What Digital Transformation Is NOT About
By Roland Rust
There is a lot of misconception about term “Digital Transformation”. Since it has become a buzzword, everything that smells from afar to be ‘digital’ is sold under that label. I won’t go into details what digital transformation actually is. There is enough material out there.
Every organization is occupied with a lot of activities that keeps their IT departments busy. These projects might change something for good within the organization. Might even have a positive impact on the business. But they don’t transform it.
Just because an organization gets a smartphone app out or offers some interaction on their website doesn’t mean they are transforming. They simply do their overdue homework. Their business model remains the same.
Another important remark: Digital Transformation depends on innovation. Just because something is new to your organization doesn’t mean it’s innovative, right?
This one scores highest. Every week I get a handful of requests to help organizations with their challenges to implement paperless processes. Don’t get me wrong, but this should have happened fifteen years ago.
The good thing: It is important nonetheless. Positive impact on the ecological footprint. Has a great potential for optimization. Better late than never.
Agility is one of the most important traits to survive upcoming economic and technological changes in my opinion. But agility alone doesn’t mean you’re transforming digitally. I often observe this kind of thinking in organizations which are doing digital business per se. Traditional banking is a good example.
The good thing: Implementing agile practices also transforms an organization in a future oriented way. And any digital transformation strategy is doomed without agility.
Implement Advanced Technology
Especially large companies are trying hard to implement hot technologies such as machine learning, artificial intelligence, block chain, and cloud computing, big data analytics and so forth. Often it’s about self-stylization as being ‘innovative’, without understanding how these technologies can change the way they’ll doing business in the future.
The good thing: Experimenting with new technologies is a sign that the organization is doing well and can afford a research playground. Plus employees start to think outside of the box and might come up with ideas how to change the way they work.
Switching to Cloud Services
Cloud services once were truly an innovation. Today, cloud services are often provided by the same vendors who formerly delivered on premise solutions for the same standardized business processes. Using their tools online might be a novelty for employees. But ‘switching to the cloud’ is just a tech change, not a transformation.
The good thing: Employees will be happy to be able to work from anywhere on a web browser. They will be able to deliver better services to customers. Most of them will think that they now work for a modern company.
Companies always watch their competitors. OMG! They just launched a chat box! We need to get one out as fast as possible! I suggest staying calm. See how it works out for your competitor. Does it really add any value to the customer? Sometimes it is wise to let them waste their money first.
Unfortunately there is no good thing about just quickly copying what your competitors did. At best it’s a waste of resources. At worst it will ruin your reputation.
This article is the result of a lot of discussions via DM. I started to copy paste my explanations. Now I have a single link at my hand to send to people. If you agree, feel free to use it. If not, let me know. I am curious to hear other opinions.
More information about Roland on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/rolandrust/