Over the last few years, digital transformation has been one of the biggest buzzword in business. As the enormous potential of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Robotic Process Automation (RPA), context-based omni-channel operations, analytics etc. becomes clearer, their popularity is increasing dramatically. The promise of new future-ready business processes, superior customer engagement and huge scope for innovation are spurring companies to scramble towards digital transformation initiatives.
While the optimism is encouraging, it is also important to temper it with the right dose of reality. For all its hype, the truth is that digital transformation isn’t a magic bullet. In fact, there is research that shows that 70 percent of large-scale transformation projects fail to reach their stated goals. So, while we sift through the numerous success stories on digital transformation, it is important to also study the failed implementations and learn from them.
Digital transformations fail for a number of reasons. For example, organisations may embrace technology simply for its popularity without adequately determining the role that it is expected to play in the organisation. By concentrating all their efforts and resources on the digital transformation, enterprises might neglect other crucial aspects of their business to their detriment.
What do CXOs and leaders need to think of before deploying new technologies? First, it is important to remember that technology doesn’t work in isolation. To truly create value, it needs to be considered in conjunction with people and processes within the organisation.
People are the most important asset within an organisation. Any digital transformation effort is doomed to fail if it overlooks the role of its people in determining the success of the project. There are three important perspectives from which we need to look at the role of people.
- Culture – Any transformation requires several behavioral changes within the people of the organisation. Driving a culture where people are receptive to change is an important component of a successful transformation effort.
- Skills – Organisations need to account for training and skills development of its people- both from a technical and process point of view – to equip them to function in the new reality. Investing in new technologies without empowering your people to use them effectively is an exercise in futility.
- Collaboration – One of the biggest benefits of digital transformation is that it affords some great tools to help people collaborate better whether with colleagues, vendors, or customers.
For technology to achieve its intended objectives, it is important that it works to enable the right processes. Technology for the sake of technology doesn’t serve any purpose. It can help generate newer metrics and data that can be used to improve organisational processes. Ensure that technology can be used effectively to mine the right kind of data that will prove to be useful. Doing so will empower leadership to derive the right insights that can inform better decision making. Structuring your processes to get the right data and consequently the right insights is important. As the organisational structure and flow changes based on the transformation, it demands new ways of doing things and new processes. Ensuring that your processes are well aligned to the new requirements is crucial.
All these aspects need to be thought about in unison rather than on a standalone basis to be truly effective. You cannot do one without the other. They are like three legs of a stool. Digital Transformation can be an extremely powerful exercise given the magnitude of impact that it can cause. But it needs to be done right in order to be truly effective.