Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Leaping Digital Transformation at the Inflection Point

A strategic inflection point is a time in the life cycle of a business when its fundamentals (people, process, technologies, cultures) are about to change. 

All forward-looking organizations are on the journey of digital transformation. Digitalization implies the full-scale changes in the way the business is conducted and expand business transformation to the multiple directions so that simply adopting a new digital technology is not insufficient. Such change can mean an opportunity to rise to new heights, or a risk to hit the uncertainty. Hence, a solid roadmap with well-setting goals is important for making a smooth digitalization journey. The leading organizations today are also reaching the inflection point for digital transformation. A strategic inflection point is a time in the life cycle of a business when its fundamentals (people, process, technologies, cultures) are about to change. You have to transform the company's underlying functions and organization as a whole with adjusted digital speed. Here are three focal points for making a seamless digital shift.

Gap-minding: Digital means hyper-connectivity and interdependence. Digital era is volatile, complex, uncertain and ambiguous, to run a high performance and high mature digital organization, it is important to bridge the multitude of gaps for speeding up changes. However, many organizations today are still running in the silo, with rigid processes and bureaucratic management styles. There are leadership gaps, functional gaps and communications gaps existing to drag down business effectiveness and decrease organizational agility (the ability to adapt to changes). For example, miscommunication is caused by perception gaps because people have the different knowledge base and cognitive understanding to articulate things. Communication effectiveness can be improved when the hard barriers (processes) are breakdown and soft obstacles (collective mindsets) are overcome, the heterogeneous team embraces the multiple viewpoints, learn and share via common business language without “ lost in the translation," and facilitate smooth digital dialogues to ensure all parties are on the same page. To speed up digital innovation and transformation, it is also important to bridge resource gaps for harnessing innovation and maintain the digital balance and flow. Try to digitally connect key resources/assets in their vicinity/context to the resource-rich innovation hubs/clusters across the business ecosystem. It is also important to bridge the collaboration gap to harmonize business partnerships and improve the collective business capabilities for problem-solving with speed.

Scalability: Due to the increasing pace of changes and continuous digital disruptions, change management is no longer just a one-time initiative, but an ongoing business capability which also needs to scale up across the organizational scope via building the common set of principles and developing the best and next business practices. The reason why some or many transformations fail - some soft factors and the challenge of complexity come into play. One thing is to implement and scale certain best practices, keep adding the right ingredients for a transformation. Digital organizations arise when the scale of the interrelations, interactions, or interrelational interactions amplifies the collective capability to achieve more values for the organization. When reaching the inflection point of changes, Digital Masters can stretch out in every business dimension for driving the full-fledged digital transformation with all essential dimensions (people, culture, organizational structure, process) to adapt to the new world of the business. Faster, always “on,” high connected and super competitive. Digital business is a system that is not scalable so easily, but it’s the worthy effort to amplify business capabilities and accelerate and sustain changes and digital transformation.

Prioritization: There are so many things organizations need to spin well simultaneously these days. “Run, Grow, and Transformation,” is all about setting the priority right and laser focus on the most important things. It is also about striking the right balance of keeping the bottom line organizational efficiency and the top line business growth. Regardless how many distractions in the business ecosystem, Digital Masters concentrate on the strategic goals and objectives of their organizations and make sure that the roles and functions are stated perfectly, and the digital management styles are updated to enforce interrelational management process being developed to help reduce the tensions, frictions, and conflicts that arise; the business/IT investments are evaluated comprehensively to achieve high business return; the leaders and managers master the holistic digital management discipline to encourage autonomy and avoid micro-management pitfalls; and the talented employees have superior time management skills for putting more time and effort on the things matter to their organization most such as innovation, also keep sharpening their skills for adapting to changes.

Going Digital is no brainer. However, it is the thorny journey with many curves and bumps, roadblocks and pitfalls on the way. Organizations have to build the well-rounded capabilities, run up all important stages. Make a leap at the inflection point, minding gaps, scaling up and prioritizing right, for reaching the high level of digital maturity.


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