Chapter 1

Fail 1: Not realising that transformation is human, even when it’s digital

Ignoring the cultural implications of change is an oversight that can potentially grind even the most well-researched digital transformation project to a stone-cold halt.

Both a top-down and bottom-up perspective must be adopted at the outset, so that the digital transformation project truly becomes a true company-wide matter, and not seen as an imposition dreamed up by some siloed business unit or out-of-touch leadership team.

In this regard, the critical error is failing to involve the right stakeholders from the beginning of the digital transformation journey. All staff need to understand the reasons for, and benefits of, the change before it is carried out. Transformation is not an easy task, but without the hearts and minds of the people it’s meant to benefit, the task will go from difficult to impossible. Beyond a broad acceptance among the workforce, digital transformation initiatives also need the full weight of the C-Suite. If an executive sponsor isn’t passionate, engaged, and committed to making the project a success, teams will struggle with motivation and are likely to choose the path of least resistance, potentially leading to a middling solution.

“Without the hearts and minds of the people it’s meant to benefit, the task will go from difficult to impossible.”

Another vital mistake,

which was mentioned in the introduction above, is the failure to seek outside help. From customer journey mapping and process standardisation, to technology selection, decisions should never be made in a vacuum or, even worse, an echo chamber. In this sense, digital transformation can be seen as a team sport and companies should tap their partner networks for all they are worth to ensure their plans are well thought out from every angle.

By getting this aspect right – by realising that digital transformation goes nowhere without people – businesses are in a prime position to harvest the potential benefits of transformation while boosting employee morale, better adoption rates, and presenting a united front to customers.