Let’s be honest, digital transformation is not new. In fact, I was an early victim of digital transformation in my early teens, when my uncle, a sociologist, bought the original domestic IBM in the eighties, and my profitable ‘weekend job’ as a human calculator of data tables vanished to the flamboyant Lotus 123. Not a happy boy. And, although the concept is not new, the COVID pandemic has accelerated the need for digital transformation. The lockdowns in 2020-21 have taught companies that businesses had to get closer to their clients and employees alike. From the need to increase the volume of home deliveries, to the necessity for bringing services like health closer to patients, to the requirement for employees to be fully operational from home. The pandemic has simply accelerated the pace of change, not invented it.
So, if digital transformation is so important in 2022, are Companies really succeeding at it? We have received wisdom that only a small number (20-30%) of business transformations demonstrably succeed in their ambitions and deliver the benefits and ROI envisaged. Those with a high digital content often prove the most challenging. How can this be possible?
Transformation is hard to define, and it is a lot more than just change. Transformation is about achieving a fundamental shift in the way a business operates in response to an inflection point – e.g. scaling, disruption to competitor landscape, technological innovation, economic or political change, change of business ownership etc. Transformation is required when evolution is insufficient – when we want a butterfly, not just a bigger caterpillar.
There are plenty of books out there that talk about change and transformation. Probably too many. In my head there are 10 simple rules for simpler change. And just like the ten commandments, the more of them you break, the less chance you have of implementing successful transformational heaven…