Wednesday, March 1, 2017

The Observations, Objectives and Obstacles of Digital Transformation

Take a stepwise approach, and walk through “observe, listen, question, understand, plan, test, measure, and collaboration,” phases for managing digital transformation in a structural way.

Digital Paradigm means hyper-connectivity, interdependence, and integration. Digital becomes the very fabric of the modern business, being outside-in and customer-centric is the new mantra for forward-looking digital organizations today. Digital transformation is not just a one-dimensional technology upgrading, but a multidirectional business exploration to get the organization digital ready. Here are the observations, objective, and obstacles about taking the journey of the digital transformation.


Observation: Before taking actions, start a deep observation to understand your business, and assess the business stage in a life cycle of the business, dig through the real issues need to be addressed, the causes of changes, with the realization that where you are currently no long can deliver the business objective and vision of success for your company and your shareholders. Observe your people, are they satisfied and fully engaged with the work? Observe your culture - the collective mindset, is it positive and innovative, or the opposite is true? Observe how things get done in the organization, is the process over complicated, or bureaucracy blocks the way? Moreover, a gap analysis, skills/business capability assessment, effectiveness evaluation, efficiency study, workflow analysis, maturity rating, and knowledge of trends and models that work best to meet the business goals are needed before new schemes and designs are created and agreed upon across the business and all shared services. Take a stepwise approach, and walk through “look, listen, question, understand, plan, test and collaboration,” phases for managing change effort in a structural way. Observation should always be the first, and one of the most critical steps in any change and business transformation management scenario.


Objectives: The objective is a specific result that a person or a business aims to achieve within a time frame and with available resources. Digital transformation requires a commitment to a goal, goals are high-level and objectives are a part of the goal. Transformation takes a holistic approach. Digital transformation isn’t just an extension of continuous improvement of the current business, but a quantum leap with radical change. So thinking outside the current constraints and comfort zones requires a different vision and the courage to pursue it. The first best factor to the “transformational change” and its further “championing” has been the endless self-exploration and self-transformation in the material, emotional, intellectual dimensions that need to co-evolve together. From the business management perspective, it is the journey to expand toward all different directions. Hence, setting achievable goals and measurable objectives help the business management keep focus, and ensure the business transformation is on the right track. FOCUS is essential to execution success, and if you take on too many things at once you seldom succeed with any of them. In general, objectives are more specific and easier to measure. Objectives of digital transformation are basic tools that underlie all planning and strategic activities. They serve as the basis for creating policies and evaluating performance and changes.


Obstacles: Digital transformation is a tough journey with the bumpy road, full of challenges, it is no surprise that there are many visible obstacles or hidden pitfalls on the way. For example, leaders often miss the big picture, and couldn’t keep the end in mind, getting lost in the process; senior executives lack a clear vision, could also be blinded by their previous success and become complacent, blind to a need or discover the new path. The significant difference between business transformation and daily transactional operation is that often transformation has to break down the old rules, disrupt the status quo and “We always do things like that,” mentality, proactively adapt to changes, and figure out the better way to do things for making a leap of digital transformation. Digital transformation is inevitable, with proven advantages to improve organizational agility and maturity, but if something is missing, stagnation and uncertainty will surface. This means that there is a need for actual work to be happened to understand the principles, so it is possible to have the right innovative thought through a realistic approach by involving every line of people, processes, and resources. Barriers can be daunting, yet overcome them, and don’t let them cloud your vision. Consider how awesome the synergy of a highly innovative organization could create, to make people happier, customers delightful and the business as a whole accelerating growth.


Digital makes a profound impact from the specific function to the business as a whole, the purpose of such radical digitalization is to make a significant difference in the overall levels of achieving high performing business result. Hence, make deep observations, set the high, but also reasonable objectives, and overcome obstacles for speeding up changes.

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