Digital Transformation Is Not Just About Technology

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Business Transformation with CoronaAs digital technologies continue to evolve, organizations struggle to keep up and get it right. The coronavirus pandemic has intensified and fast-tracked that process as organizations have been forced to quickly shift to new remote and online business models. These digital changes are both a challenge and an opportunity. The reality is they do not always come easily and have often resulted in failed outcomes.

Widespread challenge

An MIT survey revealed that 87 percent of managers and executives anticipate a digital technology disruption in their industries. Yet, less than 30 percent of digital transformations actually succeed, according to a McKinsey Global Survey. Even digitally savvy industries, such as high tech, media, and telecom, are failing. The McKinsey data further shows that among these industries, the success rate does not exceed 26 percent. In more traditional industries, such as oil and gas, automotive, infrastructure, and pharmaceuticals, digital transformations are even more challenging: success rates fall to between 4 and 11 percent.

Wrong directions and uncertainty

While technology is an essential component of problem solving, it is not a global panacea. Many organizations often tend to add a technology and expect that by incorporating a new feature or application, a problem will eventually be solved and disappear. But a “build it and they will come” philosophy doesn’t always work when it comes to effective digital transformation. Even before digital transformations, there are a variety of reasons why failure has very little to do with technology. They include:

Create a clear strategy

So, how can organizations ensure the successful outcome of any digital transformation? They can start by answering these key questions.

Before implementing any technology-related changes, organizations need to create an effective digital strategy that takes into account the people the solution will benefit and the process and data incorporated into that solution. By tailoring the solution to the problems, the organization will attain an effective outcome with an acceptable return on the investment.

Measure and adjust

To accurately evaluate the progress of the project, develop an objectives and key results framework for defining and tracking goals and outcomes. As organizations move through the transformation process, they need to measure and examine the changes to ensure that the outcomes remain relevant to the original vision. Data needs to be reviewed but collect data with a goal and with the knowledge of why it is being collected. Go back and check to ensure that value is being added or that problems are being solved, and that features are not being implemented simply because they seem awesome. Review the original questions related to the project vision. Continually evaluate the project and the organization to ensure that the digital update meets the needs and mission.

Continue to evolve

Digital transformation results will be more effective for organizations that develop a strategy and follow a purpose. Rather than simply adding a technology, it is essential to have a clear understanding of their customers, what problem needs solving, how technology can provide a solution, then measuring and modifying along the way. Organizations that take the time to define and adhere to their purpose and goal in adding new technologies, will evolve and meet the needs of their clients. It's an investment worth making to ensure an organization’s efficiency, health and growth.

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