What is meaning of Digital in Digital Transformation

This is the most common question I am asked during all my years in digital transformation. It may come in various formats, but the intent is to understand the digital transformation scope. Every digital transformation lead will have a different answer based on the state of the company’s evolution. Hence no answer can be right or wrong in my opinion.
As per me, Digital is the new way of doing business and engaging with customers in this digital age. That is why a digital transformation should focus on both customers and employees in transforming the following:
  • User Experience
  • Business Processes
  • Business Systems
Do you agree? Please share your thoughts.

Leading Digital Transformation (Step 8)- Institute Change

Articulate the connections between the new behaviors and organizational success, and develop the means to ensure leadership development and succession.

Don’t manage – lead change before you have to. -Jack Welch

Here are some of the things that I have seen implemented in order to solidify change that has been initiated or created due to Digital Transformation initiatives:

  • Start a Digital enablement program
  • Promote and adopt ROI mindset
  • Align Digital KPI’s to Performance KPI’s in long-term
  • Whatever else that you think can work based on the culture of your organization

This is the final step on the list of 8 steps that I recommend for digital transformation in your organization.

Leading Digital Transformation (Step 7)- Sustain Acceleration

At this stage, all successful digital programs already have huge momentum. Frequent small wins and the guiding coalition is working in the favor of digital transformation to move to next big and bold things that are right for the organization. At this stage the digital transformation program is already generating some clear ROI hence you can feel confident about bringing necessary changes to accelerate the program.

This is the best time to change systems, structures, and policies that don’t align with the vision that you have for the organization. If you can find efficiencies in your organization this is the best time to make those moves and restructure your team. Also hire, promote and develop employees who can implement your vision. This is also a right time to reinvigorate the process with new projects and teams.

Some of my personal favorites at this stage are:

  • Get your long-term plan for build and maintain phase pitched and approved.
  • Setup bigger change mediums like digital Center of Excellence for internal consulting and engaging more internal customers so that ROI of the digital transformation program can be further enhanced
  • Pitch next big digital projects. This will also help to ensure that digital continues to be a priority for C-level
  • As ROI become more and more critical and the center point of your operating model, engage with business functions and help them understand how the services of your digital teams can be leveraged by their teams to generate more business, customer satisfaction etc. Help them plan for the next fiscal year using all this information.
Problem Reframing

Reframe Problems Before Solving

I recently understood the importance of reframing the problem before looking into solutions. It helps in creating simple, effective and economical solution in far shorter time.

Problem Reframing
Image Source: HBR

Here are Seven practices for effective reframing of problem in few minutes that I learnt from HBR article:

  1. Establish legitimacy: It’s difficult to use reframing if you are the only person in the room who understands the matter. Share this article with your team https://hbr.org/2017/01/are-you-solving-the-right-problems
  2. Bring outsiders into the discussion: Someone who works with your team but not part of it. They will think differently and challenge the group’s thinking.
  3. People’s definition in writing: This helps in ensuring everyone have the same view and understanding of the problem.
  4. Ask what’s missing: This ensures the description of problem is accurate and complete.
  5. Consider multiple categories: Invite people to identify specifically what category of problem they think the group is facing.
  6. Analyze positive exceptions: Look to instances when the problem did not Occur, asking, what was different about that situation?
  7. Question the objective: Reframe by paying explicit attention to the objectives of the parties involved first clarifying and then challenging them.

Leading Digital Transformation (Step 5)- Empower and Remove Barriers

Removing Barriers
Image Source: NYTimes

The purpose of this stage is to overcome barriers to Digital Transformation. It is crucial to remove barriers to change, change systems or structures that pose threats to digital transformation. These barriers could be structure, skills, systems and supervisors. Three main best practices for removing barriers to change are:

Educate & Engage

When major changes are initiated we need to think about new behavior, skills and attitudes that are required in the new world. A good training with right kind of experience enables digital transformation in a big way. Always remember that encouraged and empowered employees make an enterprise win!

Inform & Negotiate

Every transformation will have it’s fair share of problem stakeholders. A huge category of such problem stakeholders can be influenced directly and indirectly. These stakeholders are not just against the change but also have huge organizational influence. There is no way that your change will be successful without including them in the process. Understanding the real needs/fears of such stakeholders is very critical as you try to negotiate with them to be the supporters of your change.

Every time after a successful negotiations I feel like this

Sucessful Digital transformation Negotiation

Ignore

Some of the problem stakeholders are completely against the change but don’t have huge influence on the organization. The best strategy for such stakeholders is to give them very high level information and keep them out of your routine. You may like to negotiate with such stakeholders but that may not be the best use of your time!

Related Articles:

8 steps to digital transformation

Leading Digital Transformation (Step 1) Creating Sense of Urgency

Leading Digital Transformation (Step 2) Build a Guiding Coalition 

Leading Digital Transformation (Step 3) Develop Vision & Strategy 

Leading Digital Transformation (Step 4) Communicate and Enlist volunteers