Digital Transformation by Toyota North America: Lessons Learned

Digital Transformation by Toyota North America Lessons Learned”

In my previous post, I described digital transformation insights by Alan Trefler, Pega CEO, and Jeanne Ross, director of the MIT Center for Information Systems Research (CISR).

Now I want to show you a practical example of digital transformation presented by the Toyota North America team: Mylene Mayers, Divisional Information Officer, Keith Skiddle, Technology Senior Manager, and Chris Ansert, National Manager Information Systems.

In the course of 4 years, the team led by Mylene, Keith and Chris were able to switch from Waterfall to Agile and develop a set of applications that helped Toyota North America improve product quality dramatically. The main achievement of this team is that they aligned their business needs with their IT capabilities, broke silos and managed to get their IT and business to work as one solid team towards a common goal.

Below you will find the most important lessons learned by Toyota. I encourage you to consider this as advice to those businesses that plan a strategic digital transformation and are unsure in which areas to invest:

  • Set up proper project governance. If correctly set up, processes can help find and eliminate problems before your customers even notice them
  • Try to build a system so that it is easy to reuse its components.
  • Do not underestimate the product owner role. It is a key liaison between the business and IT.
  • Be open-minded and listen to people. Remember what Alan Trefler said? “We need to be able to put ourselves in the heart of the matter, and understand what the true needs are… ”

It is not a complete list of lessons learned shared by presenters, but for me, it is a foundation for each digital transformation project.

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