Saturday, April 22, 2017

What are the Biggest Barriers to Digital Effectiveness in Organizations?

Silo mindset, cloudy vision, poor strategy, overly rigid business processes, low mature business capability, or disengaged employees, etc, are all big barriers to the digital ineffectiveness of the organization.

Digital transformation is the rough road with all bumps and curves on the way. There are a number of challenges common in transformation programs, such as having a clear vision, getting the right strategies, execution, a forward-thinking leader to convey the transformational vision, and a broader view of customer demand, etc. More specifically, what are the biggest barriers to digital effectiveness and how to overcome them for improving digital business performance and maturity?

Silo thinking cloudy the digital vision and decrease digital effectiveness: The industrial organization with silo functional setting is to achieve the certain level of functional efficiency (doing more with less or doing things right from functional lens), but often decrease business effectiveness (doing the right things from the holistic business perspective). At the business level, silo creates barriers that surface between departments within an organization, So, it easily creates the gaps and often leads unhealthy internal competitions for the limited resources, causing people who are supposed to be on the same team to work against each other. At their heart, silos are not a structural issue, they are the result of poor thinking. and it is one of the most frustrating aspects of life in any large mature organization. The solution to breaking down silo is to apply bigger thinking, to implement an effective cross-silo strategy, better integral processes, and collaborative communication. Digital leaders have to not only provide clear process guidelines but also see that the teams are embracing cross-functional collaboration and taking customer-centric effort as well.

The organizational management short-sightedness and running the business in a transactional mode causes digital ineffectiveness for the long run: Digital transformation is a long-term journey, to move up the organizational maturity level, businesses need to shift from transactional mode to transformational mode. From an organizational structure perspective, often the middle management is the bottleneck of the business effectiveness and the very reason for change inertia. Digital is full of uncertainty, velocity, complexity, and ambiguity, business will be more effective and successful when they realize that one of their greatest strengths will be their change capability. There is no prescribed change formula, or one size fits all change scenario. Ignorance of unknown is another pitfall which could fail change and decrease business ineffectiveness. Thus, to avoid the trap of nearsightedness, the long-term business plan needs to be a cross-functional collaborative effort, not something one team does alone in a corner, in order to improve the entire digital business effectiveness. Cross-functional leadership team needs to discuss with the business on how it can facilitate, enable and catalyze the business growth and make continuous changes.

Doing the wrong things well won’t improve business effectiveness: One of the pitfalls for transformation, either for improvement or innovation is sometimes getting the 'right answer' to the 'wrong question.' Doing the wrong things differently isn't transformation. Digital transformation is a leapfrogging business change. There are many pitfalls on the way, first things first, frame the right questions before answering them, ensure doing the right things to improve digital effectiveness before doing things right for achieving efficiency. However, many business changes or transformational efforts are symptomatic of not having a comprehensive understanding and taking a stepwise approach to managing a seamless transformation. It is important to define and achieve the well-setting business goals and ensure the organization as the whole is superior to the sum of pieces.

Silo mindset, cloudy vision, poor strategy, overly rigid business processes, low mature business capability, or disengaged employees, etc, are all big barriers to the digital ineffectiveness of the organization. Only via overcoming these barriers, digital organizations can reach the premium level of digital maturity, which really means a lot, such as business effectiveness, agility, innovation, intelligence, and people-centricity. Organizations which operate this way have happy staff and customers, superior business capabilities, strong balance sheet, and positive social influence upon the environment. They are the digital masters who are courageous to be in the vanguard of digital transformation with a quantum lead.


Hello Pearl,

I would like to add 1 additional barrier - many small and medium businesses have problems coming from the single decision maker that has a wrong vision about the company. A good example is when an owner is an early adopter of new technologies and has a strong desire to make all the processes automated or facilitated base on new innovation. The catch is that especially in small and medium sized companies this is not feasible.

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