These days, it’s almost impossible to come across a news site or enterprise IT newsfeed that does not feature the topic of “digitalization” or “digital transformation.” The shift has earned quite the buzz recently.
And, as it is common with megatrends such as “digitalization,” the discussion is mainly centered around the latest innovations in technology, from cloud, mobile, and Big Data to real-time computing, predictive analytics, and social collaboration platforms.
Although digitalization follows the typical adoption pattern of technology trends of the past decades (the famous Gartner Hype Cycle), there is no doubt that the combination of a zero-patience consumer generation with a global network of real-time connected people, applications, machines, and things is leading to a fundamental change in the way companies are conducting business.
If you listen to some of the prominent technology pundits, however, all we have to do is apply these “miracle” innovations, and we’re on our way to digital bliss. Everything is happening at light speed! All is set for straight-through processing from millennial consumer to automatic wish-fulfilment “on tap.” Right?
Well, we all know there is more to this than pure technology.
Yes, granted, there are great – and somewhat tired – examples of digital natives, such as Airbnb and Uber. There are other – equally tired – examples, like the Apple iTunes store, that epitomize the perfect digital business, where the consumer goes from spontaneous awareness to paid fulfillment in mere seconds, without any material goods being exchanged at all.
But the majority of companies on this planet are not digital natives. They are grounded in business models that have not quite gone obsolete. And the more that the products and services they offer are based on physical goods and shipments, and the more complex the interactions between demand and supply become, the more important the human element is to the success of their digital transformation.
An interesting take on digital transformation
I think Michael Krigsman, founder of CXOTalk, captured this fact quite well in a recent article by Ron Miller of TechCrunch, “Digital Transformation Requires Total Organizational Commitment.”
According to Krigsman:
“[T]he executive suite has to have a clear plan for the future, and a way to put the company on the road toward delivering on that vision. They can’t hide the innovation team in the basement. They need to inject innovative thinking into every process in the organization and that requires reconsidering every process.”
You can find Michael’s very interesting take on digital transformation here. I was specifically intrigued by slide 38 in his presentation, which is titled “Digital CIO Mindset.”
In the row about culture (an often overlooked element in any transformation discussion), he elaborated that the mindset has to change from a hierarchical approach to a collaborative approach.
Furthermore, I could not agree more with this statement from the aforementioned TechCrunch article:
“The successful executives are able to embrace change. This is a very key point and it’s really the most difficult thing about this. With the exception of startups, every company has an established business model and way they do business. Product lines, services, and employees have been optimized for standard processes.”
Knowledge sharing doesn’t come naturally to traditionally competitive companies, but it’s the path to success in the digital economy. Learn how to make the transition in Our Digital Planet: Collaborating For Success.Comments