Digital transformation through McKinsey’s 7S Model

Glass building with the sky reflecting
Glass building with the sky reflecting (Photo credit: Josh Calabrese)

The McKinsey 7S model is an academic model that is taught in many business and MBA courses throughout the world. Although this model was first introduced in the 1980s, it has critical elements that can help enable a successful digital transformation. We will highlight those element we consider critical in this article – strategy, staff, skills and system.

The most effective tenet of an effective digital transformation is having an effective strategy. It begins at the top with the overall corporate strategy, this should translate into a digital strategy that best enables that overarching strategy of a firm. The 7S model teaches that strategy, is the first of the seven Ss and that the strategy needs to be aligned with all the other areas of the model.

The next component of the model that also applies to digital transformation is staff. Staff refers to the number of employees needed for the project, how they are recruited, trained and motivated to execute the required procedures for the achievement of a firm’s overall strategy.

When looking at a digital transformation project, you want to make sure you have the right and the best people on the project, the best equipped to execute the strategy. You need to ensure that you align the skill sets of the people with the transformation. Be it technical skills in terms of learning the technology that is being deployed. Skills refers to the actual capabilities of the employees in carrying out the digital transformation project. Projects will require staff members with different capabilities. There will be those employees who have to have the technical training in coding, for example, and others with skills in project management organizational change to ensure that the organization keeps up with the transformation and changes in general.

The next component of the McKenzie model that is critical to digital transformation is system is the technology the organization needs to implement. Systems are often the focus of digital transformation on the surface, but the successful implementation of systems is dependent on the other six components of the model. All six of those other areas need to be aligned to ensure that everyone was on the same page.  Make sure you have a clear direction, clearly defined strategy, structure, skills, etc. before starting to look at systems.

When you are viewing and assessing your digital transformation, use the McKinsey 7S model to help you figure out how aligned you are and to make sure you have addressed the critical components of what it takes to be effective in your transformation. Often, companies focus on the systems part of the model or maybe they focus on one or two other areas, but you need all seven components of this model to fit together and align well. All components should be part of your overall digital strategy.

Micromoments is a technology company to the core, born out of a strong desire to change the narrative about software development in Jamaica.

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