DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION AND LEADERSHIP

In this short article, we will talk about how part of the digital transformation with the central focus on the Leadership. Leadership capabilities are essential to achieving true digital transformation; they turn digital investment into digital advantage.

DIGITAL VISION

In order to be truly transform, it is must for any organisation to have well crafted digital vision. The vision can not be defined in one go, it needs time and energy to evolve, understanding of the strength of the organisation, customer experience, business model reinvention, operational overhaul and engaging the various departments/business units.

Before declaring the vision to the world and to the organisation, it must also get the full backing and buy-in of the board for support and the funding required.

As it has been well said based on the research, in the book “Digital Transformation”,

Successful digital transformation starts at the top of the company. Only the senior most executives can create a compelling vision of the future and communicate it throughout the organisation. Then people in the middle and lower levels can make the vision a reality. Managers can design processes, workers can start to work differently, and everyone can identify new ways to meet the vision. This kind of change doesn’t happen through simple mandate. It must be led. 

BOTTOM UP APPROACH

Research and studies have proved time and again that no company have created true digital transformation through a bottom-up approach. Some executives have changed their parts of the business, but executives stopped at the boundaries of their business units. Changing part of your business is not enough. The real benefits of transformation come from seeing potential synergies across silos and then creating conditions through which everyone can unlock that value. Only senior executives are positioned to drive this kind of boundary-spanning change.


RE-ENVISIONING OPERATIONS:

The organisations like the technology companies or any other businesses that sell largely to other businesses, operational visions are very useful. The business drivers of operational visions include efficiency and the need to integrate disparate operations. Executives may want to increase process visibility and decision-making speed or to collaborate across silos.

REENVISIONING BUSINESS MODELS:

Some executives combine ideas around operational processes and the customer experience to envision new business models. The new vision may extend the current business model or may depart from it substantially.

HOW TO GET STARTED?

Aim to be transformative, not incremental. make your digital vision specific enough to give employees a clear direction, while giving then the flexibility to innovate upon it. Dream big, and then ask your employees to help you make the dream a reality. This is no small task. Crafting a vision for digital transformation is journey.

ENGAGING THE ORGANISATION AT SCALE:

If my mind can conceive it, and my heart can believe it, I know I can achieve it.
– JESSE JACKSON

A company’s strategic vision is only as good as the people behind it. This remains true for digital transformation.

Business transformation involves making important, sometimes disruptive, changes in how organisations get things done. Core organisational processes are redesigned, new technology tools replace old ones, new skills are developed, and new ways of working are introduced. The process sounds easy, but it’s not. Employee engagement matters. And it matters even more to succeed at transformation.

Fortunately, engaging employees in organisational changes is not uncharted territory. There is a wide body of research that explains how you can use the power if engagement to successfully transform your organisation. But all work points to one thing: engagement is foremost a task of leadership.

But as a leader, how do you practically engage the organisation to take an active part in the larger digital transformation journey? The research done in the book suggests that their are three managerial levers to engage the organisation.

  • Connect the organisation – using digital technology to wire the organisation so that everyone gets a voice and can collaborate.
  • Actively encourage open conversations to facilitate strategic dialogue and create the opportunity for everyone to play a role in advancing the vision.
  • Crowdsource your own employees to co-create solutions. Rather than design the solution and attempt to get buy-in afterward, crowdsource your own employees to co-create solutions.

GOVERNING THE TRANSFORMATION:

My fault, my failure, is not in the passions I have, but in my lack of control of them” 
– JACK KEROUAC

Even with a strong, engaging vision, it is extremely difficult to channel your organisation’s efforts in a single direction. Large, complex companies are full of entropy, constantly moving ion the direction of less order rather than more. Once engaged in a compelling vision, managers throughout the company may move in their own directions to make the vision a reality. Other managers, not having bought into the vision, may try to ignore it. Some units may move too slowly, while others may introduce risk by moving before they have truly thought through regulatory, security, and organisational risks. Other units may waste resources on duplicative, uncoordinated, or incompatible efforts.

Thats where digital governance comes in. Digital governance helps to steer the company’s digital activities in the right direction. It turns the diverse energy of employees throughout the organisation into a coherent engine that drives digital transformation forward.

Analysis shows that digital governance is one of the most important levers that senior executives can apply in driving digital transformation. Governance acts as a set of guiderails to keep everybody moving in the right direction. It provides both carrots and sticks to foster innovation and prevent inappropriate investment. It helps to manage the risks of transformation and to drive transformation forward efficiently.

TECHNOLOGY LEADERSHIP AND COMPANY, EVOLVING TOGETHER:

The real value of digital transformation comes not from the initial investment, but from continuously reenvisioning how you can extend your capabilities to increase revenue, cut costs, or gain other benefits. Initial investments become the foundation upon which you can make additional strategic investments.

It’s clear states that involvement of the executive leadership is a must for any organisation to be successful on the journey of digital transformation.

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