Digital transformation is more than ‘the new black’

Digital transformation is more than ‘the new black’

It’s widely acknowledged, but not often admitted, that many companies don’t know the answers to two vital questions about digital transformation: what is it, and why are we doing it?

Discussions I have with company leaders show that the reasons for this are FOMO – we’d better be doing it, or we’ll miss out. What are we doing with digital transformation? That we aren’t sure, but we must because our CIO or a vendor told us we should.

The drivers and barriers of DT

Digital transformation your company needs is driven by two main forces: to maintain or grow your customer base through enabling innovation and improving customer experience; and to make the operations of your business more efficient through automation and data intelligence.

Numerous studies show that for companies with 100 to 1000 employees, the biggest challenge business leaders cite for struggling with digital transformation is employee pushback.

In my experience, this pushback comes because change is hard, and people are resistant to it – especially if they don’t know why it’s happening.

For example, Gartner’s research [1] shows that while 43 per cent of Australian companies across the board have a desire to embark on a digital transformation, only 8 per cent consider themselves to be harvesting the benefits of it.

More recently, a 2019 study [2] by the firm found short-term investment strategies can slow, or even reverse, digital business transformation progress.

Nothing beats solid reasoning

It is time for a fresh take before we talk up the benefits of digital transformation.

Start by going back to the business reasons for needing change, and working out what we expect of those changes from the view of our customers. Companies that are disrupting and accelerating growth today are truly digitally enabled, so it’s clear there are benefits.

It’s just a matter of bringing the whole process back to the core business reasons for change, and thinking about technology once we have that straight. And that is much more than “the new black”.

Anthony Woodward is founder and Chief Executive Officer of Accelera

[1] Source: Gartner, August 2018: https://www.gartner.com/en/documents/3885879/digital-business-transformation-an-australia-perspective

[2] Source: Gartner, May 2019: https://www.gartner.com/en/newsroom/press-releases/2019-05-15-gartner-survey-shows-cios-in-australia-and-new-zealan

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