Digital Transformation for Enterprises: Why “Bigger” Doesn’t Always Mean “Better”

Digital Transformation for Enterprises: Why “Bigger” Doesn’t Always Mean “Better”

digital transformation

According to one recent study, digital transformation spending is expected to top $1.7 trillion by as soon as 2019 - a massive 42% increase from the money being spent as recently as the end of last year. In 2017 alone, 47% of CEOs said that they were facing increased pressure from boards and other stakeholders to make progress in terms of digitizing their affairs.

But again, the process of executing a successful digital transformation for enterprises is often very different from those of other organizations like small businesses. To truly make technology work for your business instead of the other way around, there are a few key things to keep in mind.

The Shape of Enterprise Digital Transformation

Part of the challenge that an enterprise digital transformation will attempt to address has to do with the fact that customers not only demand more than ever these days, but they also want those results delivered far faster than ever before. So again, digital transformation is all about driving a better customer experience - albeit in a slightly different way than something like a small business might offer.

But even these ideas will require you to focus inward, too. You can't create a positive customer experience without a positive worker experience, meaning that employees need access to the tools and resources they need to more effectively interact with and support those customers on a daily basis. Another part of digital transformation (that many people ignore until it's far too late) also comes down to partner/supplier experience, which is used to both form the beginning of the value change and creates the foundation from which the larger customer experience is built.

The right digital transformation must address ALL of these goals at the same time in your own unique way. Difficult? Certainly. Impossible? Absolutely not.

Why Enterprise Digital Transformations Fail

But equally important is understanding not what enterprise digital transformations are supposed to do, but the common reasons why they often fail to succeed in the first place. This is another area where "bigger" does not always equal "better" - particularly in terms of both what you're trying to accomplish and, more critically, why.

One of the major reasons why enterprise digital transformations fail ultimately comes down to a lack of understanding as to what this initiative is supposed to accomplish in the first place. If your CIO sees digital as a way to increase efficiency while the CMO sees it as a way to increase customer engagement, guess what - they're both right and wrong at the same time. A true digital transformation should attempt to accomplish both, but without a clear vision that is concisely communicated, it will be able to do neither of these things in the ways that you need.

Even going beyond that clear strategy and purpose, enterprise digital transformation requires support of EVERYONE within an organization - including CEOs and other key stakeholders. Everyone must back and believe in this single coherent vision and if they don't, digital transformation is often doomed before it has even officially started.

If organizational leaders aren't on board, it has a ripple effect that is very difficult to overcome - if you're able to do so at all. It creates a decided lack of focus that starves good ideas of the resources they need to thrive. It needlessly empowers a larger resistance to change - something that 43% of CIOs cite as the top hurdle for a successful digital strategy.

It makes it difficult to acquire the new talent needed to guide that transformation and often generates the type of exclusive "back-end" focus that makes customer innovation difficult on the best of days.

Looking Ahead

Another study estimates that by as soon as 2020, a full 60% of all enterprises will have not only totally designed an organization-wide digital transformation strategy, but will also be in the process of implementing it. They'll not only be investing heavily in new technologies like AI and analytics, but they'll have already acquired the talent necessary to use those assets to improve outcomes across the board.

All of this is to say that if your enterprise has not already begun to think about what digital transformation means within your unique context, now would be an excellent time to start.

In our next piece on the subject of digital transformation, we'll take a look at what this concept means in terms of government organizations.

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