Digital Transformation Is Everything but BS
Digital Transformation Is Everything but BS
Digital transformation is just one consequence from a bigger transformation, and it has to get in consideration when you're thinking about your own digital Transformation.
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Speaking to me about Digital Transformation is maybe one the fastest pathhs for me to hang myself. Many of articles that I read are written by "Digital Transformation specialists," telling me every time the same stuff, like you need mobile apps, get a datalake, your IT will be customer centric and so on. Ok, I do agree with these points, but to me, the "Non Digital Transformation specialist," it lacks depth and height of view. That's why I wanted to write this article, in case my non-specialist point of view would have any forms of interest.
Digital Transformation is a Part of a Global Transformation
What I'm calling Global Transformation is a transformation of the world in many aspects, with some important trigger points. Our societies have become less and less industrial. One of the best examples I've heard is the fact that robots are becoming cheaper than Chinese workers. At the same time, we are moving towards a knowledge-based society. For examples, look no futher than Google and Facebook, whose whole businesses are based on data. Similarly, consider the fact that a whole industry emerged from the open source movement, with companies like Redhat, Talend, Mulesoft, the different Hadoop distributions.
There is also an acceleration of innovations and technological progress. And if you have heard about a "knowledge-based society", you know that two combined knowledges produce another. Maybe some people will tell me that the opposite position, but wait for the differents AIs waves that we'll get, and wait for autonomous cars that will change many aspects of our lives (will we all be Uber consumers for all of our commuting?). And these are just early examples; Google and Facebook have many dollars to spend in research for upcoming products.
Within a knowledge-based society, there is also the phenomenon that knowledge spreads much faster. This has the effect of awakening people to a host of different social issues, with many people sharing their point of views on social networks. Are you sure that you would vote for the exact same ideas than 10 years ago? There is a growing sentiment that something is wrong with our relationship with the environment; what are we doing about it? Would a knowledge-based society consume fewer material resources? As another example, consider the global demand for cheap and sophisticated electronics and how it has lead to questions like, "When will China will become the number one? What will be the consequences for all of us?"
So as you can see, this Digital Transformation is just a part of this whole thing, an engine if you will, but at the same time it's just consequences from a more global change.
"Ok, but my CXO wants to speak to me about digital transformation, not about changes happening in the world."
And you're right! No need to be seen as a fool! But you have to keep in mind of all these aspects of these more global changes. As a consequence, it means many things for your CXO, like:
Change, Change, Change! You'll need to be able to adapt to any changes at any time. "Does my competitor use AI? When will a customer complain that I'm not using this?" These are the kind of questions to ask.
You'll need to make some perspective. Your customer is changing all the time. The last example I've seen is about the best time to publish on social networks; it changes every 6 months!
Your employees will change, with the so-called Y and Z generations. Maybe could you ask them to rate your own company?
Agility is mandatory! You'll need to have a look at frameworks like SAFE or LESS, or even the Spotify meta-framework. And what about Agility with your partners? Do you know that Agility can be contractualized between two parties? (I'll let you see that with your legal department.)
Agility is everywhere! Reverse Conway's law, which says that you have to copy your organisation from your IT architecture, people who are awakening... Wait for it! I know! You need to reboot your whole management system and organisation. But make your changes small steps; we are following a transformation, not making a bloody revolution! If you need inspiration about drastic changes, I deeply advise Adam Grant's book, Originals.
What's the culture of your company? Which culture would you want and need for your company? Culture is like energy; it's the main thing to shape to be sure that you'll always adapt. How many companies have a culture of "I go to work to feed my family"? For sure that's important, but it's sad and not the most productive and proactive model.
Knowledge-based societies create new business models. I repeat, knowledge-based societies create new business models. Say it with me this time. Knowledge-based societies create new business models.
To me Digital Transformation is just a part of this global transformation, and you risk to never stop your Digital transformation. Changes will continue to come from everywhere. Maybe with fluctuating rhythms, but changes could be very drastic in their impacts and timings.
The need to be prepare is crucial, but at the same time is an open door to great opportunities! So don't wait to change yourself and your company, and don't hesitate to share your point of view in the comments!
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