Digital Transformation: Where’s the Real Complexity?

Digital technology is appealing

How an organization absorbs these new products or services is a different matter completely. It’s messy and personal. Not only that, but each company has grown and evolved differently, so the concept of a cookie cutter framework for digital transformation is filled with one-off exceptions.  

This complexity is all the more reason that you need to address the people, process or organization challenge early in digital transformation.

Transformation starts with the human element

Powerful things can happen if you start here. Most importantly, you can think holistically across all online and offline channels, align operations for the channels and create clear areas of accountability and interaction across sales, marketing, IT and operations.  

Instead of an overlapping organizational mess that then requires a mirror overlapping mess of technologies and processes, you can consolidate features and functions–reducing the amount of technology complexity.  

Fewer overlapping technologies and fewer integrations means faster, reliable implementation plans. Fewer integrations means easier long-term maintenance and better ability to replace old technologies with new ones.

Test and learn at a capability level

The downside of starting with the people, process or organization challenge is that you’re addressing the hardest problem first, and the critics of change will immediately push to restore the status quo.  

Without a carefully constructed plan for digital transformation that includes some quick wins (e.g., more revenue) and a keen sensibility about the impact to your people, the transformation efforts can be derailed at the very beginning. Which, frankly, might allow companies without the political will for true transformation to “fail fast.”  

Next time you’re on the hook for any sort of digital transformation initiative, make sure you’ve got the buy-in, budget and other resources to deal with the right complexity.

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