"Also, it’s critical to appreciate that DX is not some magic wand you can wave over your business to instantly reduce costs, improve efficiency, and gain more market share."
I think the former Chief Digital Officer at LVMH, Ian Rogers, said it best:
“The big moment for an organisation is when they have embraced the fact that digital transformation isn't a technical issue, but a cultural change."
Contrary to what you might have heard, DX isn’t just about adopting a specific digital initiative or product, launching more mobile apps, moving to the cloud, or even leveraging machine learning. DX can't be achieved with one project or even by combining several smaller projects. That’s because DX isn’t a project at all - it’s a whole different way of working, a different ethos in the business.
Many business leaders I speak to often believe they already have a digital enterprise.
However, the research from Capgemini paints a very different picture:
There is a significant perception gap between employees and leadership. While 40% of senior executives believe their organisation has a digital culture, only 27% of the employees felt the same way. This divide must be bridged if businesses are to transition to a digital enterprise successfully.
Often lost in the race to identify and deploy the latest digital services and applications, the people who will use these tools and what changes these technologies will bring to their jobs are never fully considered.
Business leaders I speak to see DX as a project that is a journey with a defined endpoint. I spend a great deal of time explaining how DX has no endpoint. The other revelation that many business leaders have is understanding the cultural changes that DX also contains.
Businesses often come to me to 'fix' their DX, which isn't delivering the gains or advantages they had hoped it would. Many also say their workforces are resistant to their deployed technologies and can't see how to get their buy-in to the DX plan.
My response is always to ask what the end goals were for the DX deployment. I am often faced with deathly silence, as no goals were set, or their plans were not clearly defined. The key to digital transformation is technology, but that technology must be deployed with purpose. By which, I mean that it needs to be directed by data-driven decisions and guided by end-to-end processes. More importantly, the change must lead to a digital culture where customers’ and employees’ needs are met.
The Harvard Business Review with EY looked closely at the business case for purpose. It concluded that:
“Much of the discussion about purpose suggests that companies perform better if they have a clear sense of purpose. Purpose-driven companies make more money, have more engaged employees and more loyal customers, and are even better at innovation and transformational change. It seems to be easier to win the game when you care about the game.”
The kicker for me is that only 19% of the executives interviewed had even thought about purpose in the context of DX.
The payoff for all businesses that understand what DX is not will be a more intimate understanding of how technology, culture, business process and purpose fit together.
Finding the sweet spot where all these elements intersect is the key to a successful DX deployment. And please talk to your staff and your key commercial partners about your DX plans. You need their full support to make sure your plans are successful.
Ultimately, you need to shift your mindset if your business can get past the idea that DX is just driven by technology. The companies I have helped implement a successful DX strategy to become digital enterprises fit to thrive post-pandemic, of course, use technology, but also clearly understand what DX is not.
The connection of technology with people and processes is also ongoing. The key is to start your enterprise's journey with clearly defined goals and the complete support of everyone impacted by the changes you want to make. I can't stress enough how vital this support will be to your DX project. Get this right, and you will successfully transform into a digital enterprise that has used DX to deliver real, tangible and profitable change.