Digital transformation work for organizations where leaders focus on changing the mindset of the organizational culture and processes before they decide what digital tools to use and how to use them.

Below are a few things to keep in mind when going through digital transformations:

1) Figure out your business strategy before you invest in anything new. Digital transformation should be guided by the broader business strategy, and there is no single technology that will deliver "speed" or "innovation" as such. The best combination of tools for a given organization will vary from one vision to another.

2) Leverage insiders. Don't rely on an army of outside consultants who tend to apply one-size-fits-all solutions in the name of "best practices." Instead, leverage staff who have intimate knowledge about what works and what doesn't in their daily environment, and ensure whatever is implemented meets their requirements.

3) Bring Silicon Valley start-up culture inside. Adopt agile decision making, rapid prototyping, and flat structures. The process of digital transformation is inherently uncertain and changes need to be made and then adjusted again; decisions need to be made quickly; and groups from all over the organization need to get involved. As a result, traditional hierarchies get in the way, so it's best to adopt a flat organizational structure that's kept somewhat separate from the rest of the organization.

Digital technologies provide leaders with the right mindset with an incredible possibility to gain efficiencies and get close to customers, if, leaders can also change organizational culture and behaviors. If not, adopting new technologies may be a massive waste of resources and make things worse rather than better.


Inspired by: Harvard Business Review - Digital Transformation Is Not About Technology, by Behnam Tabrizi, Ed Lam, Kirk Girard, and Vernon Irvin