Refine Your Search

Digital Transformation: What is It?

As organizations seek to improve continuously, add capabilities, or refresh their approach, they are increasingly turning to technology as a mechanism to achieve their goals. In support of this vision, the concept of “digital transformation” has emerged. But what is a digital transformation? In this post, we review the concept, separating the value from the hype, and helping you to chart a course forward.

Why does transformation matter?
Successfully running an organization is harder than ever. Why? Because the pace of change is exponentially increasing, competitive disruption is more likely, and people have a tremendous number of job options in the marketplace – alongside a greater willingness to move companies.

Many leaders are finding that it isn’t enough to run their organizations efficiently – they must continually reinvent and rethink their businesses. Simply stated, successful organizations are embracing continuous transformation as a means to stay relevant.

What is digital transformation?
Digital transformation incorporates two insights into a single phrase. The first, outlined above, is that transformation is critical to continued success. The second is that technology has become integral to every aspect of our lives. Therefore, any transformation effort must include a digital component. In fact, technology can frequently be a driver of transformation because it touches every part of the business.

But first, a word of caution. Although the concept of digital transformation is useful, it is important to remember one thing: technology companies invented the concept. And it is their job to sell technology – as well as make the concept of digital transformation sound easy. Buy new technology and, voila, your organization will be transformed. But, in our experience, there is significantly more to the transformation story. Digital is only one component – and often not the hardest one.

A Better Way to Think About Transformation
There are two ways we think about transformation: holistic transformation and continuous improvement.

Holistic Transformation
The first is to think about holistic transformation, a transformation of all aspects of the enterprise, instead of digital transformation. When you start with this mindset, you realize that people, process, and technology must all be transformed to achieve the changes your organization needs. Digital is a component, and it can be the impetus to broader organizational shifts – but is it not the only component. When it comes to holistic transformation, people and process are usually the more challenging components.

Continuous Improvement
Another way to shift your thinking about transformation is to understand that transformation is continuous. While it is tempting to count on a single initiative to achieve the desired transformation and enable you to focus on “real business,” competitive pressures, market changes, and employee desires don’t ever stop transforming. So, why would your organization ever stop transforming? As challenging as it may be, transformation never ends.

If transformation never stops, then our plans for gaining value from transformation can’t depend on finally reaching some future (and mythical) end state. Transformation efforts must continuously deliver value.

How do you get started?
Organizational transformation is complex.

The first step in getting started is recognizing that a mind shift must occur. You must think about transformation holistically – across people, process, and technology. Your leaders, managers, and employees must do the same.

This is a culture shift, and you must help lead the way.

The second step is to find partners and solutions that use this approach. Purposely set out to find internal employees and external partners that are aligned with a holistic and continuous transformation. Then, consider technology solutions that will allow for the flexibility needed to achieve success.

How can KSMC help?
Our team has spent a decade building solutions that are aligned to enable organizations to achieve transformation. It’s why our core values include empathy and fearless problem solving. And it’s why we have adopted Design Thinking as a way to innovate both within our own business and our clients’ businesses. It’s why every employee has been chosen for their ability to be transformation agents first, and technologists second.

Transformation is hard, but it’s why we exist and how we find purpose – and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

If you want to learn more about our transformation solutions – or any of our other business consulting servicescontact us today. We’d love to start a conversation about transforming your organization.

 


About the Author
Mark Caswell is the Director of Professional Services for KSM Consulting. Mark leads the team in developing innovative solutions. Connect with him on LinkedIn.