Our co-founder Ana Milicevic, recently joined The Drum's Stephen Lepitak to discuss what digital transformation entails and how companies should be approaching it, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Ana highlights that the digital transformation concept is: “much less about one piece of technology or another, and more about the actual business process and the people changes that need to happen in the organization." She expands on why she hates the digital transformation term and why modernization is a better word: modernization. This simple shift in terminology unveils two important dimensions of transformational challenges:
- it rightly implies that most companies are inherently behind the curve (one can always be better!)
- it communicates an ongoing process vs. a one-off project that, once complete, doesn't need more attention or resources.
In addition to these two dimensions, the term digital transformation is also hiding the amount of work that is truly needed to transform an organization.
Some other highlights from Ana's and Stephen's conversation:
- While many companies actively embark on digital transformation we don't publicly see many success stories. Ana attributes this to the inherent challenge of running a business well given current set-up: "It's hard to be good at executing in the current world and build a new world at the same time."
Patterns of common major mistakes are easier to spot:
- CTO/CIO will lead the change - technology replacement angle first, which tends to underestimate the amount of organizational and process change required to succeed
- not having an owner at the C level with an execution budget and clear mandate
- tasking junior team members to be champions (who lack institutional influence and historical knowledge and often pursue paths that have previously proven ineffective)
In many companies advertising and marketing departments are the first to grapple with digital transformation. Having a cogent transformation strategy on company level vs at the individual department/functional area level is a key best practice that is often skipped.
Tracking success requires some patience - you're likely to see results from transformation reflected in revenue of existing and new business lines some 12-18 months down the line. Understanding this and setting expectations accordingly across the organization is critical.
At Sparrow, we love tackling digital transformation (ehem, modernization!) projects and have developed our proprietary DART methodology to identify and focus on incremental milestones that will let you track and identify successes faster than that 12-18 month revenue lift. Contact us today to discuss your challenge and see how we can help.