5 Ways Vision Statements Drive Achievable Digital Transformations

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post describing why your organization's digital transformation may be floundering. Digital transformations are not "moves to the cloud, CI/CD pipelines, or centralized data lakes," but do "use culture, collaboration processes, and new technologies to change the business model."

Now most of the CIO and IT leaders that I speak to have a pretty good idea of some of the changes needed in their organizations. Some are looking to move their ERP to the cloud, establish proactive data governance, or upgrade employee experiences using a low-code platform.

StarCIO Driving Digital Vision Statement - Sacolick

These all represent technical solutions. To be transformative, the CIO and IT leaders must express the problem statement and how the investment transforms the business.

What is Your Vision Statement?

Sadly, I find many organizations struggle with writing problem statements - or if you adopt my company's Driving Digital Practices - what we call vision statements. 

We created a format that CIO, Chief Digital Officers, Chief Data Officers, and other executives can hand to a multidisciplinary team to work on together. During our Driving Digital Workshops, we see teams that struggled to answer, "What problem does this solve," go on to drafting a full vision statement in two thirty-minute working sessions. 

Our vision statements are not multipage business cases, nor are they big, bold moonshot declarations. They are one page and force teams to think like a product manager. They help answer questions around the customer, value proposition, competition, and strategic value of an investment.

Our vision statements are developed iteratively. We encourage organizations to use them before planning any initiative and update them at least every six months. For organizations using StarCIO's Agile Planning practices, we encourage writing vision statements for every major release.

Vision Statements Empower Agile Self-Organizing Teams

For agile organizations that want to get away from the waterfall, quarterly, or PI planning that fails in execution or business impact, using vision statements often proves an easier-to-use substitute.

Here are a few reasons why vision statements are key strategic tools in digital transformation. Vision statements are -

  • Written collaboratively with the team's participation 
  • Time-bound and versioned, so teams set expectations by separating multiyear, yearly, and release vision statements
  • Goals for self-organizing teams to simplify prioritization and writing requirements
  • Short and easy to modify as teams use feedback to adjust and pivot plans
  • Standardized, making it easier for executives to compare different initiatives

If your organization struggles to translate big goals into executable plans, then you should review the artifacts and planning processes being used. 

If you want to have a look at StarCIO's vision statement, please reach out to us, and we'll share it with you.

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About Isaac Sacolick

Isaac Sacolick is President of StarCIO, a technology leadership company that guides organizations on building digital transformation core competencies. He is the author of Digital Trailblazer and the Amazon bestseller Driving Digital and speaks about agile planning, devops, data science, product management, and other digital transformation best practices. Sacolick is a recognized top social CIO, a digital transformation influencer, and has over 900 articles published at InfoWorld, CIO.com, his blog Social, Agile, and Transformation, and other sites. You can find him sharing new insights @NYIke on Twitter, his Driving Digital Standup YouTube channel, or during the Coffee with Digital Trailblazers.