Five Pillars Of Digital Transformation: Summary

Ashutosh Kumar, Joao Ribeiro, Jose Carvalho, and Kay P. Hradilak

In a series of posts over the last few months, we have discussed the five pillars for a successful digital transformation. We have shown how establishing a mindset, defining a digital destiny, investing in digital technology, managing skills and talent, and evolving the organization for continuous innovation are five areas that must be carefully considered to maximize success.

Here is an overview of the main concepts:

Embrace the digital mindset

  • Openly embrace digital in all interactions. If you are not convinced the world is changing, liaise with others, and do it now!
  • Spread the digital mindset across all levels of your organization. Everyone in the organisation needs to embrace it in all interactions, from the C level to the shop floor.
  • Accept that disruption may be uncontrollable. You don’t have all the answers, so work with partners and trusted advisors.

Define your digital destiny

  • Prepare for the race. Keep your eye on the prize, but understand that volatility is a fact and you will need to tailor your path as you clear the hurdles.
  • Understand the leadership paradox. Leaders must remain open-minded and determined. Success in the new world of digitalization requires a new set of leadership skills.
  • Trust your analog friends. Pick your fights—choose what you are going to digitize according to the value you want to gain.

Invest in digital technology capabilities

  • Reach for an engaging relationship. Digital products are quickly becoming a commodity. What will make the difference are the right technologies that work to establish a strong bond between you and your customers.
  • Understand the different purposes of technology. You need to innovate, but you also need to keep an eye on your core current business. So focus on both!
  • Technology is no longer an enabler of your business. It is the core of your strategy—technology will establish all interactions among people, processes, and things. It is the new norm.

Skills and talent management

  • Embrace universal skills. Digital will soon be integrated with all processes of life, so everyone will need to be digitally literate.
  • Specialize skills. Very specific and focused technical and business digital skills, which can take a long time to develop, will be increasingly sought after.
  • Digitalize talent management. Organizations must provide their current workforce the foundation of digital skills, learn how to source specialized skills, and work with leadership to maintain a digitalization outlook that is open to new business options and models.

Evolve the organization

  • Build projectization and agility. Organizations need to be quicker to adapt and adopt new technology. Newer, speedier methods must be integrated in the organization, and a new mindset will need to emerge.
  • Externalize and servitize: Companies will be able to reduce investments in assets and instead use flexible, external service providers.
  • Digitize the organization. Current job roles and functions will change as business leaders prepare people for agility and fast adoption.
  • Become data-driven. The value of future organizations will revolve about extracting, monetizing, and securing their data.
  • Be human- and machine-driven: Humans and machines will blend to provide greater value; each will depend the other and processes will be seamless to the receiver.

We are living in exciting times. Our role is to ensure that motivated, resilient, and creative people will make a difference wherever they do business. Of course, there are also concerns and resistance to change, as there have been throughout history. As humans, we must remember that technology’s purpose is to serve people both inside and outside our organizations. Accordingly, we need to ensure that we use advanced technology for the overall advantage of society. Doing so will keep us on the right path for positive disruption.


Are you ready to start? Assess the digital maturity of your organisation with the Digital Transformation Maturity Assessment, with SAP and IDC.