The last chapter of Leading Digital has an interesting observation:
- “Large transformation programs often fail to reach their goals because they lose their momentum. Digital transformation is no different. …. as time goes by, change fatigue sets in and new ways of working begin to give in to the old way of doing things.”
So have we reached digital transformation fatigue, especially for IT? How can IT achieve efficient and effective digital transformation?
The following prescribes three pillars for IT to keep the digitization momentum fresh and compelling:
- Top-Down vs. Bottom Up Digital Transformation: There are always new shiny technological trends, patterns, and tools. Often IT attempts to address the challenges through “big bang” transformational or new technology adoption projects. This has not worked. The better approach is to treat the digital challenges as part of the overall continuous improvement initiatives aligned to corporate and business objectives. Most importantly, the partnership between IT and business should be able to produce quick results (Fast IT), while having a roadmap of continuous innovation and improvement. The mantra of this first pillar is: “Think Big, Thing Transformation, Think Digital … but Start Small.” This is a major cultural shift for IT. The start is then augmented with continuous iterations for new applications, solutions and improvements to existing deployments. Key performance objectives and strategic measures are aligned to operationalized solutions that are continuously monitored and improved. The objective is to make the entire digital enterprise responsive and agile.
- The Digital Transformation Platform: IT needs to be productive and increasingly speak the same language as other disciplines or groups. These include the business experts but also other stakeholders such as data scientists, operational technology engineers, and process improvement experts. The silos between these groups need to crumble through end-to-end digitization of value streams. Old styles of cryptic programming or long duration “waterfall” translation of artifacts from requirements to execution simply do not work. The digital platform needs to embrace model driven zero coding primitives as well as digitization of structured processes, dynamic cases. The digital platform needs to be “intelligent,” digitizing policies and predictive models mined from big data. It also needs to embrace and empower mobility, social interaction and Internet of Things (which also includes robots) as integral to applications that automate work with all categories of participants or interaction contexts. The digital transformational platform will have essential capabilities in digitizing processes, decisions, integration with Things as well as systems of record, as well as robust user interaction design capabilities – all model driven and extremely easy to change and maintain.
- Contextual Alignment to the Customer: from Big Data to Big Wisdom:There are sweeping changes in the way organizations treat or interact within their extended digital enterprise ecosystem. Customers are becoming extremely savvy and demanding at the same time. They become engaged with the adaptive digital enterprise for support, marketing, or sales through a plethora of channels including web, social media, and perhaps most importantly, mobile devices (i.e. smart phones and tablets). Customer interactions, transactions, as well as Things through connected homes, connected vehicles, connected cities, and industries will increasingly generate enormous amounts of data – Big Data. Having a lot of data does not mean we are getting smarter or making better decisions. Big Data needs Big Wisdom. Working closely with data scientist and aligning their discoveries to execution, IT needs to leverage the wisdom in Big Data to release transformational adaptability. This adaptability is realized by prioritizing intelligently automated decisions for the Customers and Things – in the context of digital processes that are aligned to the digital enterprise’s measurable performance objectives.
The hyped expectations from digital transformation initiatives can lead to fatigue. But they don’t have to. In Digital Destiny the author has an uplifting conclusion:
- “There is light on the other side, brilliant, blindingly clear light. It is our digital destiny beckoning us to take the plunge, to have some faith in our ability to find the right path.”
Leveraging these three pillars, IT can find the right path … incrementally transform with a digital innovation platform to achieve Big Wisdom.
This piece was previously published on LinkedIn.
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