Digital transformation
5 min read
25 July 2021

How to build a cross-functional team for digital transformation: 6 steps

Kelly van der Horst
digital transformation

There's no doubt that digital transformation is on the rise. Changing your business to deliver greater value in our ever-changing digital world is key.

However, this transformation does not come easily.

As with all new ventures, you'll need a team that helps you along the way. So, let's explore why you need a digital transformation team and how to assemble the best cross-functional team possible!

What is a digital transformation team?

Your digital transformation team is the group of people who work together to transform your business into one that embraces technology and uses it to improve customer experience.

Your digital transformation team members need to vary in terms of skills, competencies, and experience. This is where the term 'cross-functional teams' comes into play.

Cross-functional teams for digital transformation

Cross-functional teams consist of professionals from all walks of life. They're very different from the typical division of employees into their relevant departments. Think about a marketing team, for example. Their core purpose is to make sure that they find a match between the product and the market and they work together towards this goal.

A cross-functional team is one that consists of people from different departments of a company. Normally, this kind of team works together towards the same goal, even though their expertise, experience, and roles are different.

Why do you need a digital transformation team?

It's only natural in our new, digital world to start thinking about assembling a digital transformation team. A team like this can aid in optimizing your move to digital operations. The most important benefit is that teamwork can improve productivity, communication, and new ideas drastically!

Everyone knows that a productive workforce is one of the key forces behind a successful business. A team working together towards a common goal can help you along the way to achieving this success. Once you have assembled a diverse team of people for your ultimate digital transformation goal, you've made the first and most important move.

How to build your digital transformation team in 6 steps

So, how do you build an effective digital transformation team? Here are 6 steps to follow.

1. Identify the skills and expertise needed

The first step is to outline the goal you're trying to achieve. Once you know what the team's purpose is, you can start identifying what skills and expertise you will need in order to be successful.

You need to make sure that each relevant aspect of your business is covered and has a voice in the team. Will you need marketing strategists? Will you need experts to oversee certain tasks? You'll certainly need IT specialists to assist in seamless digital transformation.

2. Gather key team members with the right personalities

Then, of course, you need to assemble your team. When choosing members, don't just look at their hard skills and knowledge. They should also have good communication skills and be able to work effectively with others. This will ensure that you end up with a team that works like a well-oiled machine!

3. Appoint a leader

Teams work best with an efficient, experienced, and qualified leader. Take a look at the team you've assembled and appoint the best person for the job.

You need someone who can delegate across all the different components of the team and keep things organised. They should know how each team member's skill set contributes to the bigger picture so that they can keep things on track and aligned with the end goal.

4. Educate and train your teams

Digital transformation isn't a walk in the park. No matter how experienced or skilled each one of your team members is, you'll definitely need to allow for training and education about your digital transformation strategy. This will help align the team with your goals and ensure they're all on the same page.

Another benefit of training is that you can measure practical tasks, communication, and performance over the training period. This, in turn, can help you to assess how good your leaders are at their jobs. You may also find that step 3 becomes easier after this step as people demonstrate their leadership skills.

5. Define goals and timelines clearly

A cross-functional, digital transformation team is nothing without a shared goal to work towards. However, each team member will have their own purpose and their own goals to work towards.

Allow your team leaders to work together to define their goals. Each department or specialists' input is important here as they can provide valuable insight on how best to achieve the set goals. With a cross-functional team, it's important to note that the roles of the team members may change over time. As such, the leader needs to be able to adapt and be prepared for these changes.

Lastly, set clear timelines for each goal. This ensures that everyone knows what they're doing and when they need to complete their objectives. With clear goals, experienced team members, and great team leaders, any challenges can be swiftly overcome!

6. Make communication and collaboration easy

Good communication between team members is crucial! To achieve this, you need to establish effective lines of communication. And there's no denying that technology and digitalisation can make communication and collaboration easier. Set up a chat channel, social feed to collect intelligence across the organisation and share guidelines on using these channels.

With a digital workspace in place, your team members can stay up to date with each other's progress and know exactly what is needed next. In doing so, they can work together more effectively to achieve your company's digital transformation strategy.

Final Thoughts: Cross-functional teams for digital transformation

Having a cross-functional team in place can make your journey toward digital transformation a more successful one. A team made up of people from different departments will be able to come up with the best strategies and solutions as they can provide perspectives from each aspect of your business.

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