Albert Einstein once said, “You can’t use an old map to explore a new world”.

Well, fast forward to 2024 and these words of wisdom are as relevant as ever in today’s era of constant digital disruption.

Everywhere we look, companies across all industries are facing an existential choice: transform or die. The proliferation of technologies; AI, automation, big data, and the cloud are rapidly reshaping how businesses operate and deliver value. Embracing these innovations is no longer a matter of competitive edge but a prerequisite for survival in an era of accelerated digital transformation.

However, achieving true digital transformation is an immense undertaking that requires careful planning and execution. That’s why developing a comprehensive digital roadmap is critical to long-term success. This actionable plan outlines the strategic direction, key initiatives, implementation phases, and desired future-state outcomes for infusing digital capabilities across your processes, talent, and operations.

What is a digital roadmap?

A digital roadmap serves as a top-level guide, delineating your business’s desired achievements and pinpointing digital initiatives conducive to reaching those goals.

It offers a structured plan of action that harmonises digital initiatives with both immediate and future business aims. Ultimately, developing a digital roadmap aims to empower your organisation to translate its vision into a tangible action plan that navigates risks and guarantees a return on investment from digital initiatives.

Why do commercial functions need a digital roadmap? In fact, why does any function need a roadmap?

The impact of having a formal roadmap cannot be overstated. Research conducted by the Boston Consulting Group reveals that organisations that proactively formulate strategies and allocate resources towards leveraging digital capabilities and technologies, can anticipate a 12-20% increase in their profitability. A roadmap provides vital benefits for maximising your transformation’s long-term value. Furthermore, having a holistic approach means that it is iterative in nature rather than the dreaded ‘big bang’ approach that is fraught with failure statistics.

Here are a few compelling reasons why your procurement function needs a transformative roadmap:

  • Align Procurement with Organisational Goals:

A strategically constructed digital roadmap empowers a Chief Procurement Officer (CPO) to seamlessly align procurement evolution with overarching business objectives.

This roadmap intricately charts how digital initiatives in procurement bolster the organisation’s strategic aims, be cost optimisation, revenue amplification, risk mitigation, or sustainability. By tethering digital endeavours to enterprise-wide goals, the CPO effectively showcases procurement’s value proposition, cementing vital buy-in and resource allocation.

  • Optimise Technology Investments:

Implementing new procurement technologies can be daunting and resource intensive. Yet, a carefully crafted roadmap guides the way, helping identify tailored solutions for pressing needs. It empowers the CPO to navigate technology evaluation and selection in line with strategic objectives, driving quick wins and incremental improvements. A phased implementation approach controls costs, mitigates risks, and reduces technical debt.

  • Drive Organisational Change:

The Boston Consulting Group (2020) found 70% of companies don’t benefit from digital transformation, echoing Gartner’s recent analysis showing 85% of AI initiatives fail due to poor scope, training, and lack of process change. The missing link? Aligning vision with strategy for purpose and direction. McKinsey (2018) highlights that collaboration between senior management and those in transformation roles significantly boosts success rates.

A roadmap fosters alignment and buy-in from key stakeholders across the organisation and recognises an organisation’s capacity for change. This combination can provide an environment in which a successful transformation can flourish.

Nevertheless, there are some potential challenges in roadmap development:

  • Gaining agreement across procurement and IT leadership on priorities and approach
  • Resistance to change from staff accustomed to legacy manual processes
  • Defining requirements and evaluating appropriate digital procurement solutions

Overcoming these obstacles in the beginning can put you on the road to success.

Remember, the digital imperative has never been more urgent. With a cohesive roadmap guiding your transformation from strategy through execution, organisations can unlock powerful new digital capabilities, drive efficiencies, and cultivate a future-ready operating model.

At 4C, we partner with clients to understand their aspirations of success and create a bespoke north-star vision and associated roadmap for their digital transformation journey. If you want to have a no obligation discussion and/or want to collaborate, please reach out to Mark Ellis (Partner) or Joe Gibson (Head of Digital Innovation) or check out our website to discover how we can work together. 


McKinsey (2018): The keys to a successful digital transformation | McKinsey

Boston Consulting Group (2020): The Digital Path to Business Resilience | BCG

Gartner (2018): Gartner Says Nearly Half of CIOs Are Planning to Deploy Artificial Intelligence