IFAC & cloudThing’s PAO Digital Assessment Tool Part 2: Assessing Your Organization’s Vision & Strategies Ahead of a Digital Transformation
cloudThing | February 19, 2021
IFAC recently teamed up with cloudThing to offer our membership a free Digital Assessment tool that would assess an organization’s Digital Readiness ahead of a digital transformation project. cloudThing’s PAO Digital Assessment tool has been designed to measure how digitally ‘mature’ an organization is, or where they already are on their individual digital transformation journey.
The Tool will be open for PAOs to complete from November 12, 2020, to March 31, 2021. During this time, IFAC's main objective is to help PAOs complete the tool and understand, interpret, and prioritize their results. The results, (after being thoroughly anonymized) will allow IFAC, working in conjunction with cloudThing, to assess the digital readiness of the accountancy profession as a whole and strategize future support.
The Digital Assessment tool is broken down into different sections. The first section is focused on how an organization’s Culture & Capability is geared up to empower digital transformation. Before continuing to Part 2 on Vision & Strategy, read our article on Culture & Capability here.
PAO Digital Assessment Tool Part 2 – Vision & Strategy
Assessing the Organizational Structure of a PAO
The first sub-section of the Vison & Strategy portion of the Digital Assessment tool was put together to assess how the organization and hierarchy of the PAO has been put together to support the timely and effective delivery of digital services, innovative membership experiences, operational efficiency, and digital transformation.
Your organizational structure should empower your entire operation to:
- Facilitate digital leadership and culture, both internally and for your sector as a whole.
- Motivate and empower your teams to translate your corporate strategy into an ‘owned’ digital vision that is embedded into everyone’s daily working practices.
- Identify the teams that will be most required to facilitate digital transformation and sustain your digital service delivery.
- Support cross-functional teams to work more effectively on digital innovation.
- Remove the barriers and blockers to innovation, adoption, and change management.
How ‘Visible’ Is Your Organization’s Strategy?
Digital service adoption will be unlikely unless you also bring your staff and members along on the journey. That means your digital vision and strategy should be clearly communicated to both groups. Vision and strategy includes your value propositions, different audiences, approach to tooling, delivery, and resourcing as well as communicating the benefits of digital transformation.
This section of the assessment seeks to measure all the above by evaluating a PAO’s ability to:
- Provide strategic direction while ensuring all activity is aligned and contributing to the corporate digital vision.
- Demonstrate a clear understanding of the organization’s target audience(s), market(s), and customers and the ability to communicate with them effectively.
- Effectively communicate the idea that digital transformation can deliver meaningful value by reducing overlapping services.
- Budget and benchmark KPI tracking for a more effective decision-making process.
- Offer coherent digital service experiences, targeted innovations, and effective omni-channel marketing.
Does Your Organization Use Open-Source Solution Principles?
While mentioning ‘Open-Source Principles’ may sound incredibly ‘techy,’ at its core, it is quite a simple concept, and this part of the Digital Assessment tool seeks to understand how firmly this principle is embedded within an organization.
Open Solutions Principles ensure that software design and builds are not dependent on specific operating system software or any one piece of hardware. The principles require standards that support movability, which are often called open standards and are important when working with partners to avoid vendor lock-in or when trying to iterate online services offered quickly.
More and more software offerings are only available as open-source. Especially cloud based solutions.
The reason the Digital Assessment tool puts so much emphasis on Open-Source Principals is that they:
- Enable faster innovation.
- Allow an organization to pivot or change with increased flexibility and agility.
- Can reduce overall support and maintenance costs.
- Can lower development costs.
- Attract better talent if developing in-house using open source.
- Help future proof the organization.
How ‘Cloud-First’ Is Your Organization?
Technological approaches prefer the delivery of enterprise grade architectural objectives via modern cloud-based solutions over traditional self-hosted applications. Cloud-based plans can deliver immediate and numerous benefits.
This portion of the assessment will measure how ‘cloud-first’ an organization is so it can:
- Leverage years of research and experience behind cloud-based propositions.
- Place the organization, its users, and all associated functional requirements as a central focus of solutions instead of diverting towards managing and running self-managed platforms.
- Support modern architectural practices of building small, reusable components over large, monolithic software that still requires significant investment to build, operate and maintain.
- Quickly realize the benefits from recent advances in technology, supported by a capable, scalable platform while benefiting from the collective evolution of the ecosystem.
- Benefit from economies of scale and reduced costs enabled by consumption-based pricing, thereby minimizing significant, upfront investments.
- Leverage the power of technology for a deeper engagement with their membership base.
How Often Does Your Organization Conduct A Digital Focused Consultation?
The final step regarding an organization’s Vision & Strategy is in how they go about reviewing their products and services. Ideally, this should be done by an external source with a focus on customer self-service through digital means, e.g., web portals or mobile apps.
Having an external source help measure these goals leads to:
- Increased customer satisfaction.
- Lower operating costs.
- The discovery of new services.
Complete Your Assessment!
Locate the email sent on behalf of IFAC Membership, with the subject line, "IFAC PAO Digital Readiness Assessment Tool Launch." Your organization's unique access link will be located within.
Check out IFAC’s PAO Digital Transformation Series webpage which houses helpful resources, articles and videos on Digital Transformation and is regularly updated!
cloudThing: cloudThing, based in the UK, is a technology company that help organizations such as the British Red Cross, The South African Institute of Accountants, and the Institute of Chartered Accountants (England & Wales) to name but a few, digitally transform by taking advantage of the automation technology available to them on the cloud.