Four Digital Transformation Mis-steps That Will Impede Your Service Success

Mar 07, 2019 • FeaturesmanagementDigitialisationIFSStrategySarah Nicastro

Is your organisation digitally determined or are you amongst the 54% of companies who are currently digitally distraught? Sarah Nicastro, IFS, reflects on some of the common errors to avoid when approaching digitalisation...

In a recent blog titled You Need a New Digital Transformation Playbook, published by IDC, author Meredith Whalen reveals that based on a recent study of digital leaders, 46 percent are what IDC refers to as “digitally determined” while 54% are what IDC calls “digitally distraught.”

It doesn’t surprise me that such a large percentage of organisations fall into the “distraught” category – true digital transformation is a massive undertaking that can prove daunting and frustrating at times. In an effort to alleviate some of the headaches that can come along with such a major initiative, I’m going to share four common missteps I see organisations make related to digital transformation:

#1: Overlooking the Cultural Implications of Digital Transformation
If you think of digital transformation as strictly a technology initiative, you are starting off on the wrong foot. Digital transformation requires just as much cultural change as it does technology use, yet this piece of the puzzle is commonly overlooked for a variety of reasons – leaders assume employees will just “get it,” carving out time for cultural change management seems to slow down progress, or companies just aren’t sure how to tackle such a cultural shift.

I assure you, making an effort to get the cultural part of digital transformation right will pay dividends. I’ve heard countless tales of efforts gone wrong because the employee wasn’t bought in on the concept or properly trained on the tool introduced.

Key areas to focus on are to communicate clearly and regularly with all employees on the need and objectives for your transformation – implement a feedback loop with your employees and listen to what they have to say. Be selective about the technology you adopt as part of your effort – if the tool doesn’t meet the needs of your workforce or
is difficult to use, adoption will suffer. Investing in tools that do what they say they will and deliver an experience your employees actually value will build their trust in your digital transformation efforts. Finally, continually monitor adoption and “take the temperature” of your employees to course correct your efforts as needed.

"Making an effort to get the cultural part of digital transformation right will pay dividends..."


#2: Failing to Set a Solid Digital Transformation Foundation
It’s all too easy to become enamored by some of the ultra-cool facets of digital transformation and gloss over some of the basics. But for true digital transformation to be successful, you have to walk before you run.

You have to ensure you’ve laid a solid foundation of basics from which to build your digital repertoire. While not as sexy as AR and AI, effective and efficient communication, bulletproof scheduling and routing, and solid work order management are examples of more basic technology that simply has to be mastered before being built upon.

As you evaluate your foundation, think about the past — what do you have in place already that is working well; the present — what you want to accomplish in the near term; and the future — what you want your digital portfolio to look like five years from now. This will help you visualise the evolution of how you build on what you have to get where you want to be, or will help you to identify changes you need to make to your current systems before building upon them.

#3: Defining YOUR Desired Digital Transformation State
To achieve digital transformation success, you MUST realise that your desired end state will be unique. I’ve seen organisations get off track because they see what ABC Company is doing and make every effort to replicate their success, rather than tailoring the approach to their own business. It’s fine to look around you for inspiration but staying in your own lane is critical to your success.

Start by defining your business goals, by visualising what YOUR desired digital transformation state looks like (and of course agreeing upon this vision organisation-wide). Each businesses’ end goal is going to be individualised, as well the approach for getting there – no two companies can follow the exact same path.

Once you have your goals set and vision articulated, focus then on only the technologies that will get you there – don’t allow yourself to be sidetracked by the new, shiny thing that will ultimately bring no value to your business but looks really cool. Stay focused and measure your progress to that desired state.

#4: Racing to Reach The “End Goal” of Digital Transformation
I’m here to break it to you: you’ll never reach the end of your digital transformation efforts. The “end goal” is a myth; it doesn’t exist. The reality of digital transformation in the technology age is that it will keep going, and going, and going.
This means you have to work to perfect the art of ongoing cultural adaptation, business goal setting, and technology adoption – because you’ll be adding on to and tweaking your digital transformation efforts from now until the end of time.

Don’t let this overwhelm you – the foundation you are setting will equip your entire organisation to make future adjustments and additions far more seamlessly.

While there is no true state of completion, the race is on to make progress and remain competitive.

Sarah Nicastro is Director of Service Management Business Development at IFS.