How do you best achieve digital transformation? And is it worth the time and investment?
Much has been written about how the COVID pandemic has forced companies to digitally transform themselves in order to handle remote work and to face other problems caused by the pandemic. But little has been written about whether that digital transformation is effective --- or to give advice on the best way towards digital transformation in post-COVID world.
If you’re looking for help on advice on how to best digitally transform your company post-COVID, you’ll find plenty of help in the Harvard Business Review article “Digitizing Isn’t the Same as Digital Transformation” by Paul Leinwand and Mahadeva Matt Mani.
The article points out that companies have been digitizing themselves at a dizzying pace since the advent of the pandemic. It warns, though, “This accelerated wave of digital initiatives must not be confused with the real business transformation needed for success in the digital age.” To truly transform themselves, the article says, “Companies need to step back and fundamentally reconceive how they create value. They need to reimagine their place in the world, rethink how they create value through ecosystems, and transform their organizations to enable new models of value creation. The bottom line is companies need to shape their own future, recognizing that the world has fundamentally shifted, and that they must find their purpose in it. If you can’t answer the questions ‘Why are we here?’ or ‘What unique value do we add for our customers?’ then you are likely at best just staying in the game.”
What does that mean in practice? The article offers these three pieces of advice, based on the authors studying at least a dozen companies who have recently gone through digital transformations:
“Reimagine your place in the world, instead of focusing on digitizing what you already do.” Companies that go through a successful digital transformation “take advantage of new technology not to copy what everyone else is doing, but to advance their own missions by investing in the differentiating capabilities that allow them to deliver on their purpose. Filling their new place in the world with life often requires them to shed old business models, assets, and beliefs about value creation…”
“Create value through ecosystems, rather than trying to do it all alone. Successful companies in the digital age recognize that the way to remain relevant comes from working together with an ecosystem of players in order to deliver the ambitious value propositions that customers want and to quickly innovate and scale up the incredible capabilities that are needed…”
“Re-imagine your organization to enable a new model of value creation, rather than asking people to work in new ways within the confines of the old organizational model. Winners in the digital era break up old power structures so that new ideas and capabilities can be scaled more collaboratively. They put in place outcome-oriented teams tasked with collaborating across the organization and work with their ecosystem partners to deliver the differentiating (and often cross-functional) capabilities they need to win.”
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