It's safe to say that the term "digital transformation" is on the minds of most executives and many see digital initiatives as stand-alone technology projects. A bit like early e-commerce projects, these projects are very often done in isolation and not appropriately synched-up with the wider business.
However, how do you bring about a successful change that acknowledges the impact of technology and embraces it? How do you avoid investing heavily at the start to only scale down rapidly?
The article below captures the lessons from some of the high profile (including GE, Nike, P&G etc.) failures. Most of the lessons point to the fact than an appropriate commercial context needs to be understood and the change to people/process and current IT systems is required. Some of the points include -
a) Never lose sight of the broader economy and the desirability of your offering.
b) You need to mix people, process and technology, with all the messiness this entails.
c) Foundational investment is required in cleaning-up of existing IT systems and skills.
d) The investments need to be calibrated as per your industry readiness, especially in terms of customers and competitors.
Second, digital is not just a thing that you can you can buy and plug into the organization. It is multi-faceted and diffuse, and doesn’t just involve technology. Digital transformation is an ongoing process of changing the way you do business. It requires foundational investments in skills, projects, infrastructure, and, often, in cleaning up IT systems. It requires mixing people, machines, and business processes, with all of the messiness that entails. It also requires continuous monitoring and intervention, from the top, to ensure that both digital leaders and non-digital leaders are making good decisions about their transformation efforts.