A lot has been written and said about the significance and critical nature of digital transformation. Sure enough, most major businesses have taken upon the monumental endeavor to embrace digital transformation. That’s a good sign. However, if we go by the recent report by the renowned consulting agency, McKinsey, 70% of those transformation exercises are headed for a failure. Now, that’s obviously a bad sign. But, there is some relief. This statistic is based on past data, which means that there is ample room for us to change the future. For that to happen, we have to understand the reasons for the failure of such ‘change’ programs, and find ways to overcome them.
Support and Championship
CEOs tend to take up digital transformation venture just like any other major project. That is a sure shot strategy for failure. Why? Because while it is easy to amass support for business projects that are in line with the company’s established operations, any organization-wide change is bound to be met with an organization-wide resistance. Informal relationships are the biggest threats to these initiatives. Especially in case of government organizations, informal relationships can extend beyond the organizational structure. These “middle men” can disrupt change initiatives and be completely immune to any repercussions arising out of their actions.
The most powerful strategy to counter such resistance is establishing a firm paradigm that the change initiative is inevitable. And, such a message should directly come from the top – the CEO, the Chairman, the President, or whoever is the head of such organizations. When a change appears inevitable, it will face less hostility from the complacent.
Support and Spearheading Team
Digital transformation, just like any other organizational change, cannot succeed riding on a top-down approach alone. It will require change agents from every corner of the company. Before announcing the initiative, a cross-departmental team should be formed to spearhead the change initiative. The members of such a team should be drawn from all the departments and units. The most important criteria for choosing the members should be their propensity to adapt change. They will be the foot soldiers of digital transformation.
Clearly Differentiate Traditional and Modern Approaches
Before businesses embark on a digital transformation process, they should have a firm grasp on what to change, whether it needs to be changed, and what the change will achieve. Merely changing the designation of an employee from Test Analyst to Test Engineer will not change the way he/she works, for instance. A thorough understanding of the skills, IT resources, and digital capabilities required by a digital oriented organization are required. Data scientists, business analysts, agile developers, and so on are some of the skills that the future IT organizations will require. In areas where the company lacks, a strong focus should be laid on acquiring those skills and resources.
A strong culture in favor of change increases the chances of success of digital transformations. The champions of the initiative should be rewarded with opportunities for career progression and they should get a strong backing from the top management. Only then can a monumental initiative like digital transformation can be successfully implemented.