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Digital Transformation Part 1: How to Adopt & Adapt



Digital Transformation has become a popular buzzword. The need for businesses to evolve how they perform basic functions, deliver goods & services, and interact with customers has pushed even the most rigid traditionalists into the deep end of the digital pool.


The benefits are real. Digitally mature companies are 23% more profitable than their less mature peers. 56% of CEOs say digital improvements led to increased revenue. 71% of digitally mature companies say they can attract new talent based on their use of data. With all these motivators, why do 70% of all digital transformation efforts fail? Let’s explore…


In a world where we celebrate innovators and disruptors, it is easy to fall in love with the promises of new digital solutions and lose sight of the core elements of business transformation strategies. The pressure to be seen as an innovator, or for an organization to be seen as “innovative,” can drive leaders to push forward new solutions before fully evaluating its fit against their business model.


A digital transformation project (like any business transformation project) must begin by aligning with the overall strategic vision of the organization. Once an organization has aligned its digital strategy with its existing business strategy, it should then evaluate the current cultural temperament of the organization. A thoughtful digital transformation project that supports the strategic vision, and is appropriate within the cultural landscape, will have the best chance of achieving the desired impact. These elements make digital transformation a reality rather than just a buzzword.


Leaders should ask… Is our organization ready? Do we understand the cultural impact this solution will have on our organization? Will these improvements make our employees' experiences better?


Beyond that, it is also important to try to identify any gaps that might exist. We should ask… How do we determine if our employees have the skills to understand and implement the new solution? Is our IT department viewed as a strategic leader in the organization that our employees trust?


Spending time on the “people” impact of digital transformation in the beginning of the process helps reduce the fear that is associated with deploying a new tool or technology. It is out of this fear that organizations experience resistance, lack of adoption or outright sabotage often associated with deploying new solutions.



Thinking about cultural and technical considerations allows an organization to develop ideas and thoughts on how to build an effective change management strategy. By equipping employees with the tools and training to understand the strategic value of the solution, the value it will provide, and closing the skills gap where necessary, organizations create advocates throughout their organization.


Once organizations have a firm understanding of the cultural impact, they can begin exploration of different options and involve the key players in order to maintain the champion mindset. From there, the time has come to evaluate solutions. As the focus shifts to the actual solution, it is important to keep an eye on organizational change elements needed (communication strategy, roll out, etc.) throughout the project. It is easy for the technical details of a deployment and pressing deadlines to overshadow the organizational change elements.


Successful organizations check frequently to ensure that the solution delivers on the strategic objectives established in the beginning, and they do not lose sight of those objectives as a result of any concessions made in the deployment. They also work diligently throughout the process to build buy-in, excitement, trust and ownership of the solution among all employees.



Our next post will delve deeper into processes that help organizations evaluate culture alongside technological readiness. Cultural readiness looks at the information needed to build out organizational strategy so employees are advocates and owners of the solution being built. Technological readiness looks at information needed to evaluate solutions against the current tech ecosystem in an organization, and strategic data objectives in place.





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