Thursday, March 15, 2018

The Bumpy Road to Going Digital

The digital transformation, like the computer technology revolution itself, is a long journey over the bumpy road.

Digital era is volatile, complex, uncertain and ambiguous, the shift to digital cuts across sectors, geographies and leadership roles, the digital transformation is now spreading rapidly to enable organizations of all shapes and sizes to reinvent themselves. It is important to bridge the multitude of gaps for speeding up changes, unlocking performance, and building a delightful workplace in order to run a high performance and high mature digital organization. However, many organizations are still confused digital with general technology adoption. It's a significant shift from doing digital to going digital and being digital. In practice, doing digital perhaps means that the business takes a few initiatives for adopting some new gadgets, but going digital is an overarching management discipline which includes breaking down silos, tuning underlying processes & functions, managing both tangible and intangible business elements, evolving emerging trends and dynamic ecosystem. There are numerous barriers and pitfalls on the way, and for most organizations, it will be the bumpy road from doing digital to going digital.

Fail to focus: The most difficult topic during digital transformation is managing uncertainty especially when you change many things such as systems, processes, capacities, culture, and organization at the whole at the same time. There are so many things organizations need to spin well simultaneously these days. It's really tied to place and time. Thus, one of the biggest pitfalls could be that the management gets distracted by emerging issues or irrelevant noises or details without focusing on things really matter. The digital management styles should be updated to enforce interrelational management process being developed to help reduce the tensions, frictions, and conflicts that arise. Focus on digitizing the fundamental nature of enterprises or businesses, focus on what changes or technologies need to be adopted and what needs to be bypassed; dig into the root cause of change friction, and understand the psychology behind changes. Do not ignore the relevant information and invaluable feedback as well because it informs you with greater clarity, and leads you to something better, and create the synergy by going digital.

Fail to climb the learning curve: Digital means the abundance of information and shortened knowledge cycle. Both at the individual and organizational level, if you fail to climb the learning curve, you will get static and lag behind. Therefore, it is important to build a culture of learning as the prerequisite for going digital and being digital. Digital technologies blur the functional, business, industry, and geographical territories so information can flow more freely across the business ecosystem. Going digital and being digital in one’s business implies first going digital internally and culturally, and change needs to be started at the mindset level. From the top down, the static mindset is the very obstacle for the business and society moving up to the deep digital new normal. Having learning curve awareness means to understand how change capabilities are underpinned by change processes, people, and technology, and how much change capability is really required for the change effort you are kicking off. The business becomes more successful when the corresponding learning curve has reduced uncertainty to the point where both the strategic synergy and organizational interdependence can be structured. Constantly improving and seeing change as an opportunity while keeping a holistic overview of the business are the core messages of “Going Digital.”

Fail to adapt and innovate: Digital is the age of innovation. Creativity becomes the #1 wanted quality in running a high mature digital business. For every organization which loses the atmosphere of adaptation and innovation to the processes of bureaucratic fossilization, it will become irrelevant sooner or later. The organizational management short-sightedness and running the business in a transactional mode can only cause digital ineffectiveness in the long run. Lack of systematic processes or having overly rigid processes can both cause innovation to fail. Build and foster an innovating culture, provide a consistent way for companies to evaluate the promised value as well as address the innovation management issues such as, how to reduce risk and eliminate low-value projects quickly and effectively. And how to manage a portfolio of investment in innovation to get the best return, policies, processes, and commitment. Innovation processes need to be rigorous, not too rigid; innovation is the change, change management needs to be an integral part of innovation management. By going and being digital, organizations should build a highly integrated technology-enabled business platform, fine-tune organizational structure to enable business flow, manage and enforce a healthily balanced innovation portfolio in a structural way.

The digital transformation, like the computer technology revolution itself, is a long journey over the bumpy road. A digital transformation is an overarching approach that has to dig underneath of the surface of businesses and takes a holistic approach to integrate both hard and soft business elements for improving the long-term organizational competency and reaching the high-level of business maturity.


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