The First Challenges of Digital Transformation Leadership by Niall McKeown

Leaders don’t know whose story to believe.

The first challenges are cutting through the noise and getting to the heart of the matter. The IT sector pretend transformation is all to do with technology (usually the box of tricks they’re selling). They frequently publish blogs and articles to convince you to “transform your business by moving to the cloud”. Most mainstream IT advice will create operational efficiencies at best, but not transform the organisation.

Marketing agencies will tell you that it’s all about ‘innovation’. Design Thinking, Human Centred Design, Sprints, Lean, The Customer Experience Blah Blah Blah.  Europe’s largest airline, Ryanair went from €0 to €5.8B turnover as a digital business having spent €16K on ‘innovation and web design’.  There is more than one way to create competitive advantage; many digital agencies and marketing companies fail to approach digital transformation from a business model perspective.

Management consultants will tell you little unless you’ve paid for it, but what they do say is that if you hire them they’ll fix all of your business problems (maybe) in the ‘digital economy’ and they alone have the best analytics, metrics, methods and people.

All of these services are needed to create new competitive advantage and business growth – but none of them will achieve it alone.  So where to start?

Leaders Need to Upgrade Their Thinking.

They can’t outsource “transformation”.  It’s probably the single biggest challenge of their career.   A digital transformation course is a good starting point for them and their leadership team.

Leaders Need To Start Using  Digital Transformation Frameworks.

Old frameworks were simply ‘how-to lists’, basic guides, a way to frame thinking.  These new frameworks use AI and data to predict the chance of success of a strategy before implementing.  They guide business models, spot market opportunity, measure competitors strengths and weaknesses empirically and much more. To not use a modern framework to create a modern strategy is like using a paper map when you’ve Google Maps on your phone.

Leaders Need to Avoid Falling into the Trap of Digitisation

Those simply ‘doing digital’ (building websites and focusing on social media engagement) and expecting to grow are doomed. Those adopting new technologies when facing competitive forces will survive. Those that innovate by leveraging technologies that maximise their existing market position will thrive.

 

This article was originally posted on the Ionology blog and is posted in partnership with The Business Transformation Network.

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Niall McKeown is CEO/Founder of Ionology.

Ionology supports Leaders taking their organisation through Digital Transformation. We run digital transformation courses, provide advisory services and supply supporting technology.