In today’s digital era, digital customer transformation is a must for any company. Realizing their digital transformation ambitions is, however, a challenge for most companies. Based on an extensive track record in the field, globally and at companies of all sizes, BearingPoint has developed a nine-step approach for turning digital ambitions into tangible results. 

To make the digital transformation work, going through the nine steps alone won't work. There are five guiding principles that make the methodology successful. 


The nine steps of the approach  

The BearingPoint Fast Forward methodology is based on an outside-in perspective and is executed in co-creation with the client's business. Nine clear steps of the BearingPoint Fast Forward approach look into both the technical and non-technical factors of a digital transformation.  

Step 1. Digital ambition 

The first step, digital ambition, establishes the organization needs and/or what the organization wants to achieve. To achieve an integrated view, stakeholders of all different entities within the organization such as the business, IT and (Enterprise) architecture need to share and discuss their ambitions and points of view. 

Taking an outside-in approach (design-led by the needs of customers) is the starting point. Through a process of open dialogue we aim for mutual understanding, and by involving various stakeholders, we achieve a clear ownership from the start. 

Step 2. Differentiators 

This step involves exploring how the (digital) needs of customers can be fulfilled in a differentiated manner. A number of strategies can be followed here, such as differentiation in price, service, access, product or experience. 

With this in mind, organizations should determine what positioning they want to achieve per product/service. Do they want to be top of mind for customers and achieve a dominant status, or rather opt for a differentiated more tailored approach, or even one of parity, where their products/services are at parity with industry peers. 

Step 3. Value drivers 

Based on the digital ambition (set in the first step), and the differentiator (set in the second step), organizations now need to determine the related value drivers to measure the ‘value’ for the client. This then paves the way for refining the value proposition. 

The value proposition is what the customer values. It can be a product, a service or even an experience. Understanding the value drivers requires insight in the so-called benefit logic – shedding light on the key customer experience moments and the design science behind them. 

Step 4. Personas 

This step focuses on getting a detailed understanding of the different type of customers and what their needs and pain-points are (‘pains and gains’). Step into the shoes of a customer and imitate his/her brain to develop a persona: an archetype of a person, that describes their goals, interests, and aptitudes. 

Down the line, several personas will be identified, enabling organizations to identify different needs and pain points, and hence develop different customer journeys. However, beware of creating too many personas, and start with the most important ones that are essential to the digital ambition. 

Step 5. Customer journey 

In this step, the customer journey is defined per persona. As a starter, address the needs and pain-points during the customer journey. Then, map the other needs of customers, including the contact points and critical nodes of the process. This will lead to omnichannel journeys, covering all relevant channels across the customer lifecycle.

Strongly recommended is to actually talk with customers in this phase to get the best outside-in perspective possible. Validate these findings and test their feasibility. 

Step 6. Idea selection 

The customer journeys are input to define ideas that will resolve the customer’s pains and help them achieve their gains. In order to bring these ideas to life, it's crucial to map these ideas on a matrix addressing customer value versus ease of implementation. 

This exercise helps organizations filter out the ‘quick wins’ – ideas that add much value and can be executed rather easily. Further, for green-lit concepts, an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) is developed. Next to that a process and measurement metrics (related to the defined value drivers) are defined. 

Step 7. Capability mapping 

The key question in this step: What capabilities (people, process, technology, content and data) are needed to execute? The defined MVP solutions, based on a number of ideas, are mapped against a capability and broken down into smaller pieces of work. Important deliverables of this step are a prioritized backlog, filled with ideas (in Agile Scrum terminology called Epics) and the smaller pieces of work (called User Stories). 

At BearingPoint, we strongly believe in capability thinking. A capability is the ability to perform or achieve certain actions or outcomes, related to people, process & organization, technology and information. Map out which capabilities are needed to bring a User Story to life. This also gives insights into potential dependencies and / or impediments. 

A key element of this step is – again - that it is performed with all relevant stakeholders, to create a shared offering and broad support. 

Step 8. Sprints 

With a filled and prioritized backlog, this step starts building the solution based on the agile way of working (Scrum). In a number of sprints the defined MVP is delivered, while the Product Owner maintains ownership to deliver continuous value. After every sprint the deliverables are measured and validated, which leads to tweaks and changes. 

In parallel, the transformation team continuously works on feeding the backlog with new ideas, user stories and MVPs, which will be an extension of the previously delivered MVP. In this way, the overall solution, which is based on a number of MVPs, will grow in a controlled and centralized way. At the end of each iteration, the goal is to deliver (and make available) the MVP solution to the final customer. 

Step 9. Value acceleration 

In the previous step, the MVP solution is delivered to the client by using sprints. During the Test & Learn phase, feedback is gathered from the client and small adjustments can be applied. If after this phase the MVP solution is accepted, it is key to share the solution to a larger group of customers (based on a specific persona), or even to different countries. 

As the functionality is accepted, scaling is easier. If for instance the solution is rolled out to another country, the only change required is localization and tailoring to local audiences. Based on this, the amount of work required, the capabilities and the level of support (like training) can be determined. 

It is clear that the digital transformation continues after the Sprints and Acceleration steps. Normally the learnings from these phases are reviewed and serve as input for a new cycle, with potentially other value drivers and ideas, or based on new customer insights. The Fast Forward methodology enables and accelerates the digital journey, but the journey will always be evolving and open for further improvement and adjustment.

Our guiding principles 

The nine steps of the BearingPoint Fast Forward methodology guide our clients in their digital transformation. The methodology is unique in different ways and proved to be successful for many of our clients. Related to the methodology and key to the success, we apply five principles: 

  1. Aligned organization. We break siloes, with our workshop-based approach involving of people from across functions.
  2. Speed to value. By focusing on the value drivers, we deliver MVPs that bring highest value first. We test, learn and improve. Speed over perfection.
  3. End-to-End. Our holistic approach integrates and secures the translation of strategy into execution.
  4. Outside-in. The heart of our methodology is the customer, ensuring to have the customer first.
  5. Transformation. We believe in co-creation to reveal hidden needs and get commitment to identified plans. You cannot change alone. 


The Fast Forward methodology helps companies embark on their Digital Transformation. Starting with translating the strategic ambition of an organization and demonstrating quick value by applying the 'Test & Learn' principle helps organizations to move forward to bring their strategy to life. Organizations can deliver value from the start by making sure that both business and IT people are involved from the start and including the 'real' customer and focus on value.  


Patrick de Vries