can be achieved.

Whether organizations are being impacted negatively or positively, in examples yielded by a number of McKinsey studies, Organizations are deciding to focus on speeding up their use of digital technologies during this time.

Why the need to speed up digital transformation?

As Kate Smaje, (2020) at McKinsey says “winning companies are investing in the tech, data, processes, and people to enable speed through better decisions and faster course corrections based on what they learn.

In a further McKinsey cited example, of an organization focused on digital transformation and rapid reskilling, a mobile app has been developed using gamification to keep learners engaged. The same organization harnesses AI in other parts of their business resulting in reduced costs and improved production procedures.

Similarly, we have evidenced elsewhere how we have experienced AI’s positive effect in transforming translation processes to support a large multi-national in speeding up their global knowledge and learning communications. We have also experienced the need from multinationals to engage their global colleagues and learners with informal learning platforms, and we have explored how this can be particularly useful for client-facing teams.

Learn-fast culture

Emphasising the importance of fast-forwarding knowledge acquisition, in order to act quickly, in the same piece, McKinsey provide an example from the Mining World, where a COO states: “A learn-fast culture means we put things into action,” he says. “We don’t sit around thinking about it.”  

Similarly, organizations in or servicing the healthcare sector are experiencing considerable changes to their demand patterns. Many public sector healthcare bodies (and those involved in researching, producing or providing pharmaceuticals and healthcare equipment) are focusing on making rapid changes. Organizations are making alterations in the way they work to support the public (directly and indirectly) during the pandemic. This entails rapidly communicating with and providing knowledge to all colleagues.

Healthcare transformation

Accordingly, in this article, we will provide tips on how one healthcare provider, Merck, put into place their digital transformation. eXact supported Merck on helping them achieve this with our scalable Learning Content Management System (LCMS). Here we will share some knowledge and joint experience on how to optimize and expedite your digital transformation experience successfully.

 C-suite strategic objectives are likely to include a focus on maximising RoI in transformational projects. However, company storytelling may include memories of past ‘transformation projects’ that failed to delivery quite what was expected. Naturally, there is always pressure on teams to ensure new initiatives and technology implementation succeed.

Practical tips

So, as someone involved in making a success of transforming processes and technology relating to content creation, knowledge-transfer, sharing & delivery across or outside the organization, how do you optimise the chances of a positive outcome – not just for your immediate colleagues & your key stakeholders, but also for the whole organization?

This article attempts to provide you with some top practical tips for a successful implementation.

1. Identify your project goal.

This could be in the form of a ‘mission statement’. Eg, ‘Empower our staff by providing them with an easy to use, best-of-breed, knowledge sharing tool, which provides tailored content and feeds into organisational goals to improve customer service feedback ratings by 20%’.

2. Identify your key stakeholders.

You need to work out at what stage of each process the stakeholders need to be involved. When should each one provide input (and at which stages of the project)? Identify an appropriate project team from different levels of the business.

3. Set timescales.

Try to be realistic by working back from your end goal/timescale. However, you should always include estimates for slippage and mitigate risks for unexpected blockages.  Identify (& schedule) the considerations of ‘gates’, where decisions are necessary to progress – dependent on the protocols in place within your organization.


Choosing a solution

Agree on what you need from a solution. Think:

a) What does it need to do?

b) What challenge does it need to solve?

c) What current processes does it need to improve?

d) Think about your usage scenarios (see Figure 1)


Figure 1: Examples of usage scenarios fulfilled by the eXact learning LCMS

Figure 1: Examples of usage scenarios fulfilled by the eXact Learning LCMS

Identify suitable technology & investigate if they suit organizational needs

 Next, start shortlisting, but consider first:

Scalability – does any new technology introduced to the firm need to be something that could be rolled out across wider locations & business units in the short-term (or later) should different business units need it? Recent events have given us some pertinent real examples from which to scale up our scenario planning.

Reach – is the user support provided by the vendor appropriate for the locations in which your business is in (eg, is it all serviced from one continent, or does it have reach across US, Europe, & elsewhere that the organization has touch points)? Is the support ‘arm’s length?’, or do you have good support by phone, face-to-face (if appropriate), etc?

Consultative/implementation approach – how much time will the vendor spend with you before implementation to really understand your needs?

Amount of functionality – how many aspects of your content journey/knowledge delivery will the tool provide? Can efficiencies be made by reducing the amount of tools that are currently used internally, & replacing them with one?

Integrationcan technologies work well together with existing tools?

Customisationhow much ‘tailoring’ does the technology allow for? Eg, ‘white-labelling’, different levels of user with different technical or subject matter skills, etc

Regulation & compliance does the technology meet regulatory needs? Eg, if you work in a ‘highly-regulated’ industry (financial services, pharma, legal, energy, etc), does the tool allow you audit-tracking functionality, which supports your regulatory obligations in all of your locations, to evidence training and communications internally (or externally, if you use external contractors)?

Security does the technology need to be implemented securely ‘on premise’ vs in the Cloud, owing to your industry-specific needs, or the regulatory rules within your jurisdiction(s)?


Who could have foreseen the shift and disruption to working patterns caused by the pandemic? Have you so far managed to ‘make do’ by rolling out existing learning technology to larger numbers of employees? Some organizations have managed to successfully broaden access to colleagues in a short space of time, but have discovered that incumbent solutions haven’t quite met all of the emergent needs of a larger team thrust into remote-working at short notice. If you know that an incumbent solution doesn’t quite meet current (or future) needs, then consider beginning a needs identification and selection process.

Learn from the Merck Case Study

Your organisation may well have a standard procedure for vendor shortlisting and selection. Whether it does have an uniform approach or not, it would be advisable to implement a rating system.

Suggested rating systems, and details of how solutions can be assessed, is detailed in our Case Study with Merck, where Pete Radice, Learning Specialist, provides his practical examples and outlines his detailed, thorough, walk-through on how to identify your needs, shortlist vendors and how to weight each technology offering to best match your bespoke needs. In the Case Study Pete also includes Merck’s take on what implementation ‘success’ looks like. You can access the Case Study here.

To see our full list of client Case Studies, click here and a list of our clients here.

To find out more about our award-winning, scalable, Learning Content Management System (LCMS) get in touch for a demo of our project management and workflow functionality, as well as our other ‘all-in-one’ solution features, such as our award-winning authoringdigital repositorydelivery and informal learning suite then get in touch for more information or a free demo.