Digital transformation is now a fundamental part of continuous business transformation and has become an essential part of delivering better outcomes across all functions.

Perhaps your organisation has already been through a program to digitise the customer experience but might not have yet modernised other key business functions?

The potential complexity may be holding you back. If you are daunted by digital, here are four recommendations to help you adopt it as a natural part of what you do.

Don't patch up what you have today

For companies managing their business functions on ‘legacy technology,’ the era of incremental business improvements and organic technology evolution has passed. New ways of working and updated operating models are required.

Real transformation begins by looking at business modernisation from a new vantage point – adopting industry best practice in every function and to then continuously adapt in an ever-shifting environment.

This is rarely achieved by patching up what you already have.  Instead, look for transformation solutions that can show you a clear route to modern functional operating models enabled by modern digital technology platforms.

It isn't all about the technology

With creaking processes, legacy platforms, siloed data that lacks insight and a shortage of skilled talent, transformation can seem overwhelming. Surely this can easily be solved by implementing a new tech platform?

While a new tech platform is likely to be part of the answer, if you don’t take the opportunity to adopt new processes and ways of working, what you get out of it could just be a faster version of what you had before.

By taking a business-led future focus you can deliver much more value – realising process efficiencies (e.g., cost reduction), business effectiveness (e.g., supporting growth opportunities) and improved controls.

Look inwards to look outwards

89 percent of CEOs believe digitisation of operations and the creation of next-generation operating models has accelerated by months or years.

This is because they recognise the importance of digital transformation. Not all operating models are the same. As a rule, the broader and deeper the reach of that operating model, the better the potential outcomes. 

For functional transformation, an efficient target operating model should extend beyond people-process-technology to have a lasting impact:

Functional process

Predefined, leading-practice processes across different business divisions, fast-tracking your transformation with proven ways of working.


Who does what, why, and how. Identifying the skills, roles, and responsibilities your business requires.

Service delivery model

Where the work gets done, shared service center, centers of excellence, and outsourcing operating models to optimise service delivery.


The applications and integrations to enable and automate your processes.

Performance insights and data

Identifying what data and insights are needed to support decisions. Enhanced analytics from which to make confident and effective real-time decisions.


Risk and internal controls for every process – who’s responsible for what and defining the controls environment and frameworks.

Used in the right way, an effective target operating model can allow you to explore what the optimised function could look like for you, and how to get you there. This may seem inwardly focused, but it’s essential to use it to build a digital future model that can face the outside world across your entire business value chain.

A new way of operating

A holistic transformation approach is likely to lead to the best business outcome. By focusing on business outcomes, technology is used as an enabler, ensuring that business improvements are continuous and impactful.

You may have tried before and failed. Or you might be a part of an organisation that typically just patches things up but know in your heart that you need to do something different now.

To get there look at transformation from a fresh vantage point. 

Learn more about functional transformation with KPMG by downloading our eBook.

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