How to Prioritize Digital Transformation in Economic Uncertainty

Ken Gray - Senior Digital Experience Strategist

24 Jan 2023

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January 23, was National Pie Day which not only made me hungry but got me thinking about organizations that are rethinking their expenditures within the current climate of economic uncertainty and their shrinking revenue pies. My train of thought was on how we can help them make good on their digital transformation objectives and goals. After all, the importance of digital transformation for governments and organizations hasn't changed and it is still an enabler for sustainable growth, innovation, gaining a competitive advantage, and improving customer reach and satisfaction. 

It didn't take long before the idea hit me like a pie in the face. Companies and governments could use the PIE Framework. What? Too much pie in those last two sentences? Never! Especially if it's pumpkin, pecan, or banana cream pie. But I digest, I mean digress. 

So what is the PIE framework?

The PIE framework was originally developed by Widerfunnel Founder, Chris Goward to determine priorities for website optimization. PIE is an acronym for Potential, Important, and Ease and we've easily adapted it for processes and projects where determining priorities was needed. Each criterion is given a rating scale from 1 to 10 which is summed and averaged to give you a PIE Score. The higher the score the higher the priority.

TIP: How you define each criterion will be determined by your specific industry or project. Here are some questions in each category to get you thinking about how to define your PIE.


How much improvement can be made with the proposed change? What are the changes that a customer would notice and or has been asking for the most? You can also look at "new initiatives" that open new markets.


Which change would have the greatest return on investment? A higher-cost change that brings in revenue to fund other changes is better than a low-cost change that doesn't bring in any revenue. What transformation is a requirement in order to make other transformations possible?


How easy is the change to implement from a technical standpoint? And equally important, is how easy is it to get buy-in from the leaders in order to proceed. Is the cost too high, thus requiring longer conversations with higher-ups? Or is there a preapproved budget and a strategic plan in place with the items already agreed upon that the transformation recommendations fall into?

Other Uses for PIE

When I first learned about the PIE framework (almost a decade ago) I fell in love but didn't understand the many nuances and areas it could be used. I was too busy with too many "priorities"...sigh! This brings me to the first use...

Goals, Ideas, and Task Lists

I get a million ideas and requests a day so knowing how to prioritize them and execute them through to completion is essential to my success as a digital strategist and transformation coach/consultant. By plotting the ideas or tasks on a spreadsheet with my PIE ranking and PIE Score calculation built-in, I can quickly assess and sort the items and know my priorities for any given interval whether it's weekly, monthly, quarterly, etc.


While working on a project recently it became apparent that we needed something to help us make recommendations to our client so they could make some important decisions and set priorities for their digital transformation over the next two to five years. We used the PIE framework once again.

In Closing

If you are trying to figure out your digital transformation priorities given an uncertain economic outlook, you can use and adapt the PIE framework in three easy steps:

  1. Define the PIE criteria and scale. What do Potential, Importance, and Ease mean for your project or organization? Pick a scale. I find 1 to 10 works well.
  2. Plot the items on a spreadsheet and rank each one. Your rankings are not written in stone so don't worry about getting it 100% right the first time. You can adjust the rankings based on feedback or after deeper thought.
  3. Sort by the PIE score and get buy-in. Then execute.

If things change or new items arise, rinse and repeat to get your new/next PIEorities. 😉

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Ken Gray

Ken is a two-time Sitecore Strategy MVP who has been working with the Sitecore platform since 2011. He has over 20 years of experience in business analysis, software development, content management systems, marketing, and digital strategy.

Ken’s passion for digital marketing and personalization along with his coaching and training abilities, aids Konabos in helping dozens of Content Authors and Sitecore Marketers improve their productivity and knowledge of Sitecore; thus maximizing each client’s return on investment. 

In short, Ken makes the complex toolset of Sitecore, simple.

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