8 Common Digital Transformation Mistakes to Avoid at All Costs

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We discuss common digital transformation mistakes that leaders need to avoid if they want to lead their organization into a successful future.

The merits of undertaking the process of digital transformation for an organization are more profound than ever due to the pandemic. It has reached a point where it is not an option, it has become a necessity for any organization in any industry to succeed. With a wave of new digital practices and innovations, digital leaders are diving headfirst into transforming their organizations and leading the way to success.

However, it is not as simple as it sounds. Buzzwords like “digital transformation” and “future-ready innovation” make the process sound linear and all-encompassing. There’s much more to than what meets the eye. Often, leaders end up committing digital transformation mistakes that delay results and act as a deterrent to the success of the whole process. The stakes are very high here, as a Kong Survey noted that 40% of digital leaders believe that companies will fail by 2023 if they continue to be digital laggards. Let’s take a look at these mistakes and how to avoid them below.

Common and Digital Transformation Mistakes to Avoid

1. The biggest digital transformation mistake: Thinking digital is the destination

The first and foremost thing that digital leaders need to understand is that digital transformation is an ongoing journey, not a destination. Digital practices will allow the organization to streamline processes and deliver results if done right. They won’t change the core processes of the organization or fix loopholes beyond their scope.

To avoid this digital transformation mistake, leaders need to have a clear vision as to what they expect out of the digital transformation in their organization. It may be enhanced efficiency due to business automation, reduced dependence on IT due to no-code tools, or streamlining of workflows through collaborative platforms. It can be a mix of various expectations, the possibilities are endless. Once this vision is established, it is important to understand that digital practices will strengthen and empower the way to the greater vision, and not be the vision themselves. Digital transformation is a journey that leads an organization to the path of success and innovation.

Hence, digital leaders need to be very clear about reasons and outcomes before leading digital transformation in their organization.

2. Taking a competition – centric and myopic approach

There are a few must-haves traits that digital leaders, and unsurprisingly one of them is to think beyond industry boundaries. The process of digital transformation cannot be just a response to competitors doing the same. The crux of adopting digital practices is innovation, which can only be achieved through an approach that goes beyond any specific industry or sector.

Therefore, digital leaders must not fall into a myopic pitfall and commit this digital transformation mistake. They need to have their eyes open for inspiration from all places and be ready to take pioneering action that their industry might have never seen before.

3. Not aligning the organization to digital goals

A common digital transformation mistake that is committed by a lot of organizations is to bring in technology without aligning it to the business goals of an organization and without incorporating it into their culture. Digital adoption will only be successful if it’s done to complement the greater organizational strategy, and not when it is done for the sake of it. The onus is on the top management to highlight the potential of digital transformation to their business and inspire employees to embrace the changes fully.

It is the duty of any proficient digital leader to understand the long-term objectives and targets of an organization and adding the digital aspect seamlessly to fulfill these objectives in a way that is better and faster.

4. Not taking employees into consideration

If the process of digital transformation is expected to change the way an organization function and bring in technological innovation, it is common knowledge that the employees cannot be left in a lurch. Digital leaders might need to do away with redundant roles and assign employees to redefined roles. They need to take their team members into confidence and inspire them throughout the process. They should also be provided with any assistance and support they might need on the technical part.

The digital journey of an organization will only be successful if a culture of digital dexterity and citizen IT is pushed forward. In such a culture, every employee is motivated to take initiative, reach out for support and reorient their roles in a way that suits the greater digital objective.

5. Thinking that digital transformation is a one-time process

A major digital transformation mistake is assuming that it is a one-time initiative, results of which will last forever. Digital evolution is a never-ending process as some new disruptor emerges every other week. If leaders fall into the mentality of thinking that they have done all they can for the digital transformation of their organization, they risk becoming complacent and missing out on practices that might be highly beneficial for their organization.

The purpose of digital transformation should be create an organization that is flexible and willing to embrace relevant digital tools as and when they emerge without any hesitation. Leaders should nurture a culture of experimentation and curiosity that allows them to be one step ahead from the next disruptor.

6. Expecting unrealistic results from day 1

As we have been mentioning, digital transformation is a process. It will take time, efforts and multiple risks before it gets to the results stage. It would be an ignorant digital transformation mistake to expect results from the day the process has started. Digital transformation is done keeping the larger picture in consideration, instead of short-term wins and gains. A patient and composed approach is a must for digital leaders. It is also their responsibility to manage various stakeholders through periods of change and communicate the long-term benefits of digital maturity.

7. Lack of commitment from top management

The top management needs to comprise digital leaders who can implement the changes we have been discussing above. A common digital transformation mistake is when the top management is enthusiastic about the idea of technology and innovation, but lacks the commitment required to follow through with the vision.

The process will entail a higher cost, increased effort, periods of change and the redefinition of various organizational processes. The top management should be ready to face the temporary challenges they might face while creating a digital-ready organization as they should have full conviction in the process they have undertaken. When done right, the benefits of digital transformation will outweigh the costs heavily and help the organization immensely in the long run.

8. Choosing the wrong digital partners

Digital leaders should be careful to choose digital partners and not digital vendors, as their choice will determine the success of their digital transformation process. Digital partners should not be chosen by just taking cost or past relationship into account. Instead, a full analysis of various factors should be undertaken to choose the right digital partners.

A starting point would be to figure out the right technology and relating your organization to the chosen tools. The next step would be to do an analysis of the various offerings in the market and compare them on the basis of their cost-effectiveness, current clients, testimonials, and services offered. Leaders should not hesitate to define their requirements beforehand and evaluating the competing partners on their ability to match these requirements.

This process might take time, but if chosen correctly these digital partners will be the harbingers of digital transformation for any organization. Choosing the right partner, such as Quixy, will go a long way in ensuring seamless digital transformation for your organization.

Takeaway

To sum up, it’s very easy to fall into the allure and charm around the term ‘digital transformation. However, digital leaders need to understand that the process cannot be an overnight success. There are a lot of mistakes and slippery slopes to avoid while keeping a clear focus on the ultimate goal. Consistent and sustainable steps, instead of myopic and unrealistic approaches, will ensure that every ounce of effort put into the process of digital transformation reaps its benefits and pushes the organization into a trajectory of pathbreaking success.

Avoid these mistakes and keep your eyes on the prize (AKA pathbreaking digital success.)

2 COMMENTS

  1. Hi Vivek,

    these are all interesting points that you make and I wholeheartedly agree to your point that it is something that needs to be ongoing. Still, I am wondering why you didn’t add a ninth one, which is that a digital transformation is not about technology but first of all a business transformation.

    Rgds
    Thomas

  2. Good point Thomas. I think it overlaps a bit with point 3 but I agree, business transformation in itself deserves more attention.

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