Digital transformation is necessary to stay competitive in today’s’ quickly changing enterprise software landscape. Customer preferences are changing rapidly and customer-facing and business-critical applications need to quickly evolve to meet that demand. So, basically, these transformations are here to stay. As a consequence, the topic of digital transformation pitfalls has become a genre of its own. But this is not because of general morbid curiosity. It is due to these sobering facts:
- 54% say their organizations will fail if they don’t transform.
- 84% of companies have failed in a digital transformation initiative.
- Only 8% of executives believe they have completed their digital transformation.
There are still a lot of opportunities to examine these failures and grow from them. This addition to the canon of digital transformation pitfalls will look at three mistakes that are often overlooked – and what can be learned from them so you can be a more nimble organization.
1) Focusing on the technology in front of you and not preparing for the technology to come
Digital transformation is inherently fluid. For example, large enterprises now onboard more than 6 new SaaS applications per month. While technology adoption fuels digital transformation and propels the rate of organizational change, the new technology in your hands is less than half the story. It is hard to succeed with a digital transformation strategy that starts and stops with this UX enhancement, that IoT technology, or this SAP implementation.
Here’s why: there will be an ERP upgrade around the corner, a more effective AI next year, and your customers will be looking for your VR integrations this summer. While that is a little hyperbolic, it is not far off. The life cycle of technologies is getting shorter and shorter.
Shifting Your Mindset Is the Key
The key is to shift your mindset, architecture, and processes to a state of readiness. A narrow view of digital transformation as a single event or implementation will leave your business constantly scrambling to keep up. Digital transformations are about processes and people as much as they are about technology How does an organization achieve “readiness”? This is where the ABCs of digital transformation can help:
- CoE: A Center of Excellence is a think tank and library for all the artifacts of expertise: research, best practices, support, ideas. They are built around a critical business process, technology, strategic objective, or organizational value. They work to centralize information and standardize processes as an organization continues to transform.
- OCM: Organizational change management is a strategy for navigating the people side of digital transformations. More broadly OCM is also a discipline with the attendant research, frameworks, and experts. Some organizations will build a team or CoE around OCM so it becomes a part of organizational DNA.
- SME: Not to be confused with small and medium enterprises, here we are talking about subject matter experts. SMEs are the employees most knowledgeable about a product or process. They are the place to start for defining the business problems that propel digital transformations, as well as key players in crafting and validating solutions. If your digital transformation initiative doesn’t make sense to your SMEs, you may be off the mark.
- DAP/DAS: Digital adoption platforms or solutions bring together the efforts of the above acronyms to create contextual learning experiences for technology end users. They capture and disseminate new information and processes as they engage and upskill end users. This accelerates achieving the ROI of digital transformation.
Matching Culture With Technology
Each organization will find a different arrangement of these that fits their needs and strategies. But the common objective is to match the culture with the technology to create a more symbiotic and sustainable relationship. The key results are several organizational shifts: Each organization will find a different arrangement of these that fits their needs and strategies. But the common objective is to match the culture with the technology to create a more symbiotic and sustainable relationship. The key results are several organizational shifts:
- From project to process
- From competency to continuous improvement
- From stoically making it through the present to eagerly anticipating – even creating – the future
2) Oversimplifying internal resistance to organizational change
Change is not easy. It is, at first, inefficient. Regardless, it’s a necessity. These are simple statements most of us can agree are true about change. Resistance to change, however, is more nuanced. Because here we are talking about an emotional response, which is, of course, complicated. Many enterprises face internal resistance to organizational change and digital transformation. But if addressing that issue means simply chalking it up to “people hate change,” it can cost you money.
How resistance to change impacts the success and ROI of digital transformation initiatives
While it is easier for a business to say “my way or the highway” to their employees when it comes to digital transformation, there can be real consequences to the bottom line:
- When employees take the proffered highway onramp, those positions will need to be filled. It costs an average of 6 months’ salary to onboard a new hire. And during a transformation that can also lead to other costly delays in your projects.
- Those who resist digital transformation by reluctantly or half-heartedly adopting the new enterprise software will slow the time-to-productivity, the realization of technology’s full capabilities, and the ROI of an implementation.
- This resistant posture doesn’t improve on its own over time. Future digital transformation initiatives will also suffer its consequences, diminishing a business’s overall agility.
A closer look at what is behind the resistance to digital transformation and digital adoption
So how do you cure this common illness of digital transformations? Understand where it comes from. In the same way businesses delve into the psychology of their customers when designing their user experience, they can get to know what makes an optimal employee experience. When it comes to digital transformation, employees might resist because:
- They fear they are being automated out of a job.
- They are anxious the new system will complicate their already complex role.
- They helped to create the current processes and feel left out of the creation of the new ones.
- They worry they will not get the support they need to be successful with the changes.
If your digital transformation is to be successful you will need to address these anxieties with real information and solutions. In the long run, adjusting implementation strategies will cost you less than the alternative.
3) Using outdated training methodologies for new technology
The average large enterprise now has over 1,000 SaaS applications, with a 5.3% increase YoY. In digital transformation initiatives, the regular adoption of enterprise software applications in your organization is imperative. However, traditional training methods are not sufficient or sustainable.
Traditional training methods have multiple shortcomings
The most common training methods don’t match educational best practices and they can’t keep up with the constantly changing, technology-centric content they are trying to communicate.
- One-stop training: The instructor-led training event doesn’t match how people learn. Often it is not hands-on and cannot accommodate the pace and learning style of each person in the training. This type of end-user training also presents logistical challenges. They are hard to coordinate for large or multi-faceted organizations and can be cost-prohibitive.
- Dense user manuals: Whether these learning artifacts are coordinated and propagated with an LMS or not, they easily stagnate and aren’t easily engaged. In order to keep pace with the evolving concepts and processes of digital transformations, they require constant revision and development – but often they sit in an intranet file that few employees utilize.
- Relying on the expert coworker: Sometimes organizations won’t develop or can’t execute a training strategy at all, so the default is to hope at least one member of the team knows what is going on. And that they will have the teaching skill, patience, and free time to get their coworkers up to speed. Of course, as you read that, you know that is unlikely. And yet some organizations, in their lack of a real plan, rely on this approach.
New approaches to end-user training
As organizations embrace the brave new world of digital transformation, successful initiatives explore innovations in end-user training. In order to achieve end user buy-in and the desired ROI, it is essential employees upskill and are empowered to become real stakeholders. Fortunately, new training solutions are developing within the digital transformation space that make this employee evolution possible. For example, the digital adoption platform OnScreen employs a point-of-need learning approach in its SAP training for end-users. It offers step-by-step, in-application tutorials that are simple and specific to the SAP business process at hand. The product also eases the burden on SMEs or CoEs that would otherwise be spending hours on manual development. Instead, SAP super users can easily author and publish a guide for each process in minutes instead of hours. These sorts of solutions help businesses actually keep pace with the speed of today’s digital transformations. Furthermore, this micro-learning approach can be applied throughout an organization on an ongoing basis. Because in the end, improving the digital adoption of all those applications is the crux of a successful digital transformation.
OnScreen is the agile digital adoption platform for SAP and web-based enterprise applications that boosts process efficiency and employee productivity by empowering any user to become a power user. Schedule a demo today.