The urgency characterizing the digital transformation has prompted endless articles with recommended steps to help companies achieve their digitization, a temptation that even we have not been able to resist on our blog.
What has proven much less frequent are articles that reveal the errors made by companies of all sizes and sectors, resulting in their plans not working out. In order to give pointers on what best to avoid, we list the 10 most common errors made by companies in their attempt to digitize their business.
This post is also available in Spanish.
The 10 most common errors made during a digital transformation
1. Not understanding what it truly means to digitally transform a business
According to an Altimeter Group study, the biggest mistake made by businesses is not taking stock of what a digital transformation actually is, what it would require in terms of your business or sector, and above all, from which part of your company it should begin.
|The study by technology consultants Altimeter Group emphasized that a digital transformation is not easily achieved. Indeed, of the 88% of participating companies who were undertaking a move in this direction, only 1 in 4 had successfully identified which digital aspects of their business needed improving.
In other words, 66% of the businesses questioned had embarked on a digital transformation without even knowing which aspects of their company required transforming!
2. Not having a plan and clearly defined goals
Even when companies know what it is and where to begin it, they still begin their digital transformation without having defined a clear strategy or, even worse, without giving their starting point some serious thought: in other words, the technology that they already have at their disposal, their capacity for organization, work processes, etc.
Just as important as having a strategy is having one that is flexible enough to adapt and evolve as it progresses, since each step in the digitization process can lead to new factors and opportunities that need to be taken into consideration.
3. Procrastinating and never getting around to executing plans
Precisely due to the complexity of developing a digital transformation strategy, the plan itself can become so bogged down in detail that it ends up preventing its very execution. Many companies revise and revise their strategy without realizing that with every change and each new version they are failing to actually carry out their plans. Making the first move is certainly the most challenging one, but it is also the most important.
4. Moving too fast
Hurrying is, generally speaking, a bad idea in any project, but a digital transformation tends to inspire a particular urgency in companies, often prompted by the sensation that survival in the digital era requires all businesses to work at breakneck speed in the style of a start-up.
5. Undergoing a digital transformation that does not involve all departments
There are many companies who believe that the deployment of a digital transformation strategy should be limited to the IT and marketing departments when in reality a successful transformation should involve the entire organization.
6. Not involving the C-suite
Most agree that digitizing businesses is a matter of urgency, but often the highest ranks of management are not enlisted to participate in the process. A skeptical CEO or one only vaguely committed to the transformation process is the equivalent of signing the company’s death sentence.
7. Not recruiting the required professionals
Digitally transforming an incomplete department or not having the right professionals in place is another of the cardinal errors committed by thousands of companies that are in the process of digitizing their business. A recent study by MIT revealed that an investment in technology is of equal worth to an investment in talent.
8. Becoming complacent at the first sign of success
Another recurring error is becoming complacent or losing sight of the original plan at the first sign of success. Quick wins are important if they boost morale and motivate people to keep striving until they achieve their ultimate objectives, but not when they become a distraction or an excuse to lose momentum.
9. Considering digitization as a cost, not as an investment
Even if all the literature on the subject puts great emphasis on the importance of talent and leadership, we should not forget a fundamental truth: a digital transformation does not come for free and in fact requires a significant downpayment. If the budget ends up being calculated from a surplus, it’s an obvious sign that the digitization process is not being taken seriously enough.
10. Imitating the digital transformation of competitors
FInally, another trap consists of mirroring the same digital transformation as your direct competitors, that is, companies offering the same or similar product with a similar business plan. If the digital economy has proven anything, it is precisely that the lines separating different industries are now truly blurred, proven by the fact that the major competitors of telecommunications companies have ended up being some of theirits customers, such is the case with Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon.
By overcoming all these obstacles, a successful digital transformation can offer a plentiful source of improved efficiency and competitive advantages for your company. Added to which nowadays, undergoing a digitization process is not just an option, but the very decision that will ensure the survival of your company.
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This post is also available in Spanish.
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