Avoiding the Pitfalls of Digital Transformation = Enabling Digital

Avoiding the Pitfalls of Digital Transformation = Enabling Digital

When I started this blog series, I wanted to inspire you on your digital journey – to provide actionable advice and reassurance in what is a very disruptive time for organizations of all sizes. There is no set timetable for digital transformation – but one thing is clear: digital is now an imperative, for any organization that is looking to its future success.

Helping define what success looks like has been a key part of the series, therefore as we reach the conclusion, I wanted to summarize the key pitfalls I’ve identified over the past year. These have become crystallized through conversations I’ve had with organizations – and I’ve narrowed down how best to avoid them. There’s more detail on each of these 10 if you’d like to dive in more deeply – just follow the link.

#1: The wrong view of digital transformation

In the words of H.G. Wells “The path of least resistance is the path of the loser”. No digital transformation project should try to introduce new technology simply for the sake of new technology. This is the wrong view. You need a business reason, a relevance – and you need company-wide recognition.

#2: What success looks like

Walt Disney once said: “Of all the things I’ve done, the most vital is coordinating the talents of those who work for us and pointing them towards a certain goal”. Whatever your project, set your goal upfront: Be very clear on the type of transformation that you’re trying to achieve. After that, go down one level and scope out what can be measured and the return on investment so that you know what to call a success – these are the quantifiable business benefits.

#3: To succeed, you must cut bait early and fail fast: but not too fast

Success comes through fast failure. For digital transformation projects, the journey is the process. Don’t be afraid to question and edit projects in real time, but don’t be too quick in classifying something as a failure, when it’s actually just the implementation that is flawed. At the same time, keep a critical eye open for the warning signs – if your proof of concept cannot solve the problem you have defined on a small scale, then you need to need to cut bait, collect the learnings and move on.

#4: Don’t be dazzled by digitalization

The headline says everything: Don’t be overwhelmed by the flashy digitalization projects you hear about. Take another look at the problems your business is trying to solve. There’s likely to be scope for optimizing the technology that you have, or efficiencies to be exploited by integrating some simple projects. Digitalization really is for everyone.

#5: Avoid silos and make transformation everyone’s business

As with bees in a swarm, you need collaboration between multiple different business functions to drive digital transformation. Each function must help make the business as a whole successful. Only when all functions buy into a digital project and perceive it to be important to succeed, you’ll get a cohesive approach. It is about making digitalization everybody’s business.

#6: The Bottom-Up Approach Does Not Work with Digital Transformation Projects

You cannot look at transformation from a bottom-up perspective. Instead, your holistic view should be based on an enterprise-wide view of your company’s strategic outcomes.

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

Claiming you have digitalized after creating an online portal or setting up a new online process does not actually mean you have delivered digital transformation. How are you automating and analyzing the data you’re collecting? At Fujitsu, we’ll only 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.

#8: Get Commitment all the Way to the Top

Sports icon Michael Jordan once said “talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships”. Getting commitment all the way from the top is one of the best examples of how well transformation projects can work – it prevents silos, leverages benefits across the organization and steers towards true digitalization. Get feedback from all areas of the company and take them to the board. This will help to ensure that digital transformation becomes a truly enterprise-wide collaboration.

#9: Pick the Low Hanging Fruit

Ancient Chinese philosopher and writer Lao Tzu said: “Do the difficult things while they are easy, and do the great things while they are small. A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.”

Taking care of the low hanging fruit enables organizations to quickly resolve issues which impact employees. But the full benefit is derived when the solution for an issue is rolled into an end-to-end digital transformation solution.

#10: Own It!

Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer famously said in 2007: “There’s no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance.” To stay ahead of the curve, it is vital for everyone to believe in the future that the transformation enables, to “own” the strategy. Remember that it takes a team to build an organization, but a vision to keep it on track.

Hopefully, this series of blogs has highlighted what to avoid in digital transformation. What’s next, you might ask. As outlined in our Fujitsu Technology & Service Vision, every business today is becoming a technology company. Organizations are embedding digital technology into their core value-generation processes. At Fujitsu, we are passionate about organizations reaching beyond their traditional boundaries to achieve real value-creation in the digital era and we do this with our customers through co-creation. Digital transformation is a journey and we value the opportunities to partner with our customers on projects like this. I’d highly recommend you take a look at our recent global digital transformation survey results, which we’ve called PACT. This highlights how by working together, through co-creation, Fujitsu helps its customers to succeed in this era of unprecedented change.

Hopefully I’ve been able to pass on some helpful insights – and to share some inspiration as you leverage the value of digital within your organization. I’m grateful to you for your comments, your encouragement, and for staying on the course: here we are at the summit, and isn’t the view just great?

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