Digital transformation starts with technology, at least that’s what most CEOs of small and mid-size businesses think. But if ushering in the latest and greatest digital platforms is the initial approach of business leaders, the transformation is doomed to fail.
That is, according to Daniel Newman, founder and digital analyst for Futurum Research and best-selling author of “Futureproof: 7 Key Pillars for Digital Transformation Success.” Newman meets many small business owners who are facing a rapidly evolving commerce environment where Omni-channel distribution and seamless one-click shopping are de riguer.
These entrepreneurs are eager to undertake the seamless warp drive to the digital age; however, before they do so, many have an extremely pertinent question: “Where do I start with digital transformation?”
It’s Not the Technology Stupid!
These business leaders have a right to be perplexed. CEOs know that change is required to build the capability to be successful far into the future, and technology will be a huge part of that future. But what they don’t know is that digital transformation, first and foremost, is a cultural shift that must be led by the people who are directly involved, the users and the implementers. Digital transformation is a people-led – not technology-led – undertaking.
An often-cited statistic is that around 50 percent of IT projects fail. But is that really true? And, if so, why? According to Newman, it is deployments that fail because those that must use the technology and those most impacted by that technology don’t embrace or understand the technology; they neither believe in its purpose nor feel enthusiastic about the potential results.
Newman emphasizes that once management understands that digital transformation is change management in hyper drive, the innovation and technology will follow.
Calibrate the Culture, Not the CPUs
So, what is step 1 for business owners? What does change management mean, and how does it happen?
Newman says, “Start with culture.” Those who matter in the transformation – managers, employees. customers – must see the vision, feel excited about the change, and want to be part of the movement.
Most of us have experienced an enthusiastic sales person be it at a theme park, a hotel, or a shoe store. What is the effect of that fervor? More often than not, a cheerful affirmation engenders a similar sentiment in the customer; one that leads to a successful interaction or, even better, sales.
Take Your Culture to the Cloud
While Newman concedes that you can’t compare a sales pitch in a shoe store with the digital transformation of a B2B or B2C business, the essence of the user buy-in concept is, fundamentally, the same. Only if users share the vision and want to pursue it can it become a reality. Those involved must believe that transformation is truly possible, that it will deliver next generation technology to customers, grow revenue, improve profitability, keep customers longer, and make employees happier.
Newman’s answers the question, “Where do I start with digital transformation?” Hear what he has to say in this video and how you can begin the process of preparation for tomorrow’s technology.
Shelly Kramer is a Principal Analyst and Founding Partner at Futurum Research. A serial entrepreneur with a technology centric focus, she has worked alongside some of the world’s largest brands to embrace disruption and spur innovation, understand and address the realities of the connected customer, and help navigate the process of digital transformation. She brings 20 years' experience as a brand strategist to her work at Futurum, and has deep experience helping global companies with marketing challenges, GTM strategies, messaging development, and driving strategy and digital transformation for B2B brands across multiple verticals. Shelly's coverage areas include Collaboration/CX/SaaS, platforms, ESG, and Cybersecurity, as well as topics and trends related to the Future of Work, the transformation of the workplace and how people and technology are driving that transformation. A transplanted New Yorker, she has learned to love life in the Midwest, and has firsthand experience that some of the most innovative minds and most successful companies in the world also happen to live in “flyover country.”