Digital transformation is a wide-ranging, sweeping, change that modifies the way a company does business on virtually every front. Add its comparative newness to its sheer scope, and it's easy to see where some myths are generated about it. Some of these myths can be fundamentally disastrous to the project's long-term success, so understanding the myths of digital transformation going into the process can help improve its chances of success and help avoid waste as well.
What Are the Biggest Myths of Digital Transformation?
Several myths surround the process of digital transformation, from the comparatively simple to the surprisingly complex.
Digital Transformation Equates to a Bunch of New Equipment. Perhaps the biggest myth of digital transformation to break is the difference between digital transformation and digitalization. Many believe that digital transformation is just taking processes that were formerly manual and using digital technology to convert them to automated processes. This is not true; this is actually a closer definition to “digitalization.” Digital transformation is a much more complex process that involves change on every level, including even a business's culture, to use digital hardware more effectively to improve customer relations and accomplish a range of other tasks. The two are easily confused because they're interconnected. Digital transformation efforts do commonly involve digitalization efforts at the project level, but digitalization is just a portion of the overall digital transformation process.
Everyone Should Engage in Digital Transformation. Another myth of digital transformation is that everyone should do it. It may sound like seductive reasoning — if my competitors are doing it, then surely I must as well to keep pace in the market — but the reality is that many companies may not be ready for digital transformation. Some companies may only need one or two or several digitalization projects to get them where they want to be. One step toward determining if there's value in digital transformation is to determine if your company can create digital models of its existing processes. If it can't, then a digital transformation is largely unnecessary.
That said, research firms have pointed out that mid-market organizations that have not started to explore digital transformation are behind the eight ball. While your business may not be ready, it is key to at least explore a pre-digital transformation process to ensure your business stays on the cutting edge.
The IT Department Should Run the Digital Transformation. At first blush, this seems perfectly logical. Why let anyone but IT handle a process that is so dependent on digital hardware? However, as noted previously, this is a complete, company-wide change. Allowing IT to handle the whole thing, and ignoring the input of all the other stakeholders and users in the process, is a likely recipe for failure. A digitalization project might be safe in the hands of the IT department, but the entire business should have a hand in this process, working together toward its completion.
A Digital Transformation Can Be Accomplished in One Stroke. There's nothing seductive about this logic. There's nothing even particularly rational about it. A digital transformation can take several years to complete, depending on the company that's engaging in it, and expecting to finish the job with one large bite could prove a disaster. The best way to accomplish a digital transformation is as the cumulative result of a series of projects engaged in over time. Chances are, the technology will change on at least one point in that time, and require updates. Use the legacy technology involved as best you're able until those systems can be replaced as part of your overall push.
You Can't Stage a Digital Transformation Without Going to the Cloud.This statement is only partially true. While involving cloud-based operations is frequently a part of a digital transformation, it's not the entire operation. One technology initiative doesn't make a digital transformation, and several parts of a digital transformation will have little or nothing to do with cloud-based systems at all. Remember, this is a process that impacts the entire organization and its very culture; cultural changes aren't made in the cloud, but the cloud can be and often is part of a cultural shift.
A Digital Transformation Will Mean Enormous Layoffs. Somewhere, some CEO is thinking that a digital transformation will effectively allow him or her to replace almost every paycheck-earning employee with automated processes. This generally isn't true. While there may be some newly-minted redundancies, the more likely scenario is that the current crop of employees will have a range of new tools to put to work. This, in turn, should improve several areas, from first-call resolution to overall customer experience to revenue generated.
How to Get Help Avoiding the Myths of Digital Transformation
With all these myths of digital transformation out there, it's easy to see how a company could get caught up in at least one, and possibly several. The best way to fend off myths is with information, and at UTG, we've developed a simple checklist that can help determine your readiness for digital transformation. Beyond that, we can offer ample perspective and physical help in setting up your digital transformation efforts. So reach out to us and begin your journey on the road to a complete digital transformation.