Digital Transformation - Barriers To Becoming A Digital Business

Rohil Sharma, CEO, Perpetuuiti Technosoft | Wednesday, 21 August 2019, 04:31 IST

Rohil Sharma, CEO, Perpetuuiti TechnosoftIn today’s digital landscape, everyone needs to adapt to succeed. Businesses who are unable to keep up with the ever-advancing digital capabilities risk getting left behind by their competitors, as innovations in mobile, social platforms, data science and cloud computing continually change how customers expect to engage with a company. Digital transformation is now more than a buzzword – it is a business imperative that is being felt in every industry, at every level. As organizations continue to embrace digital transformation, they are finding that digital business is not as simple as buying the latest technology — it requires significant changes to culture and systems.

A recent Gartner Inc. survey found that only a small number of organizations have been able to successfully scale their digital initiatives beyond the experimentation and piloting stages.

The truth is that digital enterprise demands different skills, working practices, organizational models and even cultures. It is relatively easy for the boardroom to move digital transformation up its agenda, but actually delivering it is another matter. To change an organization designed for a structured, process-oriented world to one designed for adaptation, learning and experimentation is very difficult. Some organizations will navigate that change, and others that can't change will become outdated and be replaced.

“Business leaders aiming to establish a digital culture should start small”

Here are the most common barriers to the success of digital transformation projects. Business leaders must overcome to transform their organization into a digital business.

Inability to experiment quickly

One of the biggest barriers to digital transformation, as reported by the Harvard Business Review (HBR), is a businesses’ inability to experiment quickly, with 53 percent of senior executives surveyed maintaining that this was a key barrier to the success of their projects.Digital innovation is now advancing at an unprecedented speed and as a result, businesses now have to be able to react and adapt to this ever-changing landscape. For digital transformation to be a success, businesses have to be willing to try something new, and to try it quickly.

Change-Resisting Culture

Digital Transformation can be successful only in a culture of collaboration. People have to be able to work across boundaries and explore new ideas. In reality, most organizations are stuck in a culture of changeresistant silos and hierarchies. Business leaders aiming to establish a digital culture should start small: collaborative cross-functional and self-directed teams that are not afraid of uncertain outcomes should be created and shielded from the rest of the organization to let the new culture develop.

Inadequate Collaboration between IT and Lines of Business

Today, technology and IT are an intrinsic part of any organization. Every business process is driven or supported by technology, and this means the IT department must be connected with all other aspects of the business.

Digital Readiness - The Business is not Ready

Many business leaders are caught up in the hype around digital business. But when the CIO or CDO wants to start the transformation process, it turns out that the business doesn't have the skills or resources needed. Business transformation leaders should address the digital readiness of the organization to get an understanding of both business and IT readiness.

The Talent Gap

Digital innovation requires an organization to adopt a different approach. People, processes and technology blend to create new business models and services. Employees need new skills focused on innovation, change and creativity along with the new technologies themselves, such as Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things. However, most organizations aiming for digital transformation follow a traditional approach which leads to a slower rate of change.

The Current Business Practices don't Support the Talent

Having the right talent is essential, and having the right organizational practices lets the talent work effectively. Highly structured and slow traditional processes don't work for digital. There are no tried and tested models to implement, but every organization has to find the practices that suits it best.

Lack of a Corporate Vision for Digital

Just because businesses know they should be making the move to digital doesn’t mean they know what to do, or how to do it. Ultimately, true digital transformation requires vision and planning, and organizations need to know what they want to achieve from their endeavors.

Insufficient Budget

The reality is that digital transformation costs and, to be digital innovators and set the benchmark for digital initiatives, businesses need to be willing to invest in the process. Indeed, spending on digital transformation is expected to reach USD 1.7 trillion by the end of 2019 (IDC). Businesses should consider if they are truly unable to fund digital projects, or if they are simply being too conservative with where they put their money.

Change Management Capabilities

Digital transformation represents a change across the entirety of an organization. Businesses therefore need to ensure they have the capabilities in place to facilitate these changes; whether it’s rolling out completely new technologies, or pushing for a digital first culture, change needs to be managed effectively.