Are you standing on the precipice of digital transformation? Before you implement significant changes that will completely revolutionize the finance department, you must create a roadmap for success. Otherwise, you’ll encounter hurdles that lead to cost overruns, missed deadlines, and change resistance.

The following is a step-by-step guide to help you build your own digital transformation roadmap. Here’s what you need to do.

Determine Where You Stand

Before you start any journey, including a digital one, you need to get your bearings and determine where you currently stand. 

Take stock of your current technologies, processes, and workflows to identify opportunities for transformation. Never adopt the latest and greatest tool just for the sake of it. You need to be purposeful in your strategy and investment decisions.

This doesn’t mean you should subscribe to the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mindset. Instead, it’s important to identify a clear advantage to adopting a new technology. Is your return on investment (ROI) going to justify the move away from one solution to another? 

Mobilize Your Team

After you’ve identified where you stand and what needs to change, get your team involved. The sooner you involve other members of the finance department in your transformation journey, the easier it will be to achieve and sustain high levels of buy-in. Conversely, if you keep your staff in the dark until later in the transformation, you are more likely to encounter resistance. 

After all, your finance team will be using the new technologies every day. Shouldn’t they be involved in the decision-making and selection process? Let them know what you are doing, why, and how the initiative will change their day-to-day lives. Being transparent removes conjecture from the equation and sets the stage for a positive transformation. 

Set Clear Objectives

Now, you are ready to define your goals. Make sure they are realistic, attainable, specific, measurable, and time-bound. Instead of saying, “We want to adopt a new accounting platform to improve efficiency,” be specific. Your goal could read as follows: “We want to adopt a cloud-based accounting platform to automate reporting protocols and increase efficiency by 25%.”

While you don’t want to paint yourself into a corner with overly restrictive goals, you need to provide some clarity for your team. Making your goals measurable and time-bound will help you later determine whether you’ve achieved them. 

Prioritize Initiatives

Contrary to popular belief, digital transformations rarely involve a full-scale initiative that scraps all of the old tech and replaces it with new, cloud-based solutions. 

Even if you are sunsetting your entire finance technology stack, you probably won’t be doing it all at once. Instead, you’ll need to use a phased approach to avoid disrupting normal business operations or overwhelming your team. 

During your planning process, you need to prioritize initiatives and focus on the projects that will offer the greatest ROI and fastest time to value. Prioritizing high-impact areas will help your team build momentum and free up resources for future phases of transformation. 

Generally, the highest impact areas include automating routine tasks, implementing advanced analytics, and enhancing cybersecurity to safeguard your data.

Implement Technology Solutions

Now, it’s time to select and implement your technologies. During this process, you’ll need to evaluate various vendors and solutions, ensure the new tools integrate with your existing systems, and conduct extensive testing to verify everything works as designed.

While you’ll certainly be eager to implement your new tech, be careful not to rush the vendor vetting and testing processes. Spending extra time during these phases can prevent costly delays during rollout. 

Train and Engage Your Staff

In the weeks leading up to your go-live date, train your staff on the new technology and corresponding workflows. If your team is confident in their abilities to use the solutions, they will embrace them. Conversely, if they are apprehensive, they might shy away from the tech or cling to old ways of doing things.

Throughout the process, remind your staff of the benefits associated with digital transformation and why navigating this learning curve is worthwhile. Be sympathetic, as change can be stressful. 

Go Live and Continue to Improve 

Finally, it’s time to go live. This signifies you’ve reached the end of your digital transformation roadmap. Before rolling out your technology, ensure that you’ve put additional support resources in place just in case you experience any bugs or outages. 

In the weeks following the go-live date, analyze asset performance and identify ways to increase your ROI. Be persistent, and never settle for “good enough.” 

Ready to Create Your Own Transformation Gameplan?

No matter where you are in your transformation journey, it’s never too late (or too early) to start building your roadmap. Be proactive, get stakeholders involved early and often, and set clear, attainable goals. Before you know it, you’ll be launching innovative new tech that propels the finance department into the modern age.