Everyone knows that digital transformation doesn’t come without its risks. Reinventing your business processes can be a high-stakes game. But the rewards could be huge, especially later on once you’ve embraced digitization entirely and given new business models and tools the time to have an effect.
So what’s holding some companies back? As far as I see, caution seems to be the guiding principle for some organizations. Of course, there are plenty of reasons for taking the slow road to transformation. None of them should involve these three common misconceptions, however. If you find that you, your colleagues, or your staff and other team members have fallen prey to these myths, it’s time to set things straight.
Myth 1: Digital Transformation means just Technological Transformation
Digital transformation encompasses a broader spectrum than most people realize. It’s much more than the mere adoption of new technology and new skills. Really, you could say it’s an entire shift in the way a company does business.
In an earlier post we mentioned a few ground-breaking companies that were successful with disruption in their fields. What they all had in common was that they were customer-centric, where as their predecessors were not. That gave them the edge they needed to take over existing giants in their respective industries.
Digital transformation is partly based on a realignment of principles toward the customer. Your business model must change and so must your company culture. Only after those transformations take place will the technology truly fulfill its potential to transform a company. If the people who work at a company aren’t vested in the customer-focused vision put forth by leadership, they’re never going to adopt new technologies that were designed to facilitate that vision.
Myth 2: The People in my Team won’t make the Change
Like most resistance to change, a driving factor of negativity is fear. With digital transformation come different concepts such as data analytics and AI. Both are commonly perceived as threats to jobs and a very complicated world to get into.
However, that’s not what experts are seeing for the future of digitized organizations. Even if the Internet of Things (IoT) and automation take over a lot of business functions in a company, they’re still going to need human beings to fix equipment, create algorithms, and, especially in more complex organizations, view the big picture and make important decisions. And for the majority of the businesses out there, digital transformation won’t mean using robots to do people’s job but to change how people do their jobs, in a more optimized, intelligent way with the use of technology. As always in organizations, changes mean a learning curve that will depend on may factors. That’s where CEOs and the leadership roles in the company need to become the main factors of change, guiding and moving the company forward.
Myth 3: The Engineering team is the Foundation for Digital Transformation
If you’re going to change company culture, you can’t rely on the Engineering department to make it happen. Since digital transformation takes place everywhere in an organization, not just in IT, and since it causes disruption beyond just tech-related functions, the driver of change will not necessarily come from the Engineering department.
You’ll need your CEO to be the agent of change (or at least it should be someone in the C-suite). Otherwise, how will you achieve buy-in across all departments? Is your frontline staff going to listen to your engineers on the matters of vision, productivity and business processes? It’s highly doubtful. These messages of change need to come from the top.