Every digital transformation requires the transformation of a combination of people, processes, and technology. This concept has so many nuances to it that it can lead to analysis paralysis. Digital transformation is driven by humans within an enterprise who understand the organization as is and who can envision what it can eventually be. Many enterprises mistakenly view digital transformation as a replacement or marginalization of current human resources. Others address digital transformation initiatives by thinking of employees and other human resources as the sole contributors toward digital transformation. Unfortunately, both approaches are flawed. Human resources are the key to the success or failure of a digital transformation initiative, but they are not the only part at play here. A successful digital transformation leader needs to understand a myriad of details. They must have a deep connection to and understanding of the customer. Furthermore, they must have an understanding of the company’s business model, business processes, and supporting technology.
Humans, by their very basic nature, are resistant to change. It takes you out of your comfort zone and puts you into a situation where your confidence in success is reduced. Questioning what you have known as the proper way to do something for decades requires a very open and brave mindset. There are few who can do that. Employees who are not able to imagine the future or accept that it is possible are key contributors to failure in this area. The path to successful digital transformation is paved by brave decisions by leaders. This may include removing some superstars who are blockers, identifying and empowering people who have the knowledge needed to streamline changes as they surface, and bringing in external talent to augment internal capabilities. Leaders need to demonstrate key behaviors like bravery and playfulness when it comes to encouraging change across the organization. Most important of all, they must make it clear to the entire enterprise who the owner of the digital transformation at hand is: the CEO.
Those who treat digital transformation as a one-off project and separate it from the day-to-day operations of the enterprise are going to fail. Thinking about these new solutions and the future of the enterprise has to be an integral part of as-is, day-to-day operations. From there, you can encourage the evolution of the enterprise as you continue to carry out as-is operations. Successfully implementing digital transformation initiatives must include efforts from human resources who are both capable of operating as is, as well as imagining and accepting change as it comes. From there, the CEO must act as the owner of the digital transformation at hand and encourage its role in day-to-day operations. With this emphasis clearly embedded across all business levels of the organization, the enterprise’s evolution can be driven from a grassroots level.