7 habits of highly effective digital transformations

A technology-first approach to digital transformation is a recipe for disaster. Start instead by overhauling your organization with a customer-centric end goal in mind.

7 habits of highly effective digital transformations
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One of the habits from Stephen Covey’s bestselling book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is to begin with the end in mind. Putting that in today’s business context, organizations need to figure out what digital transformation means for their business and what their goals are before they go throwing a bunch of new technologies at an ill-defined problem. By focusing too closely on being competitive and innovative and putting the bulk of their efforts into technology, they might be missing the boat.

Technology, of course, is a key driver. IDC estimates $1.2 trillion will be spent on digital transformation technologies in 2017, an increase of 17.8 percent over 2016.

Yet, a significant number of organizations are not getting transformation right because of a fundamental quandary over what digital transformation really is, says Brian Solis, principal analyst and futurist at Altimeter, a Prophet company.

Altimeter’s 2017 State of Digital Transformation report finds that while organizations are investing in innovative technologies, most are lagging or failing to respond to consumers’ new expectations due to “meager digital literacy.” The report also finds many companies have cultures and that “politics, ego and fear are the main obstacles to achieving the collaboration and solidarity needed within companies to make the changes digital consumers want.”

When companies start with a tech-first approach they miss the purpose of what digital transformation is all about, maintains Solis. “I think a lot of times, companies and CIOs in particular, fall into what I call ‘the technology trap.’” Quite simply, he says, it means they are building upon a legacy foundation with new stuff.

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