For most businesses, digital transformation is proving much harder than expected. In 2018, only 16% of companies felt their digital transformation strategies could be called successful – much, much less than the 30% average in previous years. The struggle to translate technology into better results and happier customers is all too real for many companies – but it shouldn’t be.
We’ve just wrapped up the Domo Reimagine event, a series of events across APAC that we hosted to provide businesses with a fresh, and more productive, approach to digital transformation. It’s been an incredibly fulfilling experience for all of us here at Domo, and I’m grateful to the almost 600 business and IT leaders who took the time to join us over the past few weeks. Here are my top 3 takeaways from Reimagine series.
1. Nobody agrees what digital transformation is.
Even today, many businesses lack a clear and meaningful definition of digital transformation, with some 1 in 3 digital transformation efforts failing because they lack a clearly defined strategy. At Domo, we’re simplifying things by taking the “digital” out and focusing on how businesses evolve, adapt, and transform. Here’s one helpful definition that we used throughout the event:
Companies today are organisational systems designed for a world where it made sense to discover a value proposition once and then build a product or service or company around it. But to deliver on the potential of a digital world, you need something else—an organisational system that allows for constant recalibration and rediscovery. That is what digital transformation is all about. – Mumford Sole Partners
2. Digital transformation is risky – but someone needs to own it.
The sheer pace at which digital technology has shaken up industries puts businesses at risk whether they transform or stay the same. However, most end up in a state of inertia because nobody’s willing to take on responsibility for transformation – with blame usually ending up on IT unfairly, as the de facto driver of anything technology-related. Of course, if we redefine digital transformation with an emphasis on transformation rather than tech alone, it quickly becomes clear that success can only come with strong support from the Board and CEO. Digital frontrunners, including market challengers like Positive Group and Judo Bank whose leaders spoke through our series, all emphasised the importance of executive sponsorship to any meaningful digital transformation. This is reinforced by Tom Siebel, the famed software leader, now CEO of C3.ai
3. Overcoming digital transformation hurdles isn’t always so hard.
During Reimagine series, we introduced the DX Journey Map, a model we designed based on extensive conversations with business leaders and researchers on how and why certain organisations struggle with digital transformation. The Journey Map puts businesses in 1 of 4 categories: Frozen, Flailing, Failing, and Flying. From those categories, it quickly becomes clear what core issues the business may need to address, and how they can take immediate steps to get into the frontrunner category – from quantifying business impact to quickly investing in the right digital capabilities.
I find the Journey Map particularly useful because it forces business leaders to think beyond just technology. We’ve been using the model as the basis of workshops and strategic assessments throughout Reimagine, and the leaders who go through the process often remark on how it puts the focus back on business goals in a practical, common-sense way. I’ve realised that as with many things, we often make digital transformation more complex than it ought to be. The DX Journey Map helps businesses keep things simple and focus on what matters, business value.