Digital Transformation

Digital Transformation – Strategy Development in the Digital Age

The Seven Action Fields of Digital Transformation

Under the direction of Prof Dr Marc K Peter, the FHNW School of Business completed a major study on the drivers, barriers and practical implementations of digital transformation.

At the core of the research stands the identification and description of the seven action fields of digital transformation, which were determined on the basis of 4,862 project descriptions from 2,590 study participants. These action fields cover the constant customer orientation, digital business development, new leadership and management approaches as well as organisational work methods, optimised and automated processes, digital marketing, the use of new technologies, smart data and the cloud.

The How-To-Guide for Digital Transformation

The objective of digital transformation is to transform an organisation into a form in which it can achieve and maintain a competitive advantage/position in the digital age. Transformation initiatives require an analysis of the market, customers, and new technologies as well as internal values, processes and resources. The output is a digital strategy with a clear vision, new business options and an implementation roadmap (a digital master plan).

Here, the Digital Transformation Canvas plays an important role as it facilities strategy analysis and development based on the seven action fields of transformations. Each action field includes a brief definition and a set of questions for workshops with strategy, HR, IT, finance, marketing, product, and project teams in your organisation.

The digital transformation strategy can be planned as a strategic initiative, which will subsequently be implemented in several strategic initiatives and projects. The following simplified process is recommended:

Step 1:

Digital Maturity Analysis

The digital maturity of the organisation is determined with the maturity analysis (e.g., via in order to define the most important topics for the transformation initiative. This allows for an initial discussion and determination of strategic priorities.

Step 2:

Digital Opportunities (Workshop Canvas)

In a second step, the seven action fields of digital transformation will be discussed, and initial project potential and digital opportunities are outlined. Here, the digital transformation workshop canvas from Prof Dr Marc K Peter is recommended as it provides practical guidance and key questions for workshops.

Step 3:

Strategy Development (ACT Method)

In the third step, the digital vision and the unique value proposition are described. This includes the development and implementation of digital business options, definition of products and services in the value chain and the required core processes with their IT requirements. It is recommended to use the ACT method (Analyse, Create, Transform) from Prof Dr Marc K Peter with the 24 most important topics/questions for strategy development in the digital age.

Step 4:

The Digital Master Plan (Digital Roadmap)

The resulting digital master plan (or digital roadmap / implementation plan) includes the definition of initiatives and projects in the classic sense. It is recommended to define a feasible project scope, to work with external partners and, where appropriate, to identify quick wins.

Step 5:

Implementation of the Digital Master Plan

In the fifth step, the digital master plan with all defined projects will be implemented – successfully and sustainably. To this end, the organisation uses project management to plan and implement all initiatives, change management to actively communicate and support all activities, and digital leadership to strengthen the leadership and corporate culture in the organisation.


A digital transformation strategy provides a foundation to redevelop and infuse innovation into a business / an organisation in the digital age. Digital transformation can be planned and implemented as a strategic initiative or as the core of the contemporary corporate strategy, with the seven action fields of digital transformation offering a practice-validated checklist.

Research paper about the seven action fields of digital transformation

Practical guidance with the workshop canvas for digital transformation

University research reports (in German)

Back to top