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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.

Whenever Bennett hears about a company going through an IT-operational technology convergence, he says that always gives him pause. “I say ‘Wow,’ because these people won’t even eat lunch together.”

He recalls being onsite at a large distribution electric utility while his staff was implementing Schneider Electric’s distribution software, which was running the entire electric grid. The utility’s operations staff, which was not part of IT, was responsible for managing that mission-critical function. “Every time IT folks would come into the room, this [operations] guy would play funny music on his desktop — circus music — and I said, ‘Why are you playing that?’ He said, ‘Every time corporate IT comes in, it’s like a circus show.’ So they don’t always see eye to eye on IT projects.”

It’s a myth to believe that just because connected devices are moving into businesses IT and OT will “converge in a natural and predictive way,’’ Bennett maintains. “People really forget there’s a fundamental human road bump that’s in the mix that will take years and years and years to work through. It’s a big change management issue to work through.”

There is a persistent belief by business people that they are being constrained by IT rather than enabled by it, he says. While there have been some paradigm shifts when it comes to core IT, the same doesn’t hold true with operational IT. “So the myth that they’re going to sing ‘Kumbaya’ and get together is not going to happen.”  

Myth No. 7. The digital journey ends at implementation

Dan Doggendorf has learned from experience that digital transformation is not always the silver bullet for solving a business problem. Doggendorf, vice president of business operations and CIO for the Dallas Stars NHL hockey team, says his eyes were opened after the deployment of a new phone system with reporting capabilities to track sales data. As they began looking at systems, he says “requirements started getting bigger and bigger, and when [sales executives would] see a demo, they wanted more.”

IT bought a system with a lot of functionality, “and quite honestly, the only thing they use is the dashboard,” he notes.

Going forward, Doggendorf says he’s learned he needs to “really push back on the user community and get a commitment from them” that they will use a new product and understand how it works, after going over their requirements with IT.

“So many times, users bring us a solution that they think is cool, but they don’t really know what it means to their life.” In the case of the phone system, it offers the ability for doing data analytics and business intelligence, but it is not being used to its full potential, he says.


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