3 Digital Transformation Mistakes to Avoid

Digital Transformation Team

Common digital transformation mistakes include lacking clear definition, discord between business units, and insufficient in-house skills

 

By Leila Kojouri

 

The age of digital business is here. Companies far and wide are using technology to transform their operations, adapt to changing customer demands, and acquire new business models. In 2018, more than half of all retail, financial services, healthcare organizations launched formal digital transformation initiatives; spending over $1.3 trillion collectively. These widespread changes are leaving no stone unturned – with oil and gas clients seeing a massive surge in this trend. 

 

This is the philosophy behind digital transformation. The reality, however, is a bit different, according to various research that points at common transformation mistakes and how to avoid them.  Avoid these 3 mistakes to ensure your enterprise digital transformation success: 

 

1) Lacking a clear definition of what digital transformation really is 

When it comes to digital transformation, there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach, as no one single definition applies to every enterprise, or even across a single organization. Some organizations struggle to identify what digital transformation actually means.

 

The bottom line is, it has different meanings across different organizations, and finding the common ground – in terms of business processes, company culture, technology, and case studies, presents a challenging dynamic across the board. 

 

In becoming a “catch-all,” digital transformation has become a term we throw out at new tech projects, without actually strategizing as to how to implement, guide, monitor, and support these initiatives.

 

The fix, perhaps, lies in focusing on what digital transformation means to you. What are the bigger, more fundamental issues at hand? Understanding these components will provide a guiding light as you approach your digital transformation journey. 

 

2) IT and Business Operations aren’t on the same page

 

When it comes to massive initiatives like digital transformation, teamwork is essential. However, a clash of the titans exists in the different ways technology professionals and business leaders express the various terminology involved with this undertaking.

 

Fixed mindsets in either domain lend to clashing ideologies, causing frustration, delays, haphazard strategies, and poor execution.

 

For example, a business leader may say an application needs to support 100,000 users, even though it may have only 100 users at launch – but the IT department takes that requirement as a literal direction.

 

The resulting product is a tech team working to devise a product that works on one specific machine, housing minimal amount of features, while the business unit expects an app that supports all “potential” users. Or, the IT team may overbuild, taking a longer time than expected, and raising brows in the business unit who wonders, “What’s taking so long?”

 

This challenge may be resolved best by defining terms at launch – and making sure that the conditions and circumstances surrounding the digital transformation process are agreed upon prior to any actual project work.

 

3) Your transformation team lacks vital skills to get the job done

 

Many companies make the massive mistake of launching a DX effort without the proper skills in house.

 

Hiring the right talent to help your company get through their transformation is imperative. Legacy companies are challenged with the need to focus on retaining and training their current workforce to keep up with the changing landscape.

 

What’s more, global organizations express “a digital talent shortage,” which hampers their ability to devise the proper operating models to complete transformational initiatives full-circle. Minding the “gaps” between areas like artificial intelligence and machine learning have proved immeasurably taxing. Yet, AI and ML are crucial components needed for most transformational projects. 

 

Entering the coming years without AI/ML in your digital transformation plan may defeat the purpose altogether. 

 

The solution to this challenge is identifying the “haves” and “have nots” associated with your in-house talent and their skillsets. If you lack the requisite skills in house, it may be wise to contract for outside help, like an IT consulting firm who can bring an arsenal in to back you up every step of the way. 

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