A minefield called

digital transformation

Whether you embrace digital, or just accept its inevitability, your transformation will be neither quiet nor cheap.

 

It's too important to go wrong.

And yet it often does, due to 12 threats.

PEOPLE

Cross-functional empathy

Digital transformation is meant to transform the organisation as a whole. It’s necessary to align all minds and bring others on board to be aware of its necessity and importance, so they would buy the idea of transforming the way they used to get their job done.

Imposed vs heart-felt alignment

The alignment needed for digital transformation shouldn’t be an initiative inflicted on the company. A successful digital transformation requires a collective understanding of how things stand, a genuine consensus on how things should be, and a culture of collaboration to build a seamless operational model.

Bias vs fact: collective clarity

If your team believes the decisions on digital transformation are led by partiality toward technology or some biassed business perceptions, they would hardly support the transformation. Data-driven analysis of the current situation and a factful argument on the results of digital transformation is what can build coherence.

Digital skills gap & culture

A digitally transformed company would have updated procedures and new tools. Your team probably needs new skills to adapt to the digitalization and application of new technologies. Culture is the other important factor affecting how this change is managed. You might need to alter your organisational culture as well.

JOURNEY

Big bang vs Agile transformation

Agile transformation is an approach to managing changes iteratively and incrementally. On the other hand, in the Big-bang approach, the organisation decides to scale the transformation in the whole organisation, all at once. Although transforming everything altogether seems tempting, it usually is neither practical nor productive.

Competing priorities

In digital transformation, there is a long list of things to transform. So to stay agile, you must prioritise different items regarding your business strategy, requirements, and resources. When you analyse your business based on data, you would have enough facts to follow practices like the 80/20 rule.

Top-down vs bottom-up

There are three ways to approach the digital transformation objectives: Top-down, bottom-up, or hybrid. In the top-down approach, the leadership makes decisions. In the bottom-up approach, teams contribute to objectives. Each method has advantages and disadvantages, and you can adopt one or a hybrid due to your organisational conditions.

Getting worse before getting better

Digital transformation improves the state of an organisation. Still, in this process, to a degree, things worsen before getting better. This dip is the nature of almost any change. The transformation is inherently a resource reallocation. So for a while, some aspects would be exacerbated and then enhanced.

TECHNOLOGY

Product-lead vs process-lead selection

Digital transformation targets the value and how the value is created in two approaches. In a product-lead approach, the main target is the end value for customers and their needs. Process-lead approach considers the complete processes in the value chain, and it is more thorough compared to product-lead.

Over-automation & under-automation

Almost every digital transformation practice, to an extent, includes automation. It shouldn’t be excessive in a way that fails to account for human factors, and consequently, processes become over-automated. It should overlook the necessary processes which need to be automated. Therefore under-automation makes the potential growth out of reach.

Unmeasured fitness-for-purpose

In business, if you can’t measure something, you probably fail to improve it. In digitization and technology adoption, you need to evaluate how these tools are contributing to the intended purpose of digital transformation. It's imperative to keep improvising and evolving in order to get closer to your goals.

Fancy-ware vs BAU-ware

Digital transformation targets the processes within the company, so the standardised concept of Business as Usual (BAU) wouldn’t last and will transform. And if the company undertakes digital transformation without a vision, it might be trapped in the illusion of transformation by replacing old technologies with new fancy ones.