As the Digital Leader, you are the Catalyst driving change along the Digital Journey.



Digital Leadership is a mindset, driven by an appointed individual, leading a culture shift to change the way the organization thinks about service delivery, supplier relations, and the customer experience.  The selected individual must act as the digital agent of change for the business across all departments and business functions.  The digital leader must ensure the organization can flexibly adapt systems and processes to support new and evolving ways of working.

Being an effective leader means being innovative, collaborative, experimental, and forward thinking.

A successful leader will transform the culture, develop a transformation roadmap, determine organizational readiness for change, execute the transformation, and continue the journey through optimization.

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The Ultimate Guide | Digital Leadership


Digital Leadership is a mindset, driven by an appointed individual, leading a culture shift to change the way the organization thinks about service delivery, supplier relations, and the customer experience. The selected individual must act as the digital agent of change for the business across all departments and business functions. The digital leader must ensure the organization can flexibly adapt systems and processes to support new and evolving ways of working.

Being an effective digital leader means being innovative, collaborative, experimental, and forward thinking.  A successful leader will lead a culture transformation by determining organizational readiness for change, develop a transformation roadmap, initiate the transformation, and
continue the journey through to optimization.

This Ultimate Guide will direct you, as the Digital Leader, through all phases of your organization’s Digital Journey. Each phase offers tools for success in: Leadership Culture, Organizational Readiness, Managing the Digital Journey, and Digital Maturity and continued Digital Optimization.


DLG Leadership Culture

Leadership Culture | Spark that Leads to Great Change


The desire to appoint a Digital Leader can develop from a demand inside the organization, as in forward thinking leaders and early adopters of new technologies. The pressure could also come from the outside; like changing supplier demands, or a shift in customer expectations.

The source of the spark dictates initial steps of defining Digital Leadership inside your organization. Understanding the source will help you determine the most effective means to initiate a mindset shift, and will likely give insight into how to
avoid pitfalls. If the spark originates internally, it probably means you have a Natural Digital Leader on the inside that is eager to transform the culture, processes, and business strategies. If the spark originates outside, it’s likely due to external pressure from suppliers or customers; the organization will need to designate a Digital Leader to organize the response.  Wherever it originates, chances are the demand for strong digital leadership is palpable today.


Becoming an effective Digital Leader is not a “set it and forget it” task, it’s a continuous push; always encouraging the team to challenge the
status quo. Successful digital leaders place high value on communication, creativity, and a willingness to challenge processes.  They explore new ways of leveraging technology and analytics to better support customers and suppliers, while securing their own environment.

Now that we’ve covered the need for Digital Leadership, how to become one, and how this leader affects change and a culture shift to begin Digital Transformation, it’s time to see if you’re the natural fit for the Digital Leader role.

Although real change starts with the Digital Leader, transformation is successful because of the collective culture shift of many motivated voices inside the business.


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There are five steps to becoming an effective digital leader.

  1. Reframe your perspective
  2. Define your mindset
  3. Change your brain monologue
  4. Reinforce the new mindset
  5. Amplify behaviours with experiential learning

Taking these five important steps will ensure an effective Digital Leader is at the helm of your digital journey.  Find out how to take these important steps in our comprehensive guide: 5 Steps to Becoming an Effective Digital Leader.


As an influential Digital Leader, you will implement internal communication processes that challenge traditional hierarchal collaboration roadblocks. You lead by your actions.  You strive to be innovative, creative, collaborative, experimental, and curious, with a passion to network with peers, colleagues, and industry leaders. Digital leaders possess an agile mindset, and are more interested in being viewed as curious as opposed to an expert. The culture shift begins when the leader empowers multiple department heads, champions collaboration, and encourages teams to challenge current processes. When department heads use collaborative tools to discuss and challenge data analytics, they allow curiosity and agility to lead change and ultimately drive the business to transform.


Assess Yourself.

Now that we’ve covered the need for Digital Leadership, how to become one, and how the Digtial Leader affects change and a culture shift to begin Digital Transformation, it’s time to see if you’re the natural fit for the Digital Leader role.

Asking 17 identifying questions, this assessment tool will define your leadership skills, and identify qualities to improve.  As your organization’s well-rounded Digital Leader, it is your role to oversee the launch, completion, and optimization of your company’s Digital Transformation.

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DLG Org ReadinessOrganizational Readiness | Be Ready to Fail Fast


How will you know when your company is ready for a Digital Transformation? What are the telltale signs and identifiers? Two major factors are your organization’s appetite for transformation and its speed tolerance for change and adaptation.

How can you best assess your organization for these factors? We have established Six Key Tasks that will define your readiness to fail fast through digital transformation.  Inside the Organizational Readiness Worksheet we dive into the many details inside these overarching tasks, and provide guidance on how to identify the appetite for transformation and speed threshold.  Understanding thresholds and appetite will help you prioritize which areas of the business to tackle first.  The worksheet will dive into these key areas of the business:

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1. Business Drivers

2. Resourcing

3. Current State

4. Qualitative Impact

5. Emerging Technology

6. Planning Strategies




Business Drivers:  What is the driving force pushing this transformation? Is it internal or external? Is it driven by productivity or vulnerability? What does that force have to do with your finances?

Resourcing:  What are the organization’s current resource, skills, and competencies?  What is the bandwidth for execution?  What is the bandwidth for learning? How will these changes affect their day to day? The worksheet asks five critical probing questions on resourcing.

Current State:  Use the chart to carefully consider each key area of the business.  How should they change? If changed, what is the expected impact?

Qualitative Impact:  There’s more to operating a successful business than just the numbers.  This section of the worksheet asks three critical questions to assist in analyzing the qualitative impact of the transformation strategy.

Emerging Technologies:  Complete this chart to identify emerging technologies and define the role they may play in transforming business models and organizational processes.

Planning Strategies:  Now its time to build the plan to deploy established transformation strategies.  Make sure to follow these six steps to avoid common pitfalls when starting your Digital Journey.

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DLG Managing Journey

Managing the Journey | Expert Tips on Transformation


Its a team effort to execute a successful digital transformation, and transformations are successfully executed over time. The Digital Journey is a process of concurrent steps including: the planning stages of a digital strategy, initiating and instilling a culture shift, planning and financing the transformation, and defining KPIs to measure to define whether the transformation was successful.

The key component in this journey, however, is the ability and the willingness to test and iterate. Consider using the Design Thinking methodology.  This methodology encourages iterating at every stage of the process.

Next Dimension compiled a list of the top questions business leaders have been asking about the Digital Journey. Together, with Cisco, we touched on all phases of the transformation; from defining the leader, to planning and financing, through to the successful execution and optimization.  Here are the 12 Questions we asked a Digital Transformation Expert, highlighting a few key quotes from Yarnell’s answers.

#1. As an expert, what does Digital Transformation mean to you?

“Taking something very manual and turning it into a positive experience through the use of technology.”

#2. Digital Transformations can be complex.  How can we simplify the process?

“How can we help automate just a small piece first? And then what’s next? And then what’s after next?

#3. What stage in the transformation journey would you find most businesses today?

“I think most organizations are now looking at ‘where do we want to go?’ But they don’t necessarily have a plan of how to get there.”

4. What is a culture shift and how do you execute one?

“I think that we have to get buy-in from each of the individual departments to get us to that direction they’re trying to go.  How do they shift from their current paradigm, to doing what they do on a digital platform?”

5. How do you avoid falling back into “old” habits instead of transforming forward?

“Instead of having a mandate of ‘we’re going to do this’, its all around ‘hey, if we did this, how would that impact you?’ “

6. What are some of the biggest roadblocks that mid-size businesses face along the journey?

“Avoid saying ‘I don’t have the budget to do that, so I’m not even going to entertain that’ “

7. What do you do with the strategy you started pre-pandemic? HINT: Don’t toss it!

“Time to rethink; how do I change my business now in a way that’s going to give me the biggest return on investment?”

8. What are the best ways to budget for, and finance the Digital Transformation?

“I do think creating a roadmap and putting a framework in place of ‘How do we get to where we want to go?’ is incredibly valuable.”

9. What are the first signs that the Digital Transformation needs to be adjusted?

“Are we hitting our metrics? If we are, great! Let’s accelerate those. Let’s move fast! If not, let’s fail fast.”

10. Which departments inside a business handle transformation the best? Which departments typically pose the biggest challenge?

“The last thing anybody wants is ‘hey, by the way, we’re going this direction.  We bought this technology and its yours to support it.’ “

11.  How can businesses continue to optimize?  What should their shifted priorities be?

“How do we take what they’ve done and celebrate their success, and how do we rinse and repeat their success in other departments?”

12. How do you measure if your Digital Transformation was successful?

“Employee satisfaction and employee involvement.  And looking at it and say, how excited are people to tell this story?”

12 questions with a digital transformation expert

DLG Managing JourneyManaging the Journey | Validate the Strategy


The well crafted strategy is almost ready to launch. 

Your entire team has worked hard, challenging many traditional ideas and processes, and you are just about ready to launch your transformative Digital Strategy. Have you considered every implication to your business?

What about the implications to technology, or impacts to innovations that are scheduled for deployment later in your strategic plan?





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Strategy Vs Best Practice

You’ve done the hard work; scrutinizing processes for employees, customers, and service delivery, and identified impactful changes that will revolutionize the way in which your organization conducts business. How does that strategy look when stood up against best practices?

When you transform the business, how will security, reliability, and innovation be impacted? When looking through this best practice lens, what gaps will you find? What vulnerabilities need to be amended? When you Validate the Digital Transformation Strategy against Best Practice, these hidden cracks in the roadmap become clear, and can be avoided as pitfalls in your transformation journey.


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DLG Digital Optimization

Digital Optimization | Optimizing the Strategy


The definition of Digital Maturity points to how well companies adapt to a digital business environment.  How well does your organization recognize the need for change? Have they executed a digital transformation strategy that defines new approaches?

Once digital maturity is achieved, the continuous effort of Digital Optimization must begin.  Digital Optimization is the process of using digital technology to continuously improve existing operating processes and business models.

How Does Next Dimension Support Digital Maturity?

You know your business. Having a strategic partner you can trust will validate industry best practices, and keep a keen eye on innovations and ever evolving vulnerabilities. Our proven framework will support digital maturity through:
  • Aligning technology’s role in the business strategy
  • Analysis to identify risks and gaps slowing the transformation
  • Road-mapping as a platform to prioritize high value actions
  • Project management and operational support
  • Annual planning cycle continuing to support the business
achieving digital alignment


The organization is digitally optimized once there’s a process in place to continuously align: structure, people, culture, and tasks.

What does Digital Maturity Mean for your Business

Digital Maturity is achieved through continuous optimization of your organization against industry trends and best practices. Do you know how digitally mature your business is? Take a look at the Digital Maturity snapshot below.

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Ask every leader inside the organization these questions: Have you transformed in these key areas? Do you leverage these key concepts?  Are you looking for a means to achieve Digital Maturity? Let’s make a plan.

Digital Optimization | Framework


So you’ve completed your Digital Transformation.  Now what?

First of all, congratulate yourself and your team! Reaching this point is no easy feat. You’ve defined your Digital Leader, taken your entire organization through a Culture Shift, assessed your organization’s short and long term appetite for digital disruption, managed the twists and turns of the digital journey, and are ready to instill a winning formula for Digital Optimization.

DLG Digital Optimization

Digital Optimization Plan: The Framework

Our comprehensive Digital Optimization Plan expands on these six steps, following a proven, repeatable process for continuous optimization focused on innovation, information security, and operational efficiency.
1.  Assess current state of Digital Maturity 2.  Identify opportunities and define the vision 3.  Prioritize capabilities to enhance based on business objectives 4.  Assess impact to digital maturity of the initiatives on a roadmap 5.  Project management & support to achieve goals 6.  Annual planning cycle to evaluate process improvement


Management Strategy: The Roadmap

The final piece to this ongoing success plan is defining the management strategy.  Who will manage this plan?  After all, you’ve got a business to run.  Leverage a well designed IT Roadmap as a proven framework to achieve Digital Optimization. The roadmap is a platform that ensures digital alignment, status transparency, and increased confidence among employees. Increased confidence will boost morale and promote the culture shift.  Let’s build your roadmap. Additional Industry Resources for Digital Maturity and Optimization: