Focus on people and culture. Or your Digital Transformation will fail!

Forbes recently released their insights from a survey and one on one conversations with 573 of the top executives across the world, for their views on their companies transition to digital maturity. The next two years will be critical, as half of them believe that their organisations will be vastly digitally transformed in that time.

5 Key strategic steps came through as critical. The first 2, namely making transformation a top strategic priority and letting the business outcomes (models, growth and cost reduction) drive the digital transformation, appear to be simpler to grasp.

It’s the other 3 steps that executives are concerned about and are finding more difficult to grapple with. Two of those remaining three steps show how much transformation is about how individuals work and the cultures of organisations, as it is about technology. It highlights again one of the issues companies struggle with more than any other, that of change management.

The tricky steps are: 

1) An enterprise-wide approach to digital transformation needs to be adopted.
“Currently, cross-functional teams are not involved enough in developing (40%) or implementing (35%) strategy, with the bulk of this work done by IT (50% and 54% respectively). IT is the function considered the most prepared for digital transformation (53%), while other functions lag, with just over a third of survey respondents deeming them ready.”

2) Companies need to learn how best to marry technology with human resources.
“Technology cuts both ways. It is seen as the biggest challenge (29%) and the top contributor to a successful digital transformation (56%). People (defined as talent and capabilities), on the other hand, are not seen as equally significant contributors to the success of the digital transformation.”

It [technology] is seen as the biggest challenge and the top contributor to a successful digital transformation.

A Capgemini Consulting report, done in conjunction with MIT at the end of 2015 (The Digital Advantage: How digital leaders outperform their peers in every industry), showed clearly that unless the transformation management intensity is given the same focus as the technology itself, the true advantages of digital transformation won’t be gained.

It’s something I’m experiencing more and more in my consulting role at WWC. What we are starting to see now is the companies that do get it right are not just forging ahead, but creating an even bigger divide and competitive advantage over those that are not changing culture and managing their people through digital change.

We are an innovation agency that focuses on growth through digital product innovation, but we know that even the best, most innovative idea, is just not enough. We’ve seen our products change a business or even make a business. But the reality is without the leadership truly focused on the transformation management that goes with it, it is short-lived. A culture of accepting continual change and a business model that allows innovation to happen outside the usual constraints of the company hierarchy is critical.

Ignore this at your peril!!

If digital transformation is part of your strategic thinking in the next few years we’ve developed a quick to do, a short questionnaire that will provide your business with some personalised insights to help with that transformation. It’s a starting point that can help guide your focus: Click Here for Innovation Questionnaire

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