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The Essentials of a Successful Digital Transformation Strategy

by Jack Calhoun, on Sep 11, 2020 1:27:23 PM

The tools for digital transformation are available to every organization and are more accessible at lower costs through “as-a-service” subscription models than ever before. Everything from hosting, to website development, to core transaction systems, to data mining and AI are all at any company’s fingertips with scalable pricing models and self-service setup. With this level of accessibility and affordability, why are some companies succeeding at digital transformation while most are failing?

A recent Forbes Survey showed a staggering 70% of digital transformations fail. Although most companies and executives know how crucial it is to evolve with technology and create digital processes and solutions, taking theory and turning it into action is an entirely different story. 

As I watch executive teams respond to the challenges of digital transformation, I see three very different postures of response:

  1. ‘It’s a technical challenge.’ This is the largest segment of executives who view this revolution as a ‘technology tool’ modernization. The CIO primarily owns this challenge and needs to mobilize the organization around this initiative.
  2. ‘Let’s wait it out.’ The primary focus of this second largest cohort is ‘playing it safe.’ We simply automate and build on existing processes, add video conferencing to our toolkit and call it a day. This is the most dangerous posture because digital transformation is here to stay.
  3. ‘This is lasting and fundamental.’ This cohort recognizes that digital transformation is an imminent and imperative shift in strategy and operating model design that is enabled by technology. Although it is currently a small cohort, it is growing rapidly.

The first two cohorts make up the majority - around 70%. The third cohort are the 30% who are succeeding. Why? This cohort has a CEO who recognizes this is a fundamental and lasting change across industries. This CEO recognizes that their personal daily involvement and leadership will drive digital transformation and that the impact of these decisions will cascade throughout the organization affecting the people, processes and technology.

Resistance to digital transformation can be born from uncertainty. However, the Strategy-to-Execution (S2E) process addresses this very issue. S2E equips you with the tools and knowledge to help you make decisions around your product/service, channels and digital operating model design. Digital transformation shouldn’t slow you down. The Strategy-to-Execution process arms you with ability to run and improve your 1.0 analog business model while you transition and transform to the 2.0 digital operating model.

Just like other operational processes, the Strategy-to-Execution process needs to be re-imagined. The inputs, process and outputs are the components of strategy and the operating model brings this vision to life.

  1. It is People – The pivotal factor in how we organize work, collaborate in design, engage employees, make decisions and assign leadership roles.
  2. It is Process – The processes and customer experiences we offer must become central and vivid elements of our new operating model. Today, they are opaque and marbled into to our functional org charts, when in reality, those processes should be our guiding light.
  3. And yes, it is Technology – but this is actually the easiest part.

People, Process, Technology

James Carville coined the phrase It’s the economy, stupid," in 1992 during Bill Clinton’s successful presidential campaign. James pasted this slogan on the walls of every campaign office. In the case of digital transformation, one could say “It’s the business model and customer experience.” I will leave off the “stupid” – I don’t believe people are stupid, simply uninformed.

Get the support you need to design and execute the digital transformation strategy that best suits you and your organization. Contact us for a consultation to help create your plan of attack! To learn more about the effectiveness of the Strategy-to-Execution process, click below.

Strategy to Execution Process

Written by Jack Calhoun

Jack Calhoun is the CEO and Co-Founder of Accelare. Jack is a noted teacher and author, including co-author of The Next Revolution in Productivity and a key contributor to the works of Michael Hammer and Jim Champy including Best Selling Re-engineering the Corporation and X-Engineering. Jack was also the winner of the CSC Technical Excellence Award for his work in systems development methods and tools.  Jack’s prior company, Business Architects was sold to Ross Perot and Perot Systems where Jack was the lead consultant on the turn-around of Harvard Pilgrim HealthCare. Jack served as an Advisory Board Member at the Tennenbaum Institute of Georgia Tech which has launched the first Masters of Science degree program in Enterprise Transformation.

Topics:Strategy to ExecutionDigital TransformationEnterprise Strategy

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