HITTING THE GAS ON DIGITAL
TRANSFORMATION Transform your organization from the ground up based on your specific needs | By Nick Inglis
here’s no doubt that the pandemic accelerated many organizations’ digital transformation journeys. There was even a joke that the pandemic had been more effective than most CIOs in enabling digital transformation. Let’s be clear, just because your employees can now work from home doesn’t mean that your digital transformation journey is complete; in reality, it has just begun… and may have started on the wrong path. The first thing we need to realize about digital transformation is that most companies fail to transform their organizations digitally. According to a research article from McKinsey & Co. (from
October 2018, before the pandemic, but still relevant), only 16% of organizations that had attempted digital transformation said their organizations’ digital transformations have successfully improved performance and equipped them to sustain changes in the long-term. Therefore, 84% of digital transformation projects fall somewhere on the failure spectrum. So while many are talking about digital transformation, only a small group of organizations have successfully transformed their organizations. Whenever something is failing so abysmally, it’s a useful exercise to go back to the start and re-evaluate what it is that we were trying to achieve in the first place. So, what exactly were we
trying to achieve through digital transformation? It is right there that we can see the beginnings of why most digital transformations fail. Most digital transformation definitions are so overly broad that they’re not helpful to understanding what is to be digitally transformed. We’ll keep this definition exploration brief, but there are some commonalities between definitions that can help decipher: 1. What is meant by digital transformation as a term, and 2. What organizations are doing when they fail at digitally transforming Many digital transformation definitions discuss using “digital technologies” (a bit of a misnomer if you ask me) to transform or create new business processes, customer experiences or employee experiences. In distilling these definitions, many have realized that what most mean when saying digital transformation is using technology to make improvements. Therefore, digital transformation has sometimes been a placeholder used for all manner of organizational progress. Some have further noted that digital transformation is, in some cases, in practice, indistinguishable from managing technology projects (and I think there is some merit here).
DOCUMENT STRATEGY Spring 2021