Digital Transformation: Is it all just hype and no substance?

Every Management Consultant in the world is talking about Digital Transformation. As a technology enthusiast, it is exciting that the technology has become so mainstream that it is now impossible to ignore. As Gojko Adzic once said “Congratulations. Technology has taken over the world”. But with the excitement, comes the hype.

I have been on LinkedIn everyday for nearly a year. I have read many articles about Digital Transformation and Digital Disruption that have left me a little empty.

Many of them talk about what it is, how complex it is and that you need to start thinking about it or your business will die. But they offer NOTHING on the practicalities of how you CAN do it.

Many of them talk about the complex new technologies such as Blockchain, Machine Learning, Big Data, Internet of Things, Quantum Computing and ideas such as Agile, DevOps will change the world but NOTHING on how they might translate into opportunities and threats to your business.

Many of them talk about people and cultural change but NOTHING on what it takes to create an organization which truly does put people at its core.

You’d be right in questioning whether these people actually do know what they are talking about. That’s because many of these “experts” have no track record of this type of transformation. In fact, many of them have have made their money in the last 10 years from the type of cost-control strategies which kill the vision, innovation, and culture which is at the very core of what digital transformation is about. So now, when they say that they can help you to create new ways of doing business, implement new strategies via new technologies, energise your workforce, you would be forgiven for not believing them.

Of course Digital Transformation is first and foremost about Strategy and Business Models but to state that it is “About Strategy and not about the Technology” is just misleading, confusing and agenda driven. How can you possibly build a product or service if you don’t understand the materials? In a “Customer First” digital world, consultants should be communicating with directness and simplicity and this sort of talk sends us down the route of the politicians and economists, who can make the even most simple ideas sound complex.

Buzzword bingo doesn’t make you look more intelligent. In fact, it does quite the opposite. I believe that all communication should be direct, effective and geared to its audience. In this next series of articles, I aim to cut through the hype and talk about Digital Transformation in terms that everyone can understand.

Article 1: What is Digital Transformation really about?

Starting with a simple and clear definition that everyone can understand, I will explain:

  • Why is this significant for your business?
  • How is the world changing?
  • The difference between digital transformation and a digital change initiative
  • How to spot the companies who are doing digital transformation and the ones who are doing digital change projects.
  • Some real world case studies on companies that have digitally transformed

Article 2: What are digital disruptors doing differently?

  • What is a disruptor?
  • Where did these disruptors come from?
  • Why are they so different?
  • What opportunities and threats does this present?
  • Why are they a danger to my business?

Article 3: What can I do NOW to disrupt or protect my business against disruption?

  • How do I know whether I am being disrupted?
  • What can I do about it today?
  • The importance of change management, people and culture
  • The importance of your brand and how digital can enhance this

Article 4: Case Study: Disrupting Management Consulting

Taking a real world industry example, we will break down how it might be disrupted:

  • Why Management Consulting is ripe for disruption
  • The Consulting Model paradox
  • Growth mindset vs Cost Cutting, Collaboration vs Competition
  • Rethinking consulting – a vision for different kind of consulting

If you have any other topics you would like me to cover, I’d be happy to hear some further ideas.