For the last three years, KPMG’s annual “Keeping Us Up At Night” survey reported on what Australian business leaders consider their biggest challenges and issues. The same topic ranked #1 for all three years (pre-pandemic!): digital transformation. Even the pandemic didn’t slow this trend. In fact, it’s the opposite, with many leaders saying it accelerated their digital transformation by 5-6 years.
Despite this obvious demand and momentum from the pandemic, be cautious with digital. I’m all for it – if it serves your purpose. And your purpose should be to serve customers and clients better. Being more digital will probably help, but that shouldn’t be your goal.
If you cared about climate change, you might drive an electric car instead of a petrol car – and that’s good. But if you fixated on “electric transformation” rather than sustainability, you would also choose an electric bicycle over a pedal bicycle – and that’s not so good!
Don’t be digital just for digital’s sake. Do it to better serve your customers, employees, suppliers, investors, and other stakeholders.
Don’t obsess about SAP, zero trust security, blockchain, open APIs, legacy architecture, or technology stacks (unless you’re the CIO or part of her team). Instead, start with people, determine what they need, and find ways to help them. You will discover many digital opportunities along the way, but treat them as tools, not goals.
There’s a lot of work in digital transformation, but you can start with these three steps to build a framework for a plan:
- Digital Demand: Understand the three significant ways the world is more digital (and three ways it isn’t), and what that means for your customers, employees, and other people.
- Digital Enabled: Know the four levels of digital technology, and how they enable new solutions for your team and organisation.
- Digital Journey: Plan how you will engage your people to take them on this challenging journey.