Digital transformation isn’t all about technology

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“Digital transformation is not about technology, it’s about the fact that technology, which is digital, allows people to solve their traditional problems and they prefer that solution to the old solution, and that’s all there is to it.” Jo Caudron and Dado Van Peteghem

There are a lot of definitions of “digital transformation” out there, but this quote from Digital Transformation: A model to master digital disruption (2014) is one of my favorites because it takes the emphasis off of tools (digital technologies) in favor of outcomes, and doesn’t get bogged down in consultant-speak.

To be sure, digital technologies enable change in that they make possible what had previously been impossible, such as working effectively away from the office, so you could argue that they drive change. But technology in and of itself doesn’t  drive meaningful change, as many IT professionals who have seen purposeless tech initiatives go nowhere can attest.

What really drives enterprise transformation is a collective will or mindset, along with the right skill sets and processes, according to Jason Averbook, author of HR from Now to Next: Reimagining the Workplace of Tomorrow

“There are hundreds of enterprise solutions available on the market, but they won’t change anything unless the workforce changes with it,” he said in a keynote speech at a recent HR conference.

Averbook identifies four “pillars” to building a future-ready workplace. And while technology is on the list, it’s dead last in importance. As HRM Asia reports, Averbook gives “mindset” (“the willingness and enthusiasm for digital endeavors across the organization”) a weight of 45% in terms of its value in preparing enterprises for change. He gives people and processes (“strategies for communicating and effecting change”) each a weight of 25%, but accords technology only 10%.

While Averbook’s focus is HR, his analysis holds up across the various departments of any enterprise — though IT itself needs to devote time and effort into making the technology tools work as intended.

The lesson for enterprise leaders who want to embrace digital transformation, then, is first to develop and communicate a vision of what digital transformation can do for the organization and for employees. Who wouldn’t want to be on board with a strategy that will make them more productive and their jobs easier and more flexible? Win the mindset war, and you’ve got an army of digital transformers who will eagerly collaborate on choosing the best processes and tools.

Has your enterprise cultivated a digital transformation mindset?

Comments

  1. James O'Sullivan says:

    So basically, don’t let the tail wag the dog?

    Like

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