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By Karl Smith, Consulting Director, Paradigm Interactions
This article is by Featured Blogger Karl Smith from his LinkedIn page. Republished with the author’s permission.
For the most part what companies have is Technology being sold as Digital Solutions or Digital Strategy, however Being Digital and participating in the Digital Economy is about fundamental change in how your company works, not by adding a channel.
Digital is not just another name for Technology or a Delivery Channel but it is a Pervasive Customer Engagement Productisation
Having a digital channel, a CRM tool or a marketing strategy involving social media, does not make you a Digital Business in fact Digital Businesses have Digital Products. A Digital Product is not the envelope, like a website, app, message or other container, but the thing that is purchased, transferred or acquired by customers.
As Technologies come and go, Customers are eternal
Without Digital Products, built to interact with people, engage them and continually deliver value and evolving experiences, your company won't be able to access the coming benefits of the Internet of Things, Big Data or Artificial Intelligence.
What is Digital Transformation?
Digital Transformation is an evolutionary step towards the true open market that the Internet of Things and the Internets of All represents. For many companies digital transformation is about digitising existing processes which should be discarded completely.
What does transformation and change look like?
There are many factors that can create the need for transformation and change; changing markets, changing customers, disruption from unexpected sources to name a few.
There are a lot of people who miss the point of transformation or change programs, who simply revert to their worst fears.
Kurt Russell's portrayal of Wyatt Earp in Tombstone does appear to be lots of people experience of transformation projects and in every view there is a grain of truth. The truth in this view is he has authority, drive and power and that the change is terrifying to people who thought they could control it.
Are you sure you need Digital Transformation?
It's really important to count the cost and the gain before embarking on digital transformation.
Digital Transformation will disrupt your business, your staff and your customers.
And people who claim otherwise have never done one.
Why do we need to Transform, did we fail?
There is always a faint feeling of fear and desperation on a transformation or change project. This is because concerns over perception of value, the person or persons involved value to their organization and their sense of self worth.
DID YOU FAIL, YES your not superhuman
You have not managed to pack the detailed life of a subject expert life into your already business expert life. So in effect NO, its supposed to be the first step in wisdom, the recognition that you need help.
The real issue for business people is how do you acquire that help, do it in a way that does not damage your credibility and still be able to influence that change so that it does not wreck your carefully crafted world.
Creating a Terms of Reference Document (TOR) and Business Case
The main role of the business is to own the problem, not the solution. It's really important that the business is candid in their appraisal of the issues. Often businesses will focus on perceived solutions, to the perceived problem. That is a way to waste huge amounts of money and never fix anything.
Writing the Terms of Reference defines where the business thinks the problem is, sets out who is engaged from the business and suggests a high level timeline. The TOR is a guideline to the Transformation but not a rule book. The TOR provides targets and key performance indicators (KPI's) so that the Transformation is measurable and understood from the "as is" situation described in the TOR.
For example; we need a mobile site, why? because our competitors have one and everyone needs to be mobile, why? So we are buying a mobile platform, whoa! Let's go back to the beginning, what is the problem? "We are losing market share", okay, what are the demographics of your target market, do they use mobile devices? "We don't know". Don't you think you should find out before you buy a mobile platform? That's not a made up conversation.
After the initial consultancy to determine the target of activity in the TOR a Business Case can be created to gain funding by explaining the impact of transformation. The Business Case is critical to distil and focus the programs activity so that actual value is given from all the ensuing activity.
Both the TOR and the Business Case are created by the Business with assistance from internal resources or contractors.
The Psychology of Change Management
How transformation is framed, communicated and done in organisations is often not enough to overcome the deep seated fears of the people it will affect.
This is why you may have been invited to be involved, it is not to steer the solution but to provide expert knowledge, regardless things will either change or the business will contract. Being on the project team from the client side is not your time to shine, you already did or you would not be there.
I have worked on both sides of transformation projects and I really do understand the personal and professional need to have impact. But most importantly was your impact an enabler, if you sort to set limits was it for reasons of context? Can you explain the rich knowledge behind your behaviour and passion, the articulation is critical to getting this knowledge into the project and benefiting your company.
Transformation and Change is not just focused on Technology
If you plan to start this process of transformation you will need to accept that nothing is sacred. Transforming anything means looking at everything without preference and changing or removing it completely without regret. It will change people, their roles and responsibilities, divisional politics, funding models and budgets, business governance may be rewritten completely, processes may be discarded and loved software and technology scrapped.
But the choice is stark either engage digitally or accept second or a hundredth place in the market, until the customers who don’t use Digital die off and your business joins them.
Originally published on LinkedIn