It wasn’t that long ago when a business could manage change at a reasonable pace. Many factors have changed this, but none so much as the rise of the Internet and social media—the impacts of which have accelerated change over the last few years. Enterprises now need to sense and respond in real time, turning their organizations on a dime to effectively respond to the myriad factors that affect a business, such as changes in customer behavior, market opportunities, competitive pressures and regulatory requirements. This means you must build a sense of urgency in your organization—make sure everyone understands that becoming a digital enterprise is now a “live or die” mission.
The driving force behind this far more fluid, rapid and complex business environment is digital technology. Companies that have failed to step up to the digital challenge like Kodak and Blockbuster have seen their businesses crumble into dust. Innovators like Amazon.com, Netflix, Lovefilm and Apple’s iTunes applied new digital technologies to revolutionize the publishing and music industries. Banks are feeling the pressure from PayPal, Apple, Google Wallet and others whose mobile payments technology threatens to displace them in consumers’ daily transactions. Digital transformation is no longer just a nice to have—it’s a non-negotiable requirement. If you are not embracing digital transformation as an opportunity to get ahead of the competition, then you must become a digital enterprise as a matter of survival.
Whether you are embarking on digital transformation out of opportunity or fear, you must instill in your organization a sufficient level of urgency. I recently read an article by Michael Hyatt in his Intentional Leadership blog that nicely sums up why conveying urgency is so important. In his post Creating a Sense of Urgency, he writes, “The companies that we see thrive as a digital enterprise shift their cultures from the slower pace of business-as-usual to urgency.”
We have found that a good way to successfully promote urgency is to create a change champion in the organization. These are leaders who alter the mindset of the organization by embodying the traits they want to see, demonstrating and communicating the need for urgency through their actions, behaviors and words. They eliminate non-urgent tasks, delegate more work, speak with passion and are purpose-driven, showing people it is possible to become a digital enterprise. At the end of the day, these are the key individuals who help organizations overcome their fears and gain the courage to embrace change.
Lloyds Bank is a great example of an organization that has recognized the urgency for digital transformation. At our most recent PegaWORLD, Bruce Mitchell, Enterprise Architecture Director, Group IT, Lloyds Banking Group discussed the bank’s transformation. While the bank was engaged in an ambitious program to simplify its business processes, it continued to use a traditional approach to delivering change. Lloyds realized simplifying business processes to deliver better, faster and more responsive service to its customers demanded better, faster and more flexible change delivery capabilities. Its technology organization has begun a program to re-architect the bank for the digital world, investing in digital tooling and leading a bank-wide cultural change to leave behind the era of massive programs, armies of people and years-long delivery cycles in favor of nimble, faster-change cycles and incremental, iterative releases powered by modern digital technologies.
The digital evolution is raging, and you must embrace the change to lead your industry. By championing the need for change and spreading a clear message throughout your organization, you have taken the first step towards building a company ready and able to embrace massive and continuous change, which is the ultimate benefit of being digital.
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