A recent survey of directors, CEOs, and senior executives found that digital transformation (DT) risk was their #1 concern in 2019. Yet, 70% of all DT initiatives do not reach their goals. Of the $1.3 trillion spent on DT last year, it was estimated that $900 billion went to waste.
Most companies have a fundamental misunderstanding of what Digital Transformation means for their organization and how it needs to be orchestrated. We are in 2021; if an Organization is not Digitally transformed, you are already or almost out of business. It is a harsh fact.
To avoid disruption and become the innovative disruptor, making the necessary changes to implement Digital transformation at an organizational level is imperative.
Digital transformation is the only way to sustain the business and grow, open the doors for business expansion opportunities, introduce learning possibilities for the workforce, build ease of business for vendors/partners, and create an excellent experience for any business's essential component.
With that being said, can an Organization become Digitally transformed just like that?
Digital Transformation must be driven like a large high-stake project in tandem with every department's leadership and involvement and go phase by phase to achieve Digital maturity at an Organization level.
When I say it should be executed like a project, I mean it should evolve towards a Digital culture, step by step, based on maturity's current status. Of course, such change comes with interim risks, which must be considered, like in any other project.
It is crucial to align the organization's core values to the Digital qualities you want to acquire. There must be a holistic view and sense of ownership from each touchpoint of the organization. Everyone must be aligned and should understand why such transformation is essential for the changes and their benefit.
There are seven defined actions for this transformation journey; however, in how many steps you execute is all on a case-by-case basis or driven by your organization's current maturity level –
1. Assess where you are now:
Well, you indeed have a culture within your organization, and there will be many, if not all, aspects that you may want to keep. But to what extent does your organization act in a way that aligns with your digital values?
Assess your organization's capabilities by creating a GAP analysis or where your organization might be doing well or falling short.
- Technology: Do you have the tools necessary to deliver on your digital values?
- Processes: the digital world moves fast – are you up for the speed in decision making and action?
- People: is your Organization people-empowered? Unless your employees are equipped with the right skill-set and equally have the freedom to get on what they can deliver the best – you will always be pushing the water uphill.
2. Develop your leaders for the Digital Age:
For such change, the Leadership role is crucial and must focus on setting strategy, vision, and expectations. Digital transformation brings transparency and is essential for all stakeholders to understand its meaning and be driven from top to bottom.
Gone are the days when the leader seldom knows everything and steers the ship through command and control. New leadership values must include:
- Openness to ideas
- Embracing transparency across the organization
- Networked thinking
- Leading with examples and not managing by authority
- Permitting to fail, only to succeed ahead
- Data-driven results
- Always learning and adapting
3. Culture eats strategy for breakfast:
Digital, by its very core nature, is connected. It's critical to ensure that your organization is connected and aligned with your digital core values.
Your culture defines the groundwork and lays the very foundation of your success. As Peter Drukker said: "Culture eats strategy for breakfast" – What he meant was that your competitors could easily replace a strategy, but when it comes to culture – it is much harder to copy as it is made up of more fluid parts. Another most critical factor is collaboration, as Digital transformation can't be driven in silos in this journey.
4. Careful Decision Making:
New processes cannot just replace the current methods, so the focus must be to fix the current processes and evolve to align to organization and transformation strategy. Process change decisions that aren't thought through could lead to a drastic impact.
5. Consider Amazon's "Two Pizza team" rule:
Jeff Bezos believes that no matter how large your company gets, individual teams shouldn't be larger than what two pizzas can feed. Bigger teams are not only cumbersome and harder to manage, but it's even tough to come to a consensus.
6. Tool up with Technology:
Digital culture is not about upgraded technology, but the technology still forms a vital part of the transformation.
- Investing in the right kind of technology enables your staff to learn new skills, relate to your customer, and be the best at their service.
- Create multiple opportunities for your employees to be physically exposed to the new, upcoming technologies – right from Virtual Reality to wearable technology. This removes barriers such as confusion, misunderstanding, and fear.
7. Finally, it is a process:
Keep monitoring the changes, and continue evolving continuously.
The above actions can help your organization build a digital culture that bridges the management's gaps and your employees' base. It will also cultivate an open culture that embraces collaboration and communication and increases productivity and innovation.
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