Three important digital transformation observations
Digital transformation is both a big, hairy audacious goal to reach and a never ending journey. Here’s three things to keep in mind during the pursuit of technology evolution.
Digital transformation still confuses leaders and organisations.
But ask W3.Digital CEO Mark Cameron what it is, and you can expect to strap in for an illuminating tour through decades of digital experience and evolution, to ‘connect the dots’ and turn a complex challenge into something simple you can act on in your organisation today.
And that’s just what we received on the latest episode of the Ready Podcast.
In our Mini Digital Transformation Masterclass with Mark (based on the real Masterclass content Mark teaches on Digital Transformation Leadership at Deakin University), Mark helps us understand the ‘what’ and ‘why’ of transformation, and a whole lot more besides.
Here’s just three nuggets from that conversation that leaders can benefit from.
1. Digital transformation is more than ‘digitisation’
Digital transformation means different things to different people and organisations. Most often, it’s confused with the term ‘digitisation’. Mark Cameron defines digitisation as the process or activity of taking business processes and just putting them into technology.
“That might be bringing a lot of manual processes together and moving those processes to large technology systems – the famous trend over the last few years has been moving to ERP and marketing automation systems – in many cases those are digitisation activities.”
Often, Mark says the drivers for digitisation are about cutting costs and making things move faster, rather than foundational change in how an organisation operates. “Digitisation is often doing the exact same things we have always done but faster and cheaper.”
2. Digital transformation is not just about tech
Students in Mark’s Digital Transformation Leadership Masterclass at Deakin often think the course will be a lot about more about technology than it actually is, and are surprised by what they find. “It’s very much more about managing change in an organisation.”
“It’s about culture. About how people view their jobs. Making structural changes. It might be KPI changes, process changes. Digital transformation results in new revenue, new ways of interacting with customers, and exploring new opportunities that didn’t exist before.”
“To be highly effective in today’s world, you do need to understand technology and operate within highly digital ecosystems and make the most of that. Yes, you are importing and building it into software and technology, but digital transformation is about culture.”
3. Leaders are critical to transformation success
Digital transformation calls for bold and courageous vision setting from leaders as well as ownership and example from the top. Cameron says he often tells CEOs and leaders that it is better for organisations to be running towards something than away from something.
“If it’s defensive, and you’re doing it because everybody is doing it or they will fall behind, it’s not inspiring. It’s better to have a big goal people want to head towards. If you can build that unifying vision or North Star you can get people to head in the right direction.
Leaders are essential for this. “Often everyone can see a better way forward, but it can feel like the business is stuck. [Leaders] need to try to define and carve out a space that doesn’t exist elsewhere and get wholesale change in an organisation, and that’s hard,” he says.
Check out the full conversation and many more on the Ready Podcast.