Digital Transformation – Facts and Fiction

Digital transformation is a concept we’re all aware of. It promises businesses some great things, innovation, profits and streamlined processes to name but a few. What’s more, the idea of reviewing how we use technology to create new revenue streams and business models isn’t a new one. As such, any business transformation should be a journey, not just a moment of technology-fuelled hype. The problem, however, is finding the value amongst the many misconceptions.  

As a top priority amongst CEOs worldwide, leaders need to understand how to deal with changes in business models, customer preferences and technology to create business advantage. We need to understand what to change, what to prioritize, and how quickly change is required. While the idea of using digital technology to improve performance seems simple, digital transformation has become a confusing concept to many. To help separate fact from fiction, we’ve put together a list of the biggest myths surrounding digital transformation along with the reality. 

The Myths About Digital Transformation

There are many myths about digital transformation, what it is, how it needs to be delivered, and who by. We’ve put together seven of the most significant and most commonly misconceived points about digital transformation:

  • The CIO or CDO owns digital transformation – it is a natural leap to assume that the digital team will own transformation. However, while we hope that they will be natural champions, they need to be supported and led by the CEO and the rest of the executive team.
  • Digital transformation and digitization are the same – the use of digital in the title of many processes and concepts can easily muddy the water. Digitization is about using digital tools and technologies to improve, for example, a process. It focuses on efficiencies, cost-saving and improving operations. However, digital transformation is not a set of projects. It is a customer-driven organizational change that includes the implementation of digital technologies.
  • Digital transformation is a simple one-off project – one of the biggest myths surrounding digital transformation is that it is a standard process that needs to be completed. However, it is much more complicated than just turning on a switch; it is an ongoing process that should evolve along with technology and customer expectations.
  • Everyone else is ahead of the game – it’s easy to assume that most businesses are racing ahead with digital transformation and that your company is lagging behind. The chances are that it is far from the truth.
  • Jobs will be put at risk – many fear that embracing technology will result in machines replacing people in the workplace. However, while technology will change jobs, it won’t replace them all. Every piece of technology relies on people to analyze data and think of new ideas to drive the business forward.
  • Digital transformation is all about investing in technology – while technology is obviously a bit part of digital transformation, it runs much deeper. Cultural and organizational barriers need to be removed so new tools and processes can be leveraged. Using technology, such as cloud-based services, can enable more workforce flexibility and mobility, which helps encourage the adoption of new processes.
  • Digital transformation is a strategy – digital transformation isn’t there to replace your business strategy; instead, it should enable your existing strategy. Digital transformation should help realign organizations so their strategies can achieve maximum impact, but there is no need for an isolated digital strategy.

The Truth About Digital Transformation

To ensure the right points stay with you, here is the flipside of the coin. Knowing the facts about digital transformation will enable you to use digital technologies and information to enhance your organization’s assets and capabilities. Ultimately, digital transformation is a customer-centric proposition, delivering customer value to help your business grow.  Here are some facts to remember about digital transformation:

  • Digital transformation is a company-wide effort, led by the CEO
  • Digital transformation is an ongoing process
  • Digital transformation is more than a set of projects to digitize processes
  • Most businesses are just starting their digital transformation journey
  • Digital transformation should amplify human capabilities, not replace them
  • Digital transformation needs more than technology; it is a cultural change.
  • Organizations don’t need a digital transformation strategy; business strategy should be built around digital capabilities. 

The Future Value of Digital Transformation

Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of the facts and fiction surrounding digital transformation. Digital transformation can deliver significant rewards, but misunderstanding the concept can set you on the wrong path. Digital transformation is in its purest form just business transformation, a process that we all undertake. It’s not as big or as daunting as it may seem, but it does take on-going company-wide commitment.

There will be countless digital innovations as we move forward, but digital isn’t always the answer. Digital transformation is about the integration of technology and people. Each aspect of digital transformation should be based around an understanding of people. We should use technology to make the lives of our customers and employees better. If we manage to achieve this, we may just achieve the rewards that digital transformation promises. 

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