5 signs why your digital transformation might be in trouble

Digital Transformation is tough, even for seasoned technologists. This is because it is a transformation of an organization at its core. Everything from culture, technology, ideation, development, integration, delivery, and support needs to fundamentally shift to be more customer-centric, service driven, automation first and experimental in nature. No wonder that a lot of organizations take a long time and a lot of investment to see ROI from their digital transformations.

Here are 5 signs that your digital transformation might be in trouble.

  1. Culture mistrusts the core digital transformation team
  2. You are spawning new initiatives before completing previous ones
  3. Decisions are top down with low accountability at the leaf nodes
  4. You tend to focus on technology stacks with little focus on customer value
  5. Inter-organization politics stifles cross-organization scenarios

Culture mistrusts the core digital transformation team

It is almost impossible to make an entire organization aware and participate in digital transformation at the same time. There are exceptions but in our experience, starting out with a core digital transformation team is a much better strategy than otherwise. This team should be enabled to attack a limited set of important and business relevant problems, build cutting-edge solutions and use them as examples to train and evangelize digital transformation strategies to the rest of the organization.

However, the more entrenched an organization in the old way of doing things, the harder they might this central team. Resistance can be active and passive such as refusal to share data or provide the relevant context of the problem. An organization that does not set up the early crusaders for success almost always has a much harder time showing value from their digital transformation activities.

You are spawning new initiatives before completing previous ones

Executing on a digital transformation strategy is much harder than defining the strategy especially for organizations embarking on this journey for the first time. It is much easier to spawn these initiatives often as a result of a vendor pitch or a competitor’s activities than to complete a previously started initiative. This phenomenon is even more pronounced when there are senior leadership changes or drastic shifts in the market.

Not completing an existing initiative can have several adverse effects. An incomplete initiative can add to the technology debt on the organization. It can also demoralize employees who are not able to taste success and use it to gain confidence to take on even harder challenges. Ultimately, the lack of success can make it harder for other initiatives to succeed.

Decisions are top down with low accountability at the leaf nodes

Often, decisions in large organizations are taken by a centralized team or a senior leader. Since there is not a single, cookie-cutter strategy for Digital transformation, its inherent nature requires agility in decisions and actions, willingness to experiment, fail, adjust and repeat. An organization that does not empower its leaf node employees to make decisions, test, adjust removes accountability and adds unnecessary delays in their transformation. Employees get trained to leave the hard decisions to their managers and get a crutch to fall back on when the decisions turn out of being incorrect, costly or with a low ROI.

You tend to focus on technology stacks with little focus on customer value

Another indication of a failed or about to fail digital transformation strategy is a singular focus on the technology stack. A technology stack without any perspective on user and customer value generation is meaningless and almost as bad as not having a stack. A stack that exists only for technology sake puts a development and operational burden on the organization thereby taking over additional resources that otherwise, could have been utilized for other efforts. At the same time, customers and users continue to be deprived of a better experience hastening their ultimate departure and abandonment of the product/service.

Inter-organization politics stifles cross-organization scenarios

In our experience, the sign that organizations should be the most scared of is inter-organizational or inter-department politics that slows down decisions, causes turf wars and puts departmental goals and priorities before the enterprise’s goals and priorities. This can show up in boardroom squabbles and stagnation at lower levels further causing and increasing the fragmentation in the enterprises’ product and service portfolio and continue to put a disjointed experience in front of the customers and users. At the same time, employees are not able to even understand the complete experience of customers across multiple products and services let alone, offer a consistent experience. Ultimately, enterprises lose as customers migrate to better, more cohesive experiences that do not reflect the organizational makeup of the service provider.

The AI Company’s LearnCloud platform offers a solution here that reduces the organizational and technology cost borne by enterprises in their digital transformation. By surfacing key data and reducing the cost of building new experiences using best-in-class technology, The AI Company makes the digital transformation journey more predictive and profitable for enterprises.

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