Three Fatal Oversights in Digital Transformation

We’ve talked at length about what not to do when it comes to digital transformation approaches, because we simply have witnessed too many failed projects that end up in our hands for fixing. The crazy thing is, no matter how much digital transformation is talked about or who is the one going through it, all companies are at risk of getting it wrong, and for reasons we list constantly in our work. Here we have the cases of three huge companies that are global, have all the resources (time, money, human capital) to make this type of project a priority, but nonetheless, their digital transformation journeys came to a crashing halt as their goals were not met. How did this happen? Well, they made three rookie mistakes: 

  1. Focusing on size: we’ve all heard it since we were young: “it’s about quality, not quantity.” Yet, many of us fall for this mistake in different instances of our lives, because we get caught up in the moment thinking that there is strength in numbers (which there is), without taking into account that not all roads lead to the same outcome. For example, hiring 25 entry-level people instead of five managerial professionals might be more cost-effective and will include more hands on board, but those 25 people will have to be trained more, they will make more mistakes along the way, and there’s a higher likelihood of turnover within that group because of demographics. Who is guilty of doing this? Besides all of us, giant electronics company GE. Their digital transformation project failed as they tried to create a new digital business unit, but they focused on size and not on quality. 
  2. Silos: one of the most widely mentioned issues that companies claim to have are silos. How do you get things accomplished when everyone you need on board with a project are in different departments that don’t have a clear view of what/how/when the other does? It’s nearly impossible. If everyone is having the same issue, shouldn’t there be an easy solution for it? Yes: technology. Through approaches like shared services and other platforms and systems, you can connect your teams with purpose and ensure that they’re accomplishing what they set out to do. Who is the guilty company in this case? Ford. The automotive giant started a new digital service that was separated from the rest of the company. Whatever happened to assembly lines and integration? It happens to the best of us. Maybe they were trying the initiative with a core focus group to move on from that and widen the digital transformation efforts in phases (which we’ve mentioned why it doesn’t work). Maybe it was recommended to them because of the sheer size and scale of their company. Who knows? The fact is that it failed, and we all need to be reminded of the dangers of silos constantly so that we don’t let them ruin more initiatives, especially those of digital transformation journeys. 
  3. Forgetting the competition: one of the biggest advantages of today is that with social media and the Internet in general, the information of competitors’ is always just a click away. Many companies go to market with a product or service that they consider great and unmatched by others. This may well be true, but just because things are that way today, it doesn’t mean they’ll stay like that forever. You need to keep a constant eye on your competition to make sure your offering is still clearly differentiated and it’s clear why yours is better, and you need to ensure that the competitors are not taking over market share space that you have access to. The guilty as charged? Procter & Gamble. The P&G gamma of products covers multiple spaces and needs, but they are in a highly contended sector, up against equally big players. Forgetting about the competition can mean completely losing out on opportunities, losing market share, getting left behind in the race, and ultimately losing customers. This is one of the most fatal errors companies make when they digitally transform without taking into account what others are offering. 

The main issues that all of these companies probably faced was poor planning due to lack of good advisors that could steer them in the right direction and remind them why they needed to keep these mistakes in mind so that they wouldn’t be part of the failed digital transformation statistic. Because of our decades of experience, we have all of the tools in place to prevent issues like the aforementioned slipping through the cracks, and they’re an intricate part of the strategy we build for your company’s needs. If you’re ready to talk digital transformation and ways to do it right, contact us.