An in depth analysis of the world of ‘Digital Transformation’ shows two things. One is that there is no such a thing a ‘Digital Transformation’ as a single domain or relatively well bordered area of expertise and action. In fact, you don’t have to look hard to realise that it is more difficult to find things that do not belong to ‘Digital Transformation’ than the ones that do. ‘Digital Transformation’ seems like a big supermarket with hundreds of shelves full of stuff.
It is unrealistic to expect a ‘single domain’ (area of expertise, and therefore expert) that can seriously contain: going paperless, better customer experience in websites, transforming customer experience, jobs done by software, artificial intelligence, analytics, robots doing human stuff, digital transactions, blockchain, digital/enterprise social networks, mobile technologies, self-service HR systems, real time data, electronic documentation, social media, multi channel services, more sophisticated CRM, automation, faster computing capacities, process (digital) reengineering, and cloud services. And there are still many other supermarket shelves I have not named.
Calling all of these ‘Digital Transformation’ is the equivalent to calling ‘business’ to all you and I do. And finding ‘experts in business’. When clients tell me that they have appointed some people to lead ‘Digital Transformation’, I ask which one.
The other ‘finding’, shocking but not entirely unexpected, is the virtual lack of reference to behaviours. It’s not the first time that technology takes all the airtime and reduces behaviours to a by-product of what technology changes or will change. The mistake is a big one since behaviours are hardly a by-product. It is more the other way around, you need some behaviours in the system to support the digital transformation. These behaviours must be tailored to the objective (since the supermarket has hundreds of shelves) but at the very least they will have to deal with change from audience (push, customer, information) to community (pull, engagement, reputation); speed; trust and risk (less people involved) and virtual collaboration. And, again, this is just the start. Just a few of the pillars. Each shelf has its own behavioural set.
The most efficient way to deal with that multi-target Digital Transformation is to look at the cultural and behavioural conditions that are needed, perhaps changed, ‘installed’, embedded and spread at a scale, to support it.The behavioural DNA (change ability vs change) will support/must support any of these digital shelves in change. Behaviours are not a by-product, an afterthought. They are the fabric, the tapestry on which everything else works. Starting with behaviours, is a smart move.