Digital Transformation involves integrating digital technologies into all corners of your business, replacing inefficient non-digital or manual processes with digital processes. While the concept of Digital Transformation is nothing new, it is something that has been firmly placed on the radar of businesses across Ireland in the last 24 months. According to an often-cited report by McKinsey, more than 70% of Digital Transformation projects fail. The report goes on to list some of the most common pitfalls including a lack of employee engagement, inadequate management support, poor or non-existent cross-functional collaboration, and a lack of accountability. While this failure rate is quite staggering and mightn’t be too reassuring for an organisation undertaking their own Digital Transformation, it shouldn’t act as a deterrent. The risks of not embracing change far outweigh the risks of failure. At ActionPoint, we believe that this failure rate simply underscores the importance of working with an experienced Digital Transformation, understanding the need for change and ensuring all steps have been taken to achieve success. The very first step for any organisation undertaking Digital Transformation is to consider what it is and what it is not. With this in mind, in this blog post we are going to dispel three common myths about Digital Transformation.
Myth 1: Digital Transformation is About Adopting the Latest Technology
Simply put, technology is the means by which your organisation can achieve your business goals. It is not the end in itself.
In his best-selling book, ‘Start with Why’, Simon Sinek suggests that most organisations start by asking why, but only the great ones keep their why clear year after year. If your organisation is undergoing its own digital transformation, it pays to continually ask why. ‘Why are you embarking on a digital transformation journey?’, ‘Why are you considering a certain technology?’, ‘Why are you trying to improve one specific process over another’
Although it is one of the the biggest myths about Digital Transformation, it is not about adopting the latest technology for the sake of it. To ensure successful Digital Transformation, an organisation first needs to diagnose the problem or explore the market opportunity. This is then followed by considering the company’s vision, the products and services, the budget, and encompassing industry. Only once this type of clarity has been gained can an organisation pinpoint the technologies that are needed to achieve their business goals.
Our advice is to forget about the latest technologies. Get your vision and strategy down first. Once you have a firm understanding of your goals and your needs, the rest will quickly fall into place.
Myth 2: Digital Transformation is a One-Time Fix
When the pandemic struck, many digitally reactive organisations (see what it means to be digitally reactive here) quickly jumped to collaboration platforms like Microsoft Teams and Zoom. Many companies migrated from on-premises to cloud-based infrastructures. While these are all the right steps under the circumstances, taken individually these same steps may lead to greater problems down the line. Take for instance employees accessing confidential data from remote locations with no data protection policy in place. The HSE data breach serves as a stark reminder of what can go wrong when all avenues have not been correctly considered.
Digital Transformation should not be viewed as a quick fix. It is a long-term journey where processes are continuously analysed and improved upon. Much like in Myth 1, our suggested approach is to take a step back and prepare a digital strategy. Only once you have a basic architecture in place, with strong fundamentals and a deep understanding of your guiding principles, can you confidently embark on your own Digital Transformation journey.
Myth 3: Digital Transformation is Digitalisation of Business Processes
The third of our top three myths about Digital Transformation is the misconception that it is the Digitalisation of Business Processes. While some manual processes may be inefficient, mere digitisation (converting analogue information to digital) or digitalisation (converting a manual process to digital) is not a silver bullet that will allow you to realise the disruptive gains promised by digital transformation. For that, one needs to look at both technological and cultural shifts in the approach.
While Digital Transformation consists of replacing manual processes with digital ones, that is not the sole objective. Done correctly, Digital Transformation can allow you to reimagine your business model and create new opportunities to grow and evolve. Some Digital Transformation projects have allowed product-based companies to switch to service-based and subscription models. When embedded into the organisational structure, Digital Transformation can allow businesses to scale more efficiently and effectively than ever thought possible.
Starting Your Digital Transformation Journey
Digital transformation is not simply about adopting the latest technologies, looking for quick fixes or converting some business processes from manual to digital. It is a long-term move towards becoming a more digitally mature and effective organisation.
If your organisation is still in the preliminary stages of digital transformation, we suggest starting with a Digital Maturity Self-Assessment. Our Digital Maturity Self-Assessment model has been developed over the course of 16 years, where we’ve helped over 500 companies undertake their own Digital Transformation.