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Digital Transformation – Beware of these three sure ways to failure

An enterprise is ensured of leadership in the respective industry if it is already digitally transformed or is transforming at a quick pace. All that is required is build capabilities in digital as well as in leadership. It is essentials that the enterprise excels in both these dimensions. Falling short in one of the two might not yield desired results and would sometimes wreck the journey.

Companies with strong technology leadership alone might not qualify for a digital transformation success. Alternatively, enterprises with access to enough technology but with no good leadership and vision is sure to fail in the effort to transform.

Beware! If an enterprise does not have a digital vision at all, it is sure to fall behind rapidly. Enterprises might think that they are not the best candidates for the digital transformation journey or that there is no threat to their existence as far as they can perceive. Remember Kodak? A latecomer in the journey is also sure to miss the bus. While ignorance might not be the reason, a wait-and-see approach might be the spoiler in the already frenzy business environment. Such enterprises wrongly assume that the transformation journey is not necessary now as the environment does not provide a compelling reason to launch out right away. A few lack leadership capabilities to make thing happen. Others complain of regulations or lack of privacy that might be undesired by-products of the transformation process as social media and the Cloud are its integral parts.

Beware! There are enterprises that keep acquiring the latest technology just for the sake of being trendy in the market. They flaunt it to the outside world but little seems to have changed in the core. Such fashionable approach might only seem to bring progress but ultimately would limit bigger opportunities. A lack of strong digital leadership and / or governance might result in wasted expenditure. Sometimes, enterprises might want to reverse what has been done due to no clear vision on integration and scalability. Putting in place incompatible technologies or those that do not bring in a synergy might result in frustration in the part of the consumer – employees or customers. Devising different and multiple marketing strategies that overlap markets might confuse the consumer and result in undesired internal clashes.

Beware! Enterprises that take a conservative approach cannot become successful and might be beaten by others, sometimes, by greenfield players and startups. Possessing leadership capabilities is not everything. Enterprises must also build digital capabilities. Such enterprises are very cautious, ensuring every digital investment is carefully considered and strongly coordinated. They don’t want to commit mistakes resulting in wasted time, effort and money. This might result in the company falling into a governance trap that focuses more on controls and rules than making progress. The top management – and therefore the organization as a whole - cannot be mobilized too. Enterprises that are trying to prevent failure will not make progress at all.

- some inputs gleaned from Leading Digital - HBR Press