Demystifying Digital Transformation: Part 1 – DT 101 and Roadblocks to Success

May 2, 2018

Blog | Martech | Demystifying Digital Transformation: Part 1 – DT 101 and Roadblocks to Success

For business leaders, CMOs and CIOs, digital transformation is more than just another industry buzzword—it’s become an organizational Holy Grail. But as most executives are painfully aware, knowing that you need to digitally transform, and being able to execute on it, are two very different things.

As GeekHive CEO Peter Ladka pointed out in his 9-part Martech Enablement Series, digital transformation and maturity are a destination, not a process. There’s no silver bullet here—sorry, folks! Successful digital transformation—let’s call it DT—is the result of a series of strategic and incremental changes made over time. In Part 1 of this 4-part blog series, “Demystifying Digital Transformation,” we pop the hood on DT and look at a few of the reasons it may not be working for your organization (yet).

What is digital transformation?

We’re talking about applying digital technology to an organization’s activities, processes and products in order to improve efficiency, performance, and customer experience. Occasionally, it may even reveal whole new business models or opportunities.

Why does digital transformation matter?

It’s impossible to ignore the speed with which technological innovation is disrupting and changing traditional business models. Even in industries notoriously slow to change, the need to digitally evolve business processes to stay competitive and keep up with an increasingly savvy and demanding consumer base has become a strategic imperative.

We already have new tech and systems in place, so why haven’t we transformed our business?

True digital transformation doesn’t happen overnight. In most cases, issues blocking successful digital maturation have less to do with available tools and technology, and more to do with knowing exactly what you need, and then having the right team and tech in place to take you there. Here are two of the most common DT roadblocks:

  • You don’t have a plan? You need a plan!
    Understanding where you are now, and where you want to be in the future, is a crucial insight and important first step when it comes to successful DT. Defining up front what DT can specifically deliver to your organization will also help you sell it through internally. (Which is important—employee push-back is real). So gather data and develop insights, determine your needs, and put together a clear and actionable plan that establishes those objectives.
  • You don’t have the right team or org structure in place. (Silos were meant to be broken!)
    When digital transformation efforts overhaul a company’s traditional organizational structure, confusion and resistance around changing roles and responsibilities may stunt progress. If you don’t have the right core team in place, your transformation efforts will likely hit a wall. As part of building the right team, you’ll need to get buy-in from the top. In other words, you’ll need leaders who can communicate the transformation vision and why it matters. You’ll need to define (and redefine) roles and responsibilities for essential team members, and identify who can fill them. If you don’t have the expertise to fill an essential role, find talent or partner with someone externally. Ultimately, effective DT is not a one-person show. It requires the coordinated efforts of many people, with specialized and perhaps overlapping skill sets.

More to come on Digital Transformation

Stay tuned for the rest of our 4-part “Demystifying Digital Transformation” blog series. We’ll continue to share our battle-tested perspective and practical advice for moving the needle on DT for your organization.

Shannon Brennan-Cressey

Director of Digital Marketing
  • Digital Transformation
  • MarTech

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