Daily Archives: April 29, 2012

A Digital Transformation Requires At Least Five Critical Factors, Not Three!

A recent article over on Chief Executive on Digital Transformation that asked [If] CEOs [are] ready for the Challenge? caught my attention. And it kept it when it said less than 20% of the companies surveyed are truly reshaping their businesses for digital and many are only partially fulfilling their potential because, as a technophile, I know this to be all too true.

But I screamed NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO with @rantinggirl when I read that you need three factors in place — top-down vision, clear governance and investment — to deliver a true transformation. While these factors are a necessary condition, they are not a sufficient condition, and if all you have is vision, a governance model, and the willingness to invest current resources into the problem, then you should pack it in now as your days as an organization are numbered.

You see, a successful digital transformation requires at least the following Five Critical Factors:

  1. Top-Down Vision
    that emanates from, is communicated by, and is embraced by the top
  2. Clear Governance
    that consistently communicates and enforces the vision, ensures the allocated resources are directed towards the effort, and that keeps the vision on track when fires threaten to cloud the business with smoke or people want to return to the old ways
  3. Investment
    in resources and dollars, as money will need to be spent requiring the right infrastructure
  4. Technologically Adept Talent
    since going digital requires being digital
  5. Transition Commitment
    since there will always be those that fight the transformation and, more importantly, since some of these resources may not be able, or willing, to adopt to the new way of doing business and have to be let go

Anything less is like skydiving without a properly packed parachute. You had a clear vision of jumping out of the plane, you invested in the plane, and you convinced the pilot to take off, but you forgot about the nature of the landing and that if the chute doesn’t properly deploy, you’ll be hitting the ground at 195 km/h (or 122 mph) — without much chance of survival. Mr. Boole may have survived, but chances are you’ll end up like the skydivers on CSI.

As the article points out, the transformation journey is full of roadblocks, including organizational skill gaps, culture, and legacy IT (that is more antisocial than your average arrogant PhD, and I should know).