Digital transformation is not just about technology.
Problem: Despite the reality of technology, many executives and organizations have still not fully understood the implications of digital technology. Thus, many companies are not well-positioned to compete in the marketplace successfully.
Opportunity: By fully embracing digital transformation, leaders will experience decades of success. Because of the pivot and lean into digital technology, leaders will become market leaders.
Resolution: To fully shift, embrace, and integrate the digital transformation, executives have to change their thinking. Also, they have to change the habits that prevent change management around technology to fully take root.
The Realities of the Digital Transformation
According to an article in Harvard Business Review, in 2019, the #1 concern of executives was digital transformation. However, 70% of those efforts did not achieve their goals. In short, that is an astounding number. And, that's especially true when you look at the money loss. As noted in the piece, $1.3 trillion got spent on digital transformation. Yet, with only a 30% rate of success, that meant a loss of about $900 billion. Do you know the primary culprit for the lack of progress? If you said the thinking and mind of the leader, you would be correct.
So, let's start with the question, what is digital transformation? Sure, it involves digital technology. But succeeding also means addressing your leadership philosophy.
What and how a leader thinks and behaves makes the difference between success and failure.
And, one of the ideas that leaders must absorb is that we have moved from managing process to agility. In other words, as a manager and change agent, to gain more profit through the modern business environment, you must master the pivot. You have to manage with agility and foster a learning culture and one of empowerment. Also, you want your team to challenge old-fashioned ideas, and to be disruptive.
Digital transformation affords leaders the chance to organize cross-functional teams around specific customer groups in order to create fast, flat, flexible, and responsive growth strategies based on the observed and measured habits and actions of real people in real time.
So, digital technology needs to align with every area of your business. In short, it means sales, finance, marketing, and product departments all have to blend seamlessly with technology. By doing so, you will have a birds-eye view of your customer experience at every level. And, with that, you move ideas from mind to market faster, impacting your profit.
10 Things All Leaders Must Know About Analytics
Before we discuss how to think about data transformation, let's get into analytics a bit. As we know, we're moving toward full digital technology integration in every facet of the business. But, managers do exist, whom I call posers. Meaning, to cover their discomfort with technology, they repeat what some "expert" said somewhere. Unfortunately, they don't understand what they're saying. And, as a business management consultant, I've seen this too often. It can't continue.
Technology and data fluency is vital for all business leaders for credibility.
10 Ideas Every Leader Has to Know About Data Analytics
Analytics is a discipline with digital technology at the core.
It forces companies to agree on terms, measures, and priorities unlike ever before.
Analytics is more than Excel reporting. Graphics are standard protocols.
Big data is not the opposite of analytics. It describes the quantity of data processing.
Analytics necessitates action as informed by digital technology.
It makes business leaders more informed partners in building value into intelligence.
Analytics will force you to confront your current management ideas.
It will force business leaders to develop new skills.
Analytics only works if you have data.
Analytics is an emerging space. You can resist it, ignore it, outsource it, or explain it away. But you can’t escape data transformation.
7 Musts to Embrace Digital Transformation as a Business Leader
If you are a business leader, you have to embrace digital transformation. And, as I mentioned, there are two components. The first is technology. And, the second is your philosophy and mindset around digital technology. Instead of being a swimmer who is dipping their feet into the ocean, you have to take the plunge. In the end, you will be quicker and more responsive in the marketplace. And, that, as you know, gives you a competitive advantage.
7 Things You Have to Do as a Leader
Your communication has to go digital. And that means that every form of communication must involve digital technology. Every way you communicate must be available on your mobile device.
Perfection does not exist. Nothing will ever be perfect. That's the inherent nature of life and the business environment. So, you have to shorten the distance between learning failures and success. And, the only way to do it is to stop seeking perfection.
The product cycle of your company has to shorten. With digital technology, everything gets measured. But, the market moves much faster than your reading of historical data. So, make decisions with real-time data information.
Ensure compliance and risk are part of the innovation cycle. In other words, identify and mitigate risk before it becomes a problem. Thus, allow your operations to innovate solutions before the headaches. With digital technology, they have a lot of information.
Think like your customer and not as a corporate executive. As we know, the marketplace is all about the user and customer experience. So, digital technology helps you bridge the divide between what they need and what you offer.
Speed up access to your teams by embracing the digital transformation. With virtual teams now the norm, you need technology to reach them on-demand.
Make data a diplomat at the executive table. Meaning, make sure all your leaders are fluent in digital technology. By doing so, everyone will make informed decisions.
The Digital Transformation is a Revolution
In sum, digital technology has brought about a revolution. As you know, businesses operate in a supercharged environment.
Uncertainty and data are part of the ingredients for innovation and growth. Thus, embracing digital transformation is the choice of every leader—a choice grounded in the possibilities of the future rather than the confidence of the past.
But, you can't hide fluency in digital technology at the business and executive levels. And, that fluency means the difference between sales growth or stagnation.
Ben Stroup is Chief Growth Architect and President at Velocity Strategy Solutions where he helps leaders design, develop, and deploy smarter business growth strategies. Ben is a futurist, disruptor, and data champion. He leads a team that takes a structured learning approach to business challenges, which allows them to assist leaders in bridging the gap between ideas, innovation, and revenue—taking ideas from mind to market.
Velocity Strategy Solutions is an on-demand, next-generation business strategy and management consulting firm which provides clients with a relentless focus on data, execution, and results that positively impact the bottom line. Velocity delivers integrated people and revenue strategies combined with a disciplined approach to growth architecture that elevates the capacity of leaders, teams, and organizations to succeed and win more.