This is a personal favourite topic of discussion for me and one surprisingly that even in 2017 (and soon to be 2018) a lot of organisations and business owners fail to realise. Too often organisations look for a silver bullet that will solve all of their issues without understanding the true requirements of the business.
What separates digital leaders from the rest is a clear digital strategy combined with a culture and leadership poised to drive the transformation. The history of technological advance in business is littered with examples of companies focusing on technologies without investing in organisational capabilities that ensure their impact. In many companies, the failed implementation of enterprise resource planning and previous generations of knowledge management systems are classic examples of expectations falling short because organisations didn’t change mindsets and processes or build cultures that fostered change.
So how does an organisation mature their digital transformation – social, mobile, analytics, or cloud? None of the above, according to a MIT Sloan Management Review and Deloitte digital business study.
MIT Sloan Management Review and Deloitte’s global study of digital business found that maturing digital businesses are focused on integrating digital technologies, such as social, mobile, analytics and cloud, in the service of transforming how their businesses work. Less-mature digital businesses are focused on solving discrete business problems with individual digital technologies.
The ability to digitally reimagine the business is determined in large part by a clear digital strategy supported by leaders who foster a culture able to change and invent the new. While these insights are consistent with prior technology evolutions, what is unique to digital transformation is that risk taking is becoming a cultural norm as more digitally advanced companies seek new levels of competitive advantage. Equally important, employees across all age groups want to work for businesses that are deeply committed to digital progress. Company leaders need to bear this in mind in order to attract and retain the best talent.
The following are highlights of the reports findings:
Digital strategy drives digital maturity.
Only 15% of respondents from companies at the early stages of what digital maturity — an organisation where digital has transformed processes, talent engagement and business models — say that their organisations have a clear and coherent digital strategy. Among the digitally maturing, more than 80% do.
The power of a digital transformation strategy lies in its scope and objectives.
Less digitally mature organisations tend to focus on individual technologies and have strategies that are decidedly operational in focus. Digital strategies in the most mature organisations are developed with an eye on transforming the business and developing it’s competitive advantage.
Maturing digital organisations build skills to realise the strategy.
Digitally maturing organisations are four times more likely to provide employees with needed skills than are organisations at lower ends of the spectrum. Consistent with the reports overall findings, the ability to conceptualise how digital technologies can impact the business is a skill lacking in many companies at the early stages of digital maturity.
Employees want to work for digital leaders.
Across age groups from 22 to 60, the vast majority of respondents want to work for digitally enabled organisations. Employees will be on the lookout for the best digital opportunities, and businesses will have to continually up their digital game to retain and attract them.
Taking risks becomes a cultural norm.
Digitally maturing organisations are more comfortable taking risks than their less digitally mature peers. To make their organisations less risk averse, business leaders have to embrace failure as a prerequisite for success. They must also address the likelihood that employees may be just as risk averse as their managers and will need support to become bolder.
The digital agenda is led from the top.
Maturing organisations are nearly twice as likely as less digitally mature entities to have a single person or group leading the effort. In addition, employees in digitally maturing organisations are highly confident in their leaders’ digital fluency. Digital fluency, however, doesn’t demand mastery of the technologies. Instead, it requires the ability to articulate the value of digital technologies to the organisation’s future.