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7 digital transformation myths

Esther Shein | Dec. 7, 2017
A successful digital transformation can deliver significant rewards. But these common misconceptions can undermine your company’s ability to achieve desired results.

Yet, CompTIA research shows that while businesses have an appreciation for strategic IT, they are not necessarily prepared to execute on that vision, he says. Seventy-eight percent of firms surveyed say they are using technology to drive business outcomes, but only 28 percent are extremely confident in their ability to apply technology to business goals, Robinson says.

Companies often clamor for digital transformation because they see business environments and customer demands changing. But recent breakthroughs, in particular around the cloud, have built some expectations that aren’t always valid, Robinson says. Technology alone, he emphasizes, is not the panacea when executives don’t stop to consider the full stack of requirements and skills that are needed.

“As companies seek digital transformation, they will have to invest in building the right culture, and also in the transformation of the IT function, including new skills and partnering opportunities.”

E&Y’s Kanazawa agrees. “The key myth is that digital transformation is just about technology, rather than being about creating amazing new experiences and value for customers, partners and employees.”

Here, Kanazawa says, consumer experiences are driving the need for great digital customer experiences in unlikely markets. “We have had executives in industrial markets like energy services, agriculture and building management … describe frustration that they can’t purchase industrial products and parts with the same ease that they download digital content at home, hire a car service in real-time or have your favorite bottle of wine drop shipped to your house the same day.”

So when it comes to serving those customers, he believes, “you are competing against the best digital experiences that your customer has in their personal life.”

Myth No. 5: Executive buy-in is a sure thing

For any project to be successful, you need buy-in and continuous support from upper management; digital transformations are no different. Yet, senior executives are often reluctant to greenlight these projects because they are often complex and daunting, says Andriole, who is also a business consultant.

He says he’ll be called in to advise a company that thinks it needs to do a digital transformation project and finds, “It’s more about lip service than it is about reality.”

Often, they have the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it syndrome,” he says.   

In those instances, Andriole’s advice is to “find a big mirror and look into it. What do you really see?” If there is no real reason to deploy a digital initiative or commitment on the part of management, he says, don’t do it.

Myth No. 6: Digital transformation brings IT-business harmony

Successful digital transformations require collaboration between IT and the business, but if you think IT-business harmony is the guaranteed outcome of a digital transformation, you may want to think again, says Schneider Electric’s Bennett. “I think it’s a fallacy. They don’t get along very well. They come from very different starting points.”


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