Two Traps To Avoid In Digital Transformation Initiatives

Author

Peter Bendor-Samuel

December 1, 2016

There is a lot of buzz about creating advantages through business transformation based on implementing digital technologies.  But many companies make the mistake of thinking they can achieve their desired advantages through a partial digital experience. Thinking this way is a trap.

To achieve real value, it is necessary to think about the change in processes end to end. Without taking an end-to-end approach to the transformation journey, the best value you can hope to achieve is an incremental benefit to function or unit costs. I’m not saying that this level of benefit is not worthwhile. This type of change can be worthwhile as it delivers value by doing something better, faster, cheaper. But this type of value seldom translates to the bottom line or creates a sustainable competitive advantage.

Delivering value from an end-to-end perspective looks at how to deliver a service on time and in full. For example, to provide greater value in a customer service call center process, the objective might be to perform the entire process from order taking to delivery logistics in 40 minutes (meaning, on time) and making sure all customer issues are resolved satisfactorily in one session (meaning, in full). Customer value that is on time and in full requires changing more aspects than technology. An end-to-end approach typically involves changes to processes, talent and even philosophies. It takes a lot of preparation to set the stage for change at an end-to-end level.

That brings me to the second trap. Many companies don’t realize that to go fast with digital requires going slow at first. Given the enormity of end-to-end change with digital, the journey requires a different level of support as well as a different approach than the usual technology implementation project.

A digital transformation has tendrils that will affect all areas of your enterprise. As these tendrils reach out, you’ll find passive-aggressive behaviors from employees and managers. These behaviors can affect your ability to deliver the intended benefits from the digital transformation.

Trap #2 is not understanding the change will be risky and that it requires getting organizational commitment up front. Remember, digital transformation is not merely a matter of technology; it requires changing your company to be a digital enterprise. A crucial key to success is getting your employees, managers and C-suite to accept the implications of the change to a digital enterprise before you start on the journey.

If you avoid this step and don’t take the time necessary to gain commitment up front, the best outcome you can hope for is an incremental benefit rather than greater value. Skipping this step could even cause your transformation initiative to fail.

The promise of digital technologies is extremely powerful and attractive for changing how your company can compete in its marketplace, improve interactions with customers and drive profitability. But the reality is digital transformation requires changing the way you currently do business. That level of change will encounter passive-aggressive resistance. You will be wise to slow down the pace of your initiative up front so that you can adequately prepare the way for success.

 

This article was written by Peter Bendor-Samuel from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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