Thursday, August 10, 2017

Making the Hard Decisions in Digital Transformation

How can an organization with decades worth of accumulated ERP customizations and configurations, IT systems and customized software applications digitally transform fast enough to keep up with the rapidly changing behaviors of digital customers? That is a hard question most organizations are wrestling with today.  Often complex custom IT environments served a purpose in a past era, but today where IT speed and agility are required, they serve as anchors restraining an organization from moving forward and digitally transforming fast enough to compete.

Like a CEO that closes down or sells a profitable business unit because it no longer fits with where the organization is going, CTOs and CIOs must rapidly shut down or replace IT systems and processes that no longer support the reality of today, or the vision of the future based on the best information available today - not yesterday. Keeping an outdated IT system or business process for the purpose of achieving a positive return on the original investment is a strategy based on pride, not logic.

We can only make decisions and act on the best information available at a given point in time.  When the future evolves in unexpected ways, we should not hold to our outdated plans and decisions based on an interpretation of the future that was not realized.  Rather, we need to recognize that our best data about today identifies a different set of needs and strategies and then we must act.  Trying to compete and win with strategies, processes and IT systems designed for a interpretation of the future that did not happen is never going to succeed.

Philosophically, we should never punish a leadership team that acted on the best information available at a point and time.  We should only punish a leadership team that doesn't.  We need to act on new data, and reward leadership willing to do so.

If we as leaders see our organization losing ground to faster and more nimbler competitors, and unable to keep up with the fast changing needs of digital customers, then we need to be taking inventory of our systems and processes and replacing all that restrain us.

Our human resources must also change to succeed in evolving markets.  We must help our employees recognize how the labor market is changing, what skills will be more or less valuable, and help them make the transition.  We have a leadership obligation to our employees (not just to our shareholders) to operate a company that can compete globally.  We need to help our employees upgrade and become the valuable assets we need to compete.  Pining for a past age and business environment doesn't prepare us to compete in the future, rather it guarantees we will not participate in it.

Read more from Kevin Benedict and the Center for Digital Intelligence™ here:

  1. The Center for Digital Intelligence Interview Series: Hitachi's Rob Tiffany on Industrial IoT Platforms
  2. Digital Transformation and the New Rules for Start-Ups
  3. Digital Transformation and Leadership Development
  4. Digital Transformation and Competitive Decision-Making
  5. Combinatorial Nature of Digital Technologies and Legos
  6. Digital Transformation from 40,000 feet
  7. Winning in Chaos - Digital Leaders
  8. 13 Recommended Actions for Digital Transformation in Retail
  9. Mistakes in Retail Digital Transformation
  10. Winning Strategies for the Fourth Industrial Revolution
  11. Digital Transformation - Mindset Differences
  12. Analyzing Retail Through Digital Lenses
  13. Digital Thinking and Beyond!
  14. Measuring the Pace of Change in the Fourth Industrial Revolution
  15. How Digital Thinking Separates Retail Leaders from Laggards
  16. To Bot, or Not to Bot
  17. Oils, Bots, AI and Clogged Arteries
  18. Artificial Intelligence Out of Doors in the Kingdom of Robots
  19. How Digital Leaders are Different
  20. The Three Tsunamis of Digital Transformation - Be Prepared!
  21. Bots, AI and the Next 40 Months
  22. You Only Have 40 Months to Digitally Transform
  23. Digital Technologies and the Greater Good
  24. Video Report: 40 Months of Hyper-Digital Transformation
  25. Report: 40 Months of Hyper-Digital Transformation
  26. Virtual Moves to Real in with Sensors and Digital Transformation
  27. Technology Must Disappear in 2017
  28. Merging Humans with AI and Machine Learning Systems
  29. In Defense of the Human Experience in a Digital World
  30. Profits that Kill in the Age of Digital Transformation
  31. Competing in Future Time and Digital Transformation
  32. Digital Hope and Redemption in the Digital Age
  33. Digital Transformation and the Role of Faster
  34. Digital Transformation and the Law of Thermodynamics
  35. Jettison the Heavy Baggage and Digitally Transform
  36. Digital Transformation - The Dark Side
  37. Business is Not as Usual in Digital Transformation
  38. 15 Rules for Winning in Digital Transformation
  39. The End Goal of Digital Transformation
  40. Digital Transformation and the Ignorance Penalty
  41. Surviving the Three Ages of Digital Transformation
  42. The Advantages of an Advantage in Digital Transformation
  43. From Digital to Hyper-Transformation
  44. Believers, Non-Believers and Digital Transformation
  45. Forces Driving the Digital Transformation Era
  46. Digital Transformation Requires Agility and Energy Measurement
  47. A Doctrine for Digital Transformation is Required
  48. Digital Transformation and Its Role in Mobility and Competition
  49. Digital Transformation - A Revolution in Precision Through IoT, Analytics and Mobility
  50. Competing in Digital Transformation and Mobility
  51. Ambiguity and Digital Transformation
  52. Digital Transformation and Mobility - Macro-Forces and Timing
  53. Mobile and IoT Technologies are Inside the Curve of Human Time
Kevin Benedict
President, Principal Analyst, Futurist, the Center for Digital Intelligence™
View my profile on LinkedIn
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Subscribe to Kevin's YouTube Channel
Join the Linkedin Group Strategic Enterprise Technologies
Join the Google+ Community Mobile Enterprise Strategies

***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.