To succeed in digital, you must succeed in change

Recently, Harvard Business Review Analytic Services polled 376 companies with more than a thousand employees, about their digital transformation efforts and whether they had bared fruit.

Surprisingly, just a third of companies said they had made ‘significant positive business outcomes’ from their use of digital. The rest are still striving to get there.

Those that had managed to turn digital into a commercial success, usually end up increasing market share and expanding to new markets by launching new products, creating new business models, utilising assets better, and reducing costs.

But behind all of this is a simple fact – they were willing to change and adapt. Leaders don’t have a risk-averse culture, have a clear vision for digital transformation, and most importantly, have change management capabilities.

The main obstacles, especially those faced by the ‘strivers’, include the inability to experiment quickly enough (55 per cent), organisational silos (52 per cent), and legacy systems (52 per cent). The latter was also cited as major obstacles for 50 per cent of the leaders, as well.

“This study underscores how digital transformation is not challenging because it is about technology – but rather that it is challenging because it is about change,” said Alex Clemente, managing director, Harvard Business Review Analytic Services.

“This is testimony to the importance of a strong and agile corporate culture with a vision that works though common obstacles like legacy technology systems. So that, in combination with focusing on the end customer experience, is helping digital leaders achieve their desired business outcomes.”