When you hear the words 'business transformation' do you switch off and think "here we go again, another tech project"?
It seems that's what most people conclude when being told that there's a business transformation project taking place.
For me it's not the word 'transformation' that I've got issues with, it's not even the word 'digital' albeit that is an irritant. Its' the word 'project' because it tells me it's another flavour of the month widget, gadget or gizmo someone has managed to convince the leadership team that 'will transform your business'.
The term ‘transformation’ in itself means to make a change and though change is incredibly valuable, there needs to be a concrete understanding as to what the outcome from that change should be.
In my experience when the perception of 'transformational change' is all about technology, tools, gadgets and gizmo's, which is where most of these projects tend to fail.
We often hear people say 'we got the tools and not a lot changed' - as Tim Hughes CEO and Founder of DLA Ignite often says 'A fool with a tool is still a Fool'.
Any sustainable transformational change is driven by 'people', they either act as 'enablers' or blockers, the technology (whilst complex) is merely part of the enablement process.
I often mention and refer to the term 'Change Maker' within companies. More often than not these are the 'go to' people that the board select to drive through key initiatives.
So when I saw a recent post about companies creating shadow boards made up of your more agile and digitally aware people I thought it would be a great way to bring real innovative thinking and well needed challenges into the main board room.
A lot of companies struggle with two apparently unrelated problems: disengaged younger workers and a weak response to changing market conditions. A few companies have tackled both problems at the same time by creating a “shadow board” — a group of non-executive employees that works with senior executives on strategic initiatives. The purpose? To leverage the younger groups’ insights and to diversify the perspectives that executives are exposed to.
How cool would that be?
These are the guys and girls who know nothing other than a digital world, they grew up using technology and its now no different to them as electricity is to all of us.
To be fair, in my experience the majority of people who sit at the C-Suite table have probably come through a 'change maker' journey themselves, and now they lead, direct, mentor and assist junior 'change makers' (future C-Suite's) to assist them in delivering transformational change.
However due to the dynamic and ever changing nature of the digital landscape most of the C-Suite are now sat some way behind the digital learning curve and rely very heavily on the up and coming 'change makers'.
If you add into this the lack of constant learning and awareness from external change by the C-Suite, you end up with iterative innovation and an internalised board room echo view of the world, with the company and employees continuing to do what they have always done.
It's a 'holistic' world for consumers, so all companies have to think 'holistically' or die.
“ABI Research forecasts total e-commerce revenue of US$3.52 trillion in 2020, growing Year-over-Year (YoY) at nearly 19%."
The above from a piece of recent research around the potential future for eCommerce is predicting some stellar growth, perhaps at the cost of profit in order they invest to remain ahead of the competitive landscape. A significant part of that pressure today is coming faster than anytime in the history of the commercial internet we have come to know.
Many years ago when eCommerce was in its infancy we took our lead from the west, in particular from the good old US of A......but no more!
We have become used to all the effort and investment to drive 'traffic' towards our eCommerce websites.....but no more!
Finally, and just to drive the point home even further - Singles Day in China for 2021 will surpass not only all of the U.S. retail holidays (Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday), but 2019’s record-setting US$38.4 billion for Alibaba alone, at a 26% increase YoY.
If you and your company would like to explore how I might help you better understand these changes, along with ideas to help mitigate risk then by all means drop me a DM.
Regardless of size, any business can implement a successful digital transformation initiative – one that will see a seamless employee and end-user experience follow in its wake.