Velox commentary
22 Sep 2022

Digital transformation is just another large change programme

Digital transformation is all about leveraging technology to integrate knowledge across business areas to create value, reduce cost and/or improve customer service. As the author states, this is difficult and prone to, if not failure, then delivering below expectation.

There’s nothing special about digital transformation, it is just another large change program that uses technology to create new, or modify existing, processes, cultures, and/or customer experiences to meet changing business and market requirements.

So, it follows that the “reasons for failure” given in the article can be applied to any large project:

1. Correct Mindset: Good leadership capability includes truly sponsoring change, and that is a skill often missing from leadership training.

2. Not having a change culture: Change is usually in addition to the day job and organizations need to ensure employees are incentivized to deliver change alongside their day-to-day activity. Most change lives or dies on how it deals with work that spans teams, so the culture needs to embrace and foster collaboration.

3. Not hiring the right talent: Change is a skillset. That’s why consultancies survive because they do have the skills, but there is a need to balance the temporary nature of these resources (i.e., no increase in headcount), against the lack of institutional knowledge and expertise, which walks out the door with them.

4. Lack of clear goals: Yep! ‘If you don’t know where you’re going, any road can take you there’!

5. Failing to think through the required tech: The ripple effect of introducing new technology is too often ignored.

6. Failing fast: Sure! This is the core point of Agile, when you strip away the nomenclature and fluff. This is the other end of the spectrum to waterfall (where in theory you don’t know what’s worked until the end). Of course, in practice no-one has ever successfully done it that way, but you get the point.

So what? —The good news is, don’t overly stress about digital transformations because they are no different to the management of regular large change programs. The bad news however, large change programs rarely succeed as planned.

Link to the original article here.

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