Scrooge vs Grinch for a Christmas of Transformation!

 In Archive

This morning, I read Jonathan Becher’s following post on business transformation through culture  as opposed to technology and it set me thinking:

I agree that sustained business transformation can succeed only when it comes from within, rather than it being management-led or consultant-initiated  which could be superficial. You DO need the change of heart, a la Grinch @ Christmas.

However, digital transformation incumbent upon most modern enterprises is way different from past transformations such as Globalization, BPR or the advent of ERP/CRM technologies that had transformational impact. The sheer pace of change in digital transformation is accelerated and continuous innovation of customer experiences is an inherent expectation.

So, it is not whether carrot or stick works better, or whether consultants or management will be the change agents or if culture trumps strategy or the other way around. It is about an approach to transformation that accounts for what makes digital different from other transformations and that leads me to the focus that needs to be on the “how” of digital. The base tenets of which in my view, are:

  • Designing products, services and indeed customer experiences for continuous change and not for a known end-state or steady-state. Incremental and iterative approach to change – not just in technology but in all aspects of business is key. Everything needs to take this approach starting with management direction, technology strategy and execution. And in that respect a “culture” of being Agile will determine success.
  • Thinking about new and potentially unique customer experiences first – and not organizational capabilities or technology functionality. Digital is all about unique experiences brought about through insights from data and unique ways of engaging customers for engendering new/improved revenue streams
  • Technology still matters – after all, there will be no talk of digital without the use of technology – but the approach to technology has to be fundamentally different than before.

In conclusion, I feel that the “how” matters to digital transformation the most, across management approach, technology, and culture. However, it is equally important, in view of the hype around digital to ensure that essential technology refreshes and modernization efforts are not disguised as transformational.

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