Digital Transformation, inwards or outwards change?

“Digital Transformation” is the buzzing topic that everybody is talking about. However, do they know what they are talking about? or even worse, do they know what embracing the “Digital Transformation” means”? Lets give a few ideas so people will have a hint of what they are heading into should they attempt to embrace it.

Keeping pace

“Digital Transformation” is not something that you envision as a static picture that you take and work towards making that picture reality. I’d say that it is like filming a film in which you are the director. However, to make it fun:

  • The actors know just the first line of the script and then they have to improvise.
  • Half way through the film the shooting changes from being shot in the Caribbean to the Himalayas without previous warning.
  • Your film is now rated as “G” when it was before “NC-17”, so you need to change all over again.

What does that mean in “real” life? Simple, you have to be alert of changing factors:

  • New technologies are developed.
  • New interests and new trends are on the market.
  • Products or services that you are producing stop fulfilling entirely or partially the needs of your customers.

Piece of advise: make sure that you have the ability to change or introduce whatever measures are needed to adapt:

Be a visionaire, be ahead of your times, be prepare for the future.

Be ready, plan ahead of time

Those who think that they have the perfect product because it has been in the market long enough or there is no competency for their products so changes are not needed, let me tell you…you’d better start thinking what you want to do in some time as your current business will close for sure. Being indulgent with practices and projects that do not take into consideration what the customer is asking for is not the way to go. Conditions in the market may change at any moment, new laws may be introduced or technologies sought after and demanded by customers for which the company is not ready may put the whole organization at risk. Listen to your customers ALL THE TIME. If a change happens at least you may be ready well enough to overcome the unexpected hurdles. As I like to say:

Control the situation or the situation will control you

Transforming the inner self of the company

The “Digital Transformation” can not only happen “outside”, to your customers. The real transformation has to begin internally. Culture, processes, mentality, togetherness between employees, company internal relations and communications, etc of the whole company have to be revised and adapted to what we want to achieve. It will be good to offer new and more sophisticated articles to our customers but, are we doing the same internally? Are we the example of what we want our customers to become? If we want our customers to be agile and responsive to our products, are we the same internally? If we pretend to make external changes without reviewing our internal ecosystem, we will fail:

Implementing a fast technology in the wrong process will make the process faster…but still wrong

Everything starts at the top

Needless to say, changing an organization embracing a complete “Digital Transformation” is not easy. Most areas will be affected and, as such, resistance will be found. The only way to avoid conflicts to make any resistance futile is if that transformation comes from the top of the pyramid (company) down to the last person of the company. Everybody must be involved and communication is utmost. If the leaders of the changes do not actually set the example, it is impossible that the transformation will occur.

Technology by itself is not enough

I have seen many companies where they were perceiving the “Digital Transformation” as something belonging to “IT”:

“Digital Transformation” is  not just IT

IT is the tool, the messenger…it is the means to an end, not an end in itself. Those who think that “throwing” money into IT will be enough to become “transformed” can start saving their money for better cases. It is like building a skyscraper: IT will be the top floor but to reach there you have to go through the other floors (i.e. finance, HR, procurement, etc). If they are not built properly it will be impossible to get to the top.

Trust your heart and share your expertise

Everybody knows what they are good at. We are not a bunch of kids pretending that we are good at everything (or, at least, we shouldn’t). If you want to transform your company you may not have the experts in every field…however, in whatever you are good at, make sure you are heard, your tips will be much appreciated. Take into consideration that the experts implementing and changing your systems may not be a legal expert, or a HR expert or a procurement expert…experts in “Digital Transformation” will help you put all the puzzle together but you have to bring the parts of the puzzle. They will help you to “shape” them if they dont fit properly.


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