Last week I had the pleasure of moderating a “Mindful Digital Transformation” webinar on the Primitive Logic BrightTALK channel — if you happened to miss it, you can watch the replay above. (Click here if you don't see the player.)
I always like to hear from the audience during these webinars, so we included a few quick polls to gauge where our colleagues are in their own digital transformation experiences. What struck me about the results was how many attendees have made progress — sometimes substantial progress — towards their digital transformation goals, and that obstacles still remain even for those who have made a strong start.
Here’s a closer look at the poll results:
Question #1: What Is Digital Transformation?
“Digital transformation” is one of those terms we hear all the time, but have you really thought about what it entails? Here are the results from our poll:
Each of these responses is accurate — the internet of things, mobile technology, artificial intelligence, and paperless services all play important roles in digital transformation. They all work together to create a new environment that one of our speakers referred to as the “Internet of Me.”
The question is, how do we wrap all these individual aspects into a cohesive definition of digital transformation?
To shed some light on this question, I shared one of my preferred definitions, from Wikipedia:
Digital transformation is the change associated with the application of digital technology in all aspects of human society.
I like this definition because it covers three vital characteristics of digital transformation:
- Change: Digital transformation is not about simply making traditional methods faster and more convenient, but enabling new approaches to innovation.
- Technology: Digital technology used to be computer-to-computer, but now it encompasses mobile, the internet of things, wearable technology (think smart fabrics), and much more.
- Human: No business is immune from digital transformation. It involves all generations (not just younger groups) and spans all industries, including traditionally “high-touch” verticals such as healthcare and hospitality.
Question #2: Where Are You in the Process?
Most leaders would agree that digital transformation is a good thing, but how much are their organizations doing to reach that goal? Here’s what our attendees reported:
I was encouraged to see that everyone in our audience has at least made a start in their digital transformation journeys, and one-fourth have already “transformed!”
For many organizations, taking those initial steps — deciding what digital transformation means for them, identifying necessary changes, setting specific goals, etc. — is the hardest part. For others, the challenges they encounter further down the road to digital transformation can hinder their progress. Which brings me to …
Question #3: What Is Your Biggest Challenge?
For those organizations who have not yet “transformed,” we wanted to know what’s blocking them from achieving their goal. Here’s how they responded:
I was expecting the results of this poll to be evenly distributed, but almost half of our attendees cited outdated technology, such as legacy databases, as their biggest obstacle.
The good news for these organizations is that updating technology is far easier to change than cultural resistance, security concerns, and lack of digital literacy in the C-suite.
The challenge is that addressing outdated systems isn’t simply a matter of “plug and play.” You need the expertise to recognize and address how the change will affect every area of the organization before you move forward. For many enterprises, this requires bringing in outside resources.
One of the principles of Mindful Digital Transformation that we covered in the webinar is to begin with an understanding of your existing systems. Even the coolest, most advanced solution is useless if it doesn’t work with what you already have, so when looking at updated technology, make sure it will work with existing systems without requiring major overhauls. Speaking of those principles, …
Question #4: What's the Most Important Principle of Mindful Digital Transformation?
After we reviewed the principles of Mindful Digital Transformation (see the webinar replay for our detailed discussion), I wanted to know which one stood out for our attendees as the most important to themselves and their organizations. Here’s what they had to say:
I was impressed that “Understand the blueprints of your business processes and technical architecture” attracted the most votes. This tells me that organizations are considering the big picture as they pursue digital transformation, thinking about cross-functional dependencies and asking questions like “Are we trying to optimize processes that are already outdated?”
Coming in a strong second was “Focus on customer needs.” I’m encouraged to see that our attendees are thinking about the “why” behind digital transformation with a focus on the customer — not just “technology for technology’s sake.”
Embracing Mindfulness for a Brighter Digital Future
At Primitive Logic, we incorporate the principle of mindfulness in everything we do, especially when we develop and implement digital transformation strategies for our clients. We find that if an organization follows the principles of Mindful Digital Transformation from the very first steps, they can expect fewer “surprises” down the road, achieve their goals more efficiently, and align their digital goals with business objectives.
To learn more about Mindful Digital Transformation, view the recorded webinar on our BrightTALK channel, and feel free to contact us with questions about your own organization’s digital transformation journey.