tagged with: digital transformation
Digital leaders share three common attributes.
- Leadership: In addition to having a formal digital strategy, digital leaders are much more likely to have the CEO leading their digital transformation. But CEOs don’t work in a vacuum; two-thirds of respondents view their CIO as critical to the success of their digital transformation as well.
- Data & analytics: Digital leaders use data and analytics to a much greater degree – both to understand what customers want and to improve operations and forecasting.
- Open to taking risk: Innovation, invention and change all involve risk, and digital leaders are significantly more open to taking risks in pursuit of new digital business opportunities than are hybrids and non-digitals. And they build this into their culture.
For the past two years, I’ve conducted a half dozen or so major research projects on digital business. At the outset, I looked for a definition that we could present to participating executives that would ground the research in something tangible. There wasn’t much out there. Even MIT's Center for Digital Business hadn't pinned this down. So we created our own definition as “the transformation of business models, products and/or operations from the use of information and communications technologies.”
OK, but wow, that was vague — transformation from what — and to what? Do a search today, and you'll find a lot more of the same.
Having completed all this research — survey results from thousands of business leaders around the world and interviews with close to a hundred executives, analysts and academics, my thinking has shifted. Today I define digital business as…
We all know how hard change can be. Whether we like to admit it or not, every one of us performs at least some parts of our jobs on auto-pilot; it's more efficient for our brains to operate that way. That makes it hard to do things differently.
When leaders introduce a significant change without a lot of communication around what will be different, why it's happening (including connecting it to something that matters to each member of the team), and how the change will unfold, they shoot themselves in the foot. They inevitably encounter a lot of friction if not downright resistance to the change. In the best case, this slows things down. In the worst, this has led to multi-million dollar failures.