What is digital transformation?

SUMMARY: According to Harvard Business Review “it is, at a very basic level: adapting an organization’s strategy and structure to capture opportunities enabled by digital technology.  But how can you transform an organization while digital technology is radically evolving?

Digital transformation of any company should not be a radical idea but companies have to have a very good understanding of what digital can and can’t do.

Years of research on transformations has shown that the success rate for these efforts is consistently low: less than 30 percent succeed. Results suggest that digital transformations are even more difficult. Only 16 percent of respondents say their organizations’ digital transformations have successfully improved performance and also equipped them to sustain changes in the long term. An additional 7 percent say that performance improved but that those improvements were not sustained. 

Even digitally savvy industries, such as high tech, media, and telecom, are struggling. Among these industries, the success rate does not exceed 26 percent. But in more traditional industries, such as oil and gas, automotive, infrastructure, and pharmaceuticals, digital transformations are even more challenging: success rates fall between 4 and 11 percent. 

Success rates also vary by company size. At organizations with fewer than 100 employees, respondents are 2.7 times more likely to report a successful digital transformation than are those from organizations with more than 50,000 employees.

In an era where private label sales are taking share away from national brands an over reliance on digital can wind up wasting a lot of money. The key advantage of digital is not ads on Facebook or programmatic advertising it’s the ability yo get a lot of data into the hands of decision makers quickly. However, if people within your company don’t have the time to turn data into actionable insights you’re losing opportunities.

Of course the other part of this is that decision making has to be streamlined to implement with speed as data insight suggest. The door of opportunities doesn’t stay open too long and those that do analysis paralysis are going to lose out.

A good manager will first learn all he/she can about the organizations strengths and weaknesses before deciding that they need to digitally transform. A bad manager uses a lot of buzzwords and reads articles on what other companies are doing before implementing any new initiatives.

Before you undertake ANY new company initiative you need to decide if it will help your customers. If not, what’s the point?

What is digital transformation?