The phrase “Digital Transformation” has quadrupled in terms of Google searches in the last 2 years, doubling in the last year alone. It highlights the rapid increase in wanting to understand more about the topic and this will only continue to rise as it is adopted into more and more strategies across the globe. But what does “Digital Transformation” truly mean?

For me it’s not something the IT department will ensure happens. It’s not random standalone initiatives and it’s not something money alone can buy you, with the new latest and greatest tech. For me it’s broader than that.

Digital Transformation is about using IT to build more cost effective and more customer focused businesses. Business that make better use of data, people, provide better customer interactions and are more agile. Responding faster to an ever-changing business environment.

The good news:

 

You don’t need to invent the next greatest disruptor to your industry.

Let me repeat that as I meet far too many people who get caught up either worrying about missing the boat if they don’t invent something new, or believe the opportunity is so amazing that they put all their time, money and effort into inventing the latest greatest product.

 

“You don’t need to create the next Uber or Facebook”

So to repeat:

“You don’t need to create the next Uber or Facebook”

Technology will keep improving at a rate faster than most of us will ever be able to keep up with, so rather focus less time on the technology and more time on the data that technology holds.

Spend time knowing and gathering the right type of data, and the machine will continue to help you gain insights and intelligence from that data, that will allow you to make better customer focused business decisions.

New software is also using that data to enable certain business functions to become more and more automated and that will improve delivery and operations in line with the wants and needs of your customers. Again it’s not about creating this technology yourself.

The key, and this is critical, is you must retain control and ownership of your data. Technology will continue to improve and get better at interpreting the data but holding onto the ownership of that data, gives you rights to the insights and therein lies your competitive advantage.

 

The bad news (or rather the frank and honest truth):

 

I’ve mentioned before the need to focus on both the technology and the people during a transformation process. Without both, your road to success will be longer and less profitable in the short run.

The benefits of digital transformation are abundant to see, however it will impact your people and there is no getting away from that. For most it may mean a change in job role and for some it may be too much and they will drop out completely. This is change and the bad news is human beings don’t like change.

But you have a responsibility as leaders and teammates to work with your people through the change. Our people are still our best resource, work with them to find better ways and embrace the digital transformation together.

So read up on change management and learn the best approaches to take. It’s going to be as critical in your decision making as the next piece of software or system you purchase.

About this Article

The truth about digital transformation.

Mike Perk is Managing Director of WWC and a founding partner in Heavy Chef, an inspiration platform for innovators and leaders. He focuses his time on helping Digital Transformation through Digital Product Innovation and Change Management through coaching, facilitating & doing.  

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