NNIT's Expectation Barometer uses the terms base camp, explorer and navigator to show how far an organization is on its digital journey. For three NNIT employees, the mountaineering analogy makes more sense than ever before. They are actually on their way to the real world base camp at Mount Everest.
At the foot of Mount Everest, at an altitude of 5,364 meters, lies the base camp of Mount Everest. In a few days time, the three NNIT staff Pia, Trine and Jane will be heading for the world's tallest mountain. In doing so, they are very aware of the similarities between their journey and the many digital journeys that NNIT helps organizations to go through every day.
Over the last six months, the three employees have spent almost all their free time on intense physical and mental preparation for the 23-day journey to Mount Everest's base camp.
Even at this point, we cannot help but see the parallels with digital transformation. We have prioritized all our preparations, and it would not be possible without the backing of those around us. Similarly, it is crucial for companies on the road to digital transformation that the management group and board members give their backing to the project and recognize the cultural changes that the digital journey requires, say the three trekkers.
Pia Doberck, Trine Io Bjerregaard and Jane Banke
Be successful with the right helpAs the preparations move ahead and the departure date approaches, thoughts turn to the Expectation Barometer mountaineering analogy and NNIT's advisory role for companies that have already begun the journey toward digital transformation:
– We realized quite early on in the process that the chances of completing the trip would be close to zero without external knowledge and help. Our travel agency has given us expert guidance on an ongoing basis and on the journey itself, a professional guide will lead us towards our goal – just like NNIT does for companies that have digital transformation as their final destination, they explain.
Avoid digital altitude sicknessWhen NNIT works with digital transformation, the goal is to support the organizations' movement from base camp to the stages of explorer and navigator; stages which respectively describe businesses that are well on their way, and companies that have reached their goal of digital transformation. But no matter where on the mountain a person or organization is, the basic preparations and risk factors are the same. Among other things, it is crucial in both cases for the journey to take place at the right speed and without taking skipping any stages.
The three trekkers say that nobody can sleepwalk their way to base camp at Mount Everest or to the explorer or navigator stage of digital transformation. Here, it is only the long and often hard road that will get you to where you want to be. The climb takes time and it is extremely risky to rush things through. It is essential to avoid altitude sickness, which can ruin the whole journey, and you mustn’t be frustrated by bad weather - or when legacy systems throw a spanner in the works.
Out of your comfort zoneWith a few days left before they leave, the trio of employees are extremely aware of the risks involved in this journey.
They emphasize that no matter whether it's about the journey to base camp, digital transformation or any other journey, the willingness to take risks and the courage to work outside of your comfort zone are both vital for success. It is all about adapting to the challenges you meet along the way.
The trekkers’ advice for digital transformation
Decide whether you are ready - As a business, it only makes sense to begin the digital journey when the organization is ready. The all-important factor here is that those around you need an understanding of the timeframe and the major challenges that the journey requires.
Be willing to take risks and to step out of your comfort zone - It takes courage to develop yourself. In order to go the distance with digital transformation, it is important to have the backing of those around you. Digital transformation must be fully accepted at the management corridors and executive boardrooms. This is not something that just happens behind closed doors in the IT department.
Be prepared for a slow climb - Digital transformation takes time. Be aware that there are challenges along the way that could not have been foreseen during the planning phase. This in itself can lead to a long and hard road, and on the way to digital transformation you will most likely question whether it is all worth the effort.
Make a plan - Good preparation and clear goals are indispensable tools; partly for the IT department, but also to get the rest of the organization to understand just how far the process has progressed. Having said this, it is vital that the organization learns how to be well-equipped for change. Conditions can change at very short notice and there will be a constant need to review and reorganize the existing plan.
Seek expert knowledge - Accept that there is knowledge out there, and that there are experts ready and waiting who have already been through the process - many times. Use them for both the preparation and the journey itself. They know most of the pitfalls that can occur, and also the solutions. They can act as a calming influence on the IT department, and not least on the management group and those around you.
Discover your own level of digital innovationYou have the possibility to participate in the NNIT Expectation Barometer and discover which level your company is on: Basecamp, navigator or explorer. Here, you can get tips on how to reach the next level – take the survey here.