The 10 pitfalls of digital transformation #7: Be Realistic – Don’t Call Out Digital Success Too Early!

The 10 pitfalls of digital transformation #7: Be Realistic – Don’t Call Out Digital Success Too Early!

Would you celebrate winning a gold medal before starting the race or winning the cricket test series before bowling a ball? Simply put, you wouldn’t. Assuming success before it happens is seen as arrogant and often results in having an ‘egg on your face’ effect when you fail.

Yet, when we look at digital transformation successes, it is very rare to find a company that is humble about its project wins and client successes, because market competition is making organisations hungry to win big, win more, and call out those wins. Fujitsu is a Japanese company and we are very different in the manner in which we approach our successes. Success drives us to innovate more, not to shout about it. It’s just who we are.

So when I think about big technology companies announcing digital wins, I wanted to truly understand what they were, why the cause for celebration? I suspected that often it’s about creating a perception in the market about being a digital leader and that its often just digital wash. I dug a bit deeper and realised that the successes were premature to the whole digital transformation process and essentially, comparable to celebrating an Olympic medal 10 meters in to the race. One company even went as far as saying that it had ‘digitally-enabled’ a bank’s account application process when, in fact, all it had achieved was moving a few things online – but you still had the same security issues and transactional processes. Whereas, at Fujitsu, we have delivered digital transformation at banks which has changed the entire way in which accounts are operated – such as enhancing security using Palm Vein biometrics (PalmSecure) on ATMs, therefore enhancing the customer experience.

Celebrating early brings a really big problem to the table in the form of confusion around what is the value of digital

Saying that you have digitalised through creating an online portal or setting up a new online process, does not mean you really have delivered a digital transformation. What are you going to do with the data that you’re getting? How are you automating and analysing that data? In the example of the bank, how have you digitally enabled the customer to deposit a cheque without coming into the bank? How will you ensure authentication and security has been done? How have you built-in mobility to these processes? In essence – what is the end-to-end digital transformation you are wanting to achieve?

This brings us back to my last post about understanding what your objectives are and avoiding tactical digital projects. Take a holistic approach to your processes before you allow anyone to call it a success. But the most important factor is to be aware that when you do embark on a digital project, you will fail – but it’s all about failing fast and failing forward.

In our case, at Fujitsu, we are proud to have helped our customers to achieve many digitalisation successes. We promote agile development and we co-create with our customers. Our successes all add up towards the greater good – and we’ll shout about success when our customers report real business benefits from end-to-end digital transformation and when they have achieved the business objectives which drove their digital transformation.

Have you missed some of my blog series on avoiding the 10 pitfalls of digital transformation? If so please read the full series here:

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  • […] Digital culture doesn’t gloss over failure because it’s seen as useful feedback which can be examined, to learn how to improve ideas and solutions. For established organisations recognising failure is often the first step towards important insights into how their world is changing. For new entrants, failure can reveal that you that you are pushing the envelope of your market, or capabilities, to be all that you can be. Either way failure is something to look for, not hide away from. […]

  • […] #7: Be Realistic – Don’t Call Out Digital Success Too Early! […]

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