When digital transformations fail, many people blame the software, the system integrator, or some other technical component. However, internal organizational dysfunctions frequently undermine and ultimately doom a digital transformation, as explained below.
To begin, one of the most important things I discover when working with clients all over the world is that internal dynamics and dysfunctions are extremely powerful. They have the ability to destabilize any project at any time. A failure can be caused solely by cultural factors. Many organizations are unaware of how internal dynamics and a skewed company DNA can affect the success of a digital transformation.
Here are five of the most common organizational dysfunctions I encounter when assisting organizations with their digital transformations. These are the five key risks you should address and mitigate as part of your digital transformation.
1. Approval and Assistance from Senior Management
A lack of executive buy-in and support is one of the most powerful forces that can derail any digital transformation. This is one of the most common things I see, especially in project recoveries and expert witness engagements where I am working with failed projects. Many of those challenges can often be traced back to a lack of executive buy-in and support.
Executives believe that approving a project, signing checks to pay for it, and receiving a weekly or monthly status update on the project constitutes executive buy-in and support. Personally, I don’t believe it does. However, executive buy-in and support extend far beyond simply approving the project, providing timely updates, and paying the bills.
There are several critical questions to consider here:
- What will our future operating model look like?
- What will our organization look like after the transformation process?
- What are the roles and responsibilities going to be?
- Will we restructure our company as part of this transformation?
- How does this overall transformation support our organization’s overarching goals, objectives, and strategies?
What executive buy-in and support ultimately mean is the ability and engagement to make key decisions about what the organization wants to be when it grows up. Alignment around these core strategies is critical for a project to stand a chance.
Only executives can or should make these decisions, and that is what constitutes buy-in and support.
Obviously, you want your executives to approve the project and communicate to the organization what it means and how they can contribute to the project’s overall success. We want to ensure that executives are providing the resources necessary for the project’s success.
These are all important, but executive buy-in and support failures are frequently traced back to a more fundamental lack of decision-making.
Finally, executives must not see this as an opportunity to simply delegate the entire project to a project team. Certain key decisions should be made solely by that executive team, and this is one of the key dysfunctions that any organization must address as part of its digital transformation.
2. An absence of proper alignment
Another common issue in organizations undergoing digital transformation is a lack of alignment. Typically, this misalignment is not the result of the project, but it is exposed and undermines the ability to be effective in the digital transformation.
When there is a misalignment, there will undoubtedly be headwinds. If a company has disparate goals and objectives or lacks a unified vision, digital transformation is unlikely to succeed in that environment. That friction and tension will stymie your project more than anything else in a transformation.
Executive alignment is one of the most powerful strategies for ensuring success. All stakeholders should be aware of project objectives, execution planning, and how it relates to overall company strategy throughout the organization.
3. An unhealthy reliance on third-party suppliers
When organizations undergo digital transformations, they are often the first to admit that they are not digital transformation experts. It’s not what they do for a living; they have other skills, but digital transformation is usually not one of them. Most organizations have little experience with transformations as well.
This lack of knowledge and experience inevitably leads to an unhealthy reliance on third-party vendors such as software providers, system integrators, third-party consultants, and anyone else assisting with the overall project.
You want to make use of your outside experience. I’m not saying you shouldn’t, but you should avoid inequity between internal resources and project vendors. Furthermore, that unhealthy dependency frequently leads to nefarious behavior, such as consultants overbilling on projects and a lack of transparency.
Companies must not rely too heavily on these resources to avoid being steamrolled by those outside parties.
This is a common dysfunction that emerges during transformations. That is why one of the most important things you can do is educate yourself before you begin.
You won’t become an expert in digital transformation overnight, but there is a lot you can do to arm yourself with knowledge. Read up on best practices, begin to comprehend successful strategies, and seek technology-agnostic advice and thought leadership from organizations like Creative Index Technologies. These are just a few examples of how you can educate yourself to become a more equal partner with your vendors rather than someone who has an unhealthy reliance on those partners.
4. Recognizing the Scale of Change
Organizations frequently underestimate the magnitude of the change that is about to occur. This is especially true for organizations transitioning from a legacy product to another from the same vendor.
To be honest, it’s not that big of a deal, especially in this day and age when the majority of new flagship products from the leading vendors are complete rewrites of older technologies that are now meant to be delivered in the cloud. These are entirely new products, not incremental upgrades.
It is critical that you separate yourself from old systems because you do not want to become engrossed in old technology. It does not translate well and runs slowly, which is undesirable during a digital transformation. You should look for something modern, such as cloud systems with all of the latest capabilities.
There is a widespread belief that that organization will have little difficulty adapting to new technology because they are prepared for it. Going from an old legacy system to a current cloud modern system is, in reality, a massive change. Most organizations underestimate the magnitude of that quantum leap, as well as the impact it has on their operations and overall organization.
The transformation will have an impact on all of these things. It’s critical to recognize that the magnitude of change you’re experiencing is probably greater than you realize, and one of the most common dysfunctions we see is organizations underestimating the level of change they’re about to experience.
5. Hopes that aren't realistic
Lastly, but by no means least important, organizations have unrealistic ideas of what the change will require.
Businesses often underestimate,
- The plan for the project
- The finances
- The work and inputs put into change management
- How it will affect the IT department, front-line employees, customers, etc.
In the end, how it will affect their infrastructure as a whole. So, they don’t have a plan with enough time, money, and other resources to deal with these and other problems.
Now, one of the main reasons for this dysfunction is that, as I said before, most organizations don’t know any better. They have not done a lot of digital transformations before.
They will listen to their vendors and trust them when they give them a tight deadline, a bigger budget, or a deadline that can’t be met. We also need to remember that software vendors and sales reps from our outside vendors are usually trying to sell us services, and they have an incentive, quite frankly, to underestimate the amount of time, cost, and risk that comes with buying their technology and services.
In the future, we should all take these things with a grain of salt and clean up the proposals we get from outside vendors to make them more realistic for us. That’s probably the best way to fix the problem and stop it from getting worse. We want to have a realistic idea of how long our project will take and how much it will cost, as well as a realistic project plan and a way to deal with changes.
Start planning your digital transformation
Understandably, digital transformation is a difficult task. It takes a lot of perseverance and hard work over a long period of time. It poses broad, all-encompassing challenges to many industries and all levels of your organization. However, with a well-thought-out and effective digital transformation strategy, you can completely transform how your company operates and contribute to its long-term success.
Digital Darwinism: Why Caribbean businesses are in trouble. The world is changing at a rapid pace, and it seems that many Caribbean businesses are struggling to keep up. With the emergence of new technology and evolving consumer behavior, some companies find themselves in a digital Darwinian environment where only the fittest survive. In this blog post, we will discuss how Caribbean businesses can avoid extinction by adapting or becoming extinct.
What is digital Darwinism?
Digital Darwinism is the evolution of consumer behavior when society and technology evolve faster than some companies’ ability to adapt.
How does the region survive Digital Darwinism?
To survive Digital Darwinism, Caribbean businesses need to adapt or become extinct. Adaptation is a must in the face of new technologies and evolving consumer behavior that occur at an ever-increasing pace. There are three steps companies should follow to evolve with digital technology: identify, initiate and innovate – which we will discuss below.
*Identify what changes need to be made
*Initiate change by implementing a plan for adapting products and services based on these findings
*Innovate by creating innovative solutions through technological innovation as new technologies develop over time (e.g., when computers were invented people soon realized they should have been using networks instead)
THE KEYS TO ADAPTING TO THE DIGITAL REVOLUTION!!!
The digital revolution has imposed new business models, new payment methods, new ways of buying, finding information, communicating and relating in which there is no place for the Shakespearean dilemma “to be or not to be” — on a digital level — if we want to survive in the caribbean. A look back over recent years should suffice to show how big companies that did not keep up with the times are no longer with us. To avoid following in their footsteps many others have accepted the importance of evolving in digital terms.
This aside, no digital conversion will be a success without adopting a user-centric business strategy and, to achieve this, you must know about it. How? By analysing the information generated. If adequately processed, the thousands of gigabytes of data generated every day will be worth their weight in gold. And although many companies may believe that big data is only available to big companies, any enterprise, large or small, can access data mining if they invest in suitable profiles and tools.
How to go about transforming your business in a competitive market?
The digital era has given rise to the new form of Darwinism, where technology is constantly changing and impacting society. This change can be seen in many ways such as changes in people (customers etc) or how markets are advancing with this evolution taking place. To thrive during this time period many companies invested heavily into their own transformation so that they may evolve from traditional practices to modern ones which will allow them a more competitive edge over other businesses who have not yet made these investments themselves.
The words “digital transformation” are thrown around by people without specifically understanding their meaning. After researching the topic and speaking with those leaders in charge of change, I was able to come up with a definition based on what I heard time and time again- digital transformation is when businesses realign technology, business models, processes for better customer service through new value creation. This means that companies must stay at pace with trends such as social media or AI exploitation for example; if not they will quickly become obsolete because switching costs are minimal these days compared to decades ago where there would be significant investments into hardware/software before finally having any type of return from it whatsoever. It’s important to note though how many other factors go into this process like human capital, strategy & customer experience.
One of the key insights I learned in my research and experience is that mature companies establish purpose to create alignment. In a world where customers are demanding more, organizations have evolved through five progressive stages driven by customer experience (CX). Through the lens of CX, digital transformation has become an enterprise-wide change initiative with collaboration between marketing teams and IT departments at each stage for successful changes.
In order to stay relevant, organizations must take a more active approach in the digital era. They will have no choice but to experiment with new ways of doing things-from how they do business and serve customers all the way down through their technology and process for getting work done.
- Present and Active: Pockets of experimentation are driving digital literacy and creativity, albeit disparately, throughout the organization while aiming to improve and amplify specific touchpoints and processes.
- Strategic: Individual groups recognize the strength in collaboration as their research, work, and shared insights contribute to new strategic roadmaps that plan for digital transformation ownership, efforts, and investments.
- Innovative and Adaptive: Digital transformation becomes a way of business as executives and strategists recognize that change is constant. A new ecosystem is established to identify and act upon technology and market trends in pilot and, eventually, at scale.
- Formalized: Experimentation becomes intentional while executing at more promising and capable levels. Initiatives become bolder, and, as a result, change agents seek executive support for new resources and technology.
- Converged: A dedicated digital transformation team forms to guide strategy and operations based on business and customer- centric goals. The new infrastructure of the organization takes shape as roles, expertise, models, processes, and systems to support transformation are solidified.
Digital Darwinism is a term that has been coined to describe the rapid pace at which technology changes are transforming business. It’s not just businesses in developed countries who have to worry about this phenomenon, Caribbean companies must also contend with it too. There are many ways for your company to survive digital Darwinism; some of them include embracing change, investing time in R&D, finding new niche markets or products, using automation where possible and last but not least – consulting with an expert on how best to proceed! If you’re interested in learning more about what Digital Darwinism means for your business specifically please contact me directly as I would be happy to consult with you on any aspect of your digital transformation projects.
If you’re a government agency or department and looking to do digital transformation, the first thing to know is that this isn’t like any other kind of change. It’s not just about using technology in your day-to-day work; it’s also an opportunity for innovation on how we deliver public services and engage with citizens.”
“Digital governments have more potential than ever before because they can innovate faster, adapt better to changing needs over time, generate higher levels of service satisfaction among users (in part by offering personalized services), reduce transaction costs through automation as well as lower operating costs due away from high rents paid for office space which has been centralized”.
Digital transformation is a recent and popular topic in the Caribbean. What does it mean? How can you be digital? Let’s explore these topics together as we talk about what digital transformation means, how to implement it, and some of the benefits that come with this new way of thinking.
A lot has been said about technology in the past few years. It has impacted every industry sector including yours! You need to keep up or risk being left behind. The world is changing at an exponential rate thanks to technology so don’t get left out!
In order for organizations to stay competitive they are going through a process called Digital Transformation (DT). DT is all about ensuring your company becomes more efficient, agile and customer-centric by leveraging current
Digital transformation is the process of rethinking one’s business model or business process in light of the availability and affordability of digital technology. It requires coordination across the entire organization, since it applies new technologies to fundamentally change the way business is done. For many enterprises today, the driving motivation of digital transformation is the chance to gain competitive advantages by improving customer experience.
It’s a rainy Thursday afternoon in December and I’ve just finished a client meeting in Port of Spain. As I step out of the elevator, my watch vibrates faintly to let me know my car is out front. I jump into the warm car as the driver greets me by name and verbally confirms my location, telling me we’ll be there in about 12 mins. He drops me off at my hotel, and as I hop out of the car, he thanks me and wishes me “Happy holidays!” No fumbling for my wallet, no figuring out how much to tip him, and no waiting for the credit card machine to process my card while impatient passengers are waiting outside.DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION – IT’S REALLY ALL ABOUT PEOPLE
The Passenger Perspective
What everyone knows is that I’ve just endured the results of digital disruption. Where companies are creating new types of services by leveraging digital tools; in this case, mobile, GPS, Digital Payments and other real-time data processing systems to enable experiences and business models that were previously not possible.
The transaction happens completely in the background, so all you have is The Experience.
It’s true there were many powerful digital technologies that enabled this no-hassle car service, however from a “passenger” perspective, digital was not a big part of this encounter. For me, the encounter was about the convenience; the warm car, the friendly driver, and the simplicity of leaving the car at my destination. The transaction happened behind the scenes and so seamlessly hidden that all I was left with was the experience. If anyone has ever tried to get a taxi on a rainy day in Trinidad, especially during the holidays, knows what an extremely pleasant occurrence it was to have a warm dry car waiting for me.
Tailoring the Engagement
As humans, we process everything. We’re often irrational and very quick to opt-out, quit, or abandon anything that is a poor experience. Yet, when companies take the time to understand us, our motivations, our likes, and dislikes, and then tailor the engagement around these elements, consequently we’re likely to participate, spend more time in the event, and willingly spend more money.
THE REAL POWER BEHIND DIGITAL IS THE ABILITY TO KEEP THE TRANSACTION BEHIND THE SCENES. EXPERIENCES SHOULD BE DESIGNED FOR PEOPLE, NOT MACHINES.
Disney’s MagicBands and MyMagicPlus are examples of how a company leverages digital technology to remove friction. Keeping transactions in the background, Disney allows humans to experience the pure joy and enchantment of Magic Kingdom Park. As Nick Franklin, former Executive Vice President of Disney, states, “The guest doesn’t need to know how it happened. It’s about the magic…”
People First, Technology Second – DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION – IT’S REALLY ALL ABOUT PEOPLE
Companies going through digital transformation the Caribbean initiatives are often quick to start throwing technology at the solution. It’s &ld quo; digital transformation in the Caribbean” after all so there should be some cutting innovative technology involved. While this is accurate, the technology’s primary role in the process should be to enable the interface. Unfortunately, we focus too much on technology and not enough on the people to enable the desired emotion.
VALUABLE EXPERIENCES ALLOW HUMANS TO FEEL AN EMOTION. THE TECHNOLOGY IS NOT AN EXPERIENCE; ITS SOLE PURPOSE IS TO FACILITATE A SEAMLESS ENGAGEMENT.
What’s the takeaway? When designing an app, service, or new technology offering, be sure to invest the time to understand the human aspect first. Understand your target users as people and not just consumers. Take the time to understand their motivations, their goals, their context, and their comfort with technology.
Perhaps the industry term “digital transformation” is a misnomer. Perhaps we should be calling these initiatives something along the lines of “experience transformation”? This might reinforce the point that our work as innovators is about people first and technology second. To paraphrase the futurist and influential author, Gerd Leonhard, this is not really about technology─ it’s really about transcending technology.
To find out more about the way forward for your company click HERE
DIGITAL RESOLUTIONS FOR A DISRUPTIVE NEW YEAR. Many of us use the New Year as a time to set resolutions and become better versions of ourselves. Traditionally, we start with a list of things that will impact our personal lives: get in shape, stop procrastinating, spend more time with family.
This year, Ocey challenges you to start your digital resolutions for a disruptive new year with resolutions for your business – and more specifically resolutions that will leave your organization better prepared for the ongoing digital revolution. Why? According to Harvard Business School, leading digital companies generate better gross margins, earnings, and net income than organizations in the bottom quarter of digital adopters.
LEADING DIGITAL COMPANIES GENERATE BETTER GROSS MARGINS, EARNINGS, AND NET INCOME THAN ORGANIZATIONS IN THE BOTTOM QUARTER OF DIGITAL ADOPTERS.
Consider adding the four following suggestions to your resolutions list and make sure to continue following through on them throughout the year:
Secure Your Organization
Every year the number of security attacks grows, with enterprise organizations finding it increasingly difficult to mitigate the consequences of data breaches. Resolve to be proactive about security in 2021.
Tom Puthiyamadam, global digital services leader, PwC, says: “Businesses that integrate cybersecurity with digital strategies will be better poised to build trust into everything they do and transform faster. Leading companies are integrating cybersecurity, privacy, and digital ethics from the outset. And that enables them to better engage with existing customers and attract new ones. Many also see efficiencies in operations, business processes, and IT investments.”
Digital resolutions for a disruptive new year – INVEST IN A SECURE DIGITAL INFRASTRUCTURE TO PROTECT YOUR ORGANIZATION’S SENSITIVE DATA.
In 2020, we witnessed how hackers become more ingenious in their attacks:
A California hospital had faced a ransom demand to regain control of its computer system
Multiple reports about hacked baby monitors and strangers talking to children
Millions of users had trouble accessing Twitter, Amazon, Netflix, Spotify, and other popular websites due to unprecedented massive DDoS caused by home devices – from home routers to internet-connected toasters
MarketsandMarkets estimates the security market will grow from $122 billion today to $202 billion by 2021. According to IDC, the key domains for growth are security analytics, threat intelligence, mobile security, and Cloud security.
Prioritize the Customer Experience
Companies must learn from their customers to develop the tools, processes, and platforms necessary to build an exceptional customer experience (СX). According to leading design experts, CX will become the main differentiator among brands, overtaking price, and products.
When we discuss creating innovative experiences or transforming operations, IoT often plays a key role in developing solutions that address those strategies. Though consumer applications are most well-known, IoT also stands to revolutionize environmental monitoring, infrastructure management, manufacturing, energy management, healthcare monitoring, transportation, construction, and more. Tomorrow’s market leaders are investing in IoT solutions today.
With the right technology strategies in place, leading enterprise organizations can take a broader, deeper, and more thorough approach to digital transformation that will result in competitive advantages in the marketplace.
For help with your digital resolutions contact Ocey Phillips