Everyone is aware of the common business drivers and benefits of an IT-enabled business transformation or digital transformation.\u00a0 These programs provide a catalyst event for driving business process change and adopting best practices. \u00a0Once implemented, the software prevents erosion of the adopted changes as employees can no longer do things the old way. \u00a0Operations will be more efficient using common processes and systems across the enterprise, while the benefits achieved should enable greater visibility into the business resulting in operational cost reductions, increased sales revenue, and improved margins.\nBut why just be like everyone else?\u00a0\nThere are many other benefits that can be realized from a digital transformation program provided the executive team adds these to the program\u2019s goals and priorities. \u00a0But if you don\u2019t recognize the next generation talent development opportunity at the very beginning, then the overall benefits derived from the program will be much less. \u00a0\nBenefit #1: Leadership development \u2013 tomorrow\u2019s business leaders\nThese types of programs are usually part of a much larger strategic vision designed to enable the business for future growth.\u00a0 Achieving this vision will require operational execution, which will be primarily driven by mid-level management.\u00a0 Implementing new business processes provides a tremendous opportunity for mid-level managers to engage in cross functional discussions with other managers, thereby gaining a greater understanding of how the overall business operates.\u00a0 This enables managers to understand the interrelation between the various business groups and how they must work together to achieve the common goals set by executive management.\nIt also provides an opportunity for managers to collaborate and establish credibility outside of their own functional group.\u00a0 When future challenges inevitably arise, you will have a cross functional team that has collaborative working experience and approaches challenges holistically with the ultimate common goal in mind, as opposed to being defensive in protecting their own little fiefdoms.\u00a0 This is how you get people \u201con the same page\u201d and working collectively towards a common goal.\nBut if an organization\u2019s executive management team is only going to dictate the processes to be implemented without discussion or input from mid-level management and functional business leaders, then the cross functional discussions and collaboration will never occur.\u00a0 Managers miss out on the opportunity to participate and discover collectively why things need to be done a certain way to achieve the common goals outlined by executive management, and therefore are never fully vested in the program or accepting of the new business processes. \u00a0This, in turn, leads to finger pointing when challenges arise and discourages collective problem solving, thereby severely impacting operational execution and achievement of the overall strategic vision.\nAdditionally, if the strategic vision is realized and growth occurs over the next few years, you now have a pool of managers to promote from within that share the company\u2019s values, clearly understand and have adopted the common business processes, and have established credibility across the organization.\u00a0 This will help combat growing pains by minimizing the number of outside hires required to fill leadership positions resulting from this new growth. \u00a0It will also inspire less experienced resources to continue to work hard and learn, as they can see future growth opportunities and promotions for themselves.\nBenefit #2: Timely and consistent decision-making\nIt is impossible to grow a business when only a handful of people are empowered to make decisions.\u00a0 This leads to long decision-making lifecycles that can become costly in delays and missed business opportunities. \u00a0Challenges also arise when managers lack a big picture understanding of the overall business operations, goals, and objectives, since this leads to decisions based solely on their functional role perspective. \u00a0\nDecision-making from this limited perspective leads to inconsistent decisions across the organization that may even contradict those made by other managers presented with the same facts.\u00a0 The common plea when this occurs is for everyone to get on the same page.\u00a0 The trouble is, nobody knows how to do so, and the problem never gets resolved.\u00a0 Digital transformation programs, if used wisely, provide an excellent opportunity for the CEO to communicate or reinforce the company strategy, goals, and values to ensure managerial alignment.\nThese programs provide a tremendous opportunity to achieve a level of consistent decision-making far greater than just preaching to get on the same page.\u00a0 Working through these digital transformation programs can serve as hands-on training.\u00a0 They provide a deeper level of context and education on the business goals and how the processes impact the entire organization and they also enable achievement of those goals for managers at all levels.\u00a0 Coming out of the program, managers will share and practice the same cultural business values and understand and appreciate the value that other groups bring to the overall business, thereby increasing the likelihood that individual managers will make similar decisions when presented with the same factual scenario.\u00a0\nMost every manager wants to make the best decision for the business, but they can only make decisions based on what they know of the business at that time.\u00a0 Digital transformation programs allow managers to learn about the overall business and provide managers with business-specific context on real scenarios, which is a much more effective learning method that can be drawn upon for future decisions.\nBenefit #3: Cement old-guard legacy \u2013 pass the baton\nApproaching the end of a long career, many leaders want to be able to:\n\nReflect on their successes and accomplishments;\nLeave the business in a better situation than they inherited;\nTransfer knowledge to the next generation to take the business to new heights by enhancing their situational awareness; and\nEnable the next generation to experience the same career and personal satisfaction that they enjoyed.\n\nDigital transformation programs are a great way to pass the baton to the next generation.\u00a0 To accomplish this, it is important for the old guard not to execute the transformation but to be coaches and advisors, providing the next generation with the opportunity to learn from executing and gaining vital situational awareness experience.\u00a0 The old guard should be there to offer advice and guidance, and explain not only how things have been done, but why they were done that way and why change is necessary.\u00a0 This is a very valuable learning experience for the next generation and allows them to develop bonds through this shared experience.\nThe old guard can now take pride in their career accomplishments, as they have had the opportunity to transfer all of their knowledge to the next generation of leaders and feel confident that they have set them up for continued success.