Companies approach digital transformation adoption in three ways:
- Joint approach between executives and operations – This should be based on a clear vision and roadmap of technology requirements, considering defined opportunities or gaps of existing work processes.
- Executives led approach with no operations involvement – A top down approach where senior leaders exclusively make strategic decisions, create implementation plans and then roll out organisation wide communication to gain workforce buy-in. Here, business leaders foresee the need for technology to address threat/ opportunity in driving positive results but without thorough technical and process assessments.
- Operations led approach with minimal involvement from leadership – Executives here over-delegate digital transformation to those deeply involved in day to day activities. The output is nothing but old ineffective processes under a new guise. This is usually caused by the lack of operations in envisioning future processes and capabilities that businesses need to drive competitiveness.
The 2nd and 3rd approaches have major short comings. According to Gartner, despite leaders expecting more changes to occur, only one third of change initiatives succeed. Digital transformation is implemented to make business processes smoother and lives of employees easier. Digitalising operations impacts how people handle existing day to day processes and interactions. These practices have been built over many years and became instilled in the culture of organizations. Hence, implementing technology without a holistic transformation strategy by leadership will yield minimal positive results, as operations team will attempt to leverage technology to automate existing inefficient and ineffective processes, without taking the chance to adopt best practices or leverage business process re-engineering to revamp the flow of data and goods across the supply chain.
To harness the full power of digitalisation, business leaders must look at it beyond merely adopting the right technology but also ensure that strong change management is in place. This requires robust engagement from business along with operations’ leaders to invite new sets of habits and upgraded processes and measures.