Digital Transformation Myths

Digital transformation can be simply defined as using new or modified technology to improve business performance. In this article we explore and dispel some of the most common myths about digital transformation.

Myth #1 – Digital transformation is all about the technology
Ask a digital transformation expert what the most difficult and complex aspect of their job is, and most likely they would say it is the people and culture. However, the technology always gets most of the attention because of the impact that disruptive technologies such as smartphones, blockchain and the internet of things (IoT) have had on our lives. The seemingly limitless potential of technology leads many businesses undertaking digital transformations to believe that if they get the technology right, then everything else will fall into place. Such thinking contributes to the fact that 70% of digital transformations fail to deliver the expected benefits. This is because digital transformation is not about technology, it is about outcomes.

Reality – The key to initiating successful digital transformations is to first define the expected outcomes against the current state of the business before defining a technical solution.

Myth #2 – Digital transformation is always expensive
Both public and private sector organisations are pouring cash into digital transformation, and that trend is set to accelerate following the impacts of COVID-19. In fact, 40% of all technology spend will be used for digital transformations. The fear of being caught cold by more nimble and innovate competitors has forced market leading businesses to invest heavily in digital technologies. Even smaller local businesses are having to launch high quality (and more expensive) digital services to meet growing customer expectations. But does all this mean that digital transformation is expensive? No, digital transformation is only expensive when it delivers less benefit than it costs.

Reality – Avoid expensive digital transformations by creating and maintaining a cost-benefit analysis; prioritising the delivery of the most cost-effective digital capabilities.

Myth #3 – Digital transformation is a slow and lengthy process
Digital professionals regularly come across sad tales of perpetual transformation projects that have been going on for years with no end in sight. It is such a common misconception that digital transformations cannot be executed quickly. However, the real issue is that most businesses still use traditional operating models that are designed to maximise efficiency by increasing resource utilisation and minimising product variability. Such structures make businesses inflexible and unsuited for implementing quick changes.

Reality – Businesses can quickly implement digital transformations by adopting more flexible digital operating models.

Myth #4 – Digital transformation is only worthwhile for big businesses
Some smaller businesses believe that digital transformation is only worthwhile for large enterprises with resources and cash readily available to pay for expensive consultants and complex systems. However, this is not the case, there are plenty of cost- effective but powerful digital solutions for budget-conscious small and medium sized businesses. A good example of this is the cloud applications market where intense competition has forced some of the major players to cut licensing costs and offer cheap or free subscription services.

Reality – There is a thriving and competitive marketplace for digital solutions tailored for small businesses. A good cloud solutions consultant with small business experience can help clients access budget-friendly digital services.

Myth #5 – Digital transformation ends when the project or programme is delivered
Some businesses believe that once their digital transformation programme is finished, they can just sit back and watch the benefits flow in. Unfortunately, that approach will always lead to the business needing to execute another major transformation programme a few years down the line. The rapid pace of technological development and innovation, coupled with the risk of disruptive technologies, means that businesses cannot afford to fall behind the digital curve.

Reality – Digital transformation does not end when the outcomes have been delivered. Businesses need to maintain an effective digital strategy and a digital operating model to avoid constantly having to commission new complex transformation programmes after they fall behind.

Myth #6 – Digital transformation is easy
In digital transformation, inexperience can lead to costly mistakes. One common mistake made by inexperienced transformation teams is to needlessly increase the complexity and cost of their transformation initiatives. For example, a business looking to automate their invoicing and payment processing may decide to build expensive custom software for that task. However, a consultation with a cloud-solutions expert would have revealed that there are already several services with that functionality and low code platforms, such as Zapier, which enable cost-effective automation of thousands of applications.

Reality – Digital transformation initiatives have many pitfalls and should not be underestimated. To succeed businesses will need experienced teams to create a balanced digital ecosystem by aligning their outcomes, data, and capabilities.

For further information on how we can optimise your operations, or to arrange a no-obligation telephone consultation with a cloud-solutions expert, please contact info@proatus.co.uk or telephone 020 7164 6797.

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