Digital Transformation Failure Is Not An Option

It is customary to say that failure is not an option. Much as I’d like it to be true, one has to admit that this is not what we observe in the field. Strangely enough, touting that you have succeeded with your digital transformation efforts even seems to be an international sport. Not so long ago, I was browsing my LinkedIn timeline and I spotted something worthy of note.

Digital transformation failure is not an option

The LinkedIn post was from someone working for a very large international bank. Nothing wrong with that. This is a very honourable banking institution and I’m not quite the “Occupy Wall Street” sort of person, I do believe that banks have a role to play and even though I’m not in sync with the scandals that arose with the 2008 crisis, I really cannot imagine hiding wads of bank notes underneath my mattress.
Digital Transformation failure is not an option
That said, the Linkedin message was quite something. It stated that

” xxx [name of the top man] had written his first ever piece of PHP code!” and it added that “this [was] the proof that the Bank was digitally transformed.”

No kidding.
It’s almost laughable, but at the same time, I am quite sure that there are people — be it in banks or elsewhere — who believe firmly in the fact that

a) A multi-billion dollar top executive should start learning coding and PHP of all languages
b) Having just written a line of that venerable code (even though not a trending topic anymore) is sufficient to transform a very old and respectable banking institution into a maverick fintech startup.

Success and failure are sometimes hard to measure – in digital transformation too

“One man’s nightmare is another man’s dream” Rupert Hine was singing but still, the proof of the pudding of digital transformation is in eating the pudding. And if you want to understand innovation, you will have to get to grips with the history of innovation, which as Berkun stated in his book, no one gets properly.
In the following piece by Cyril Bladier, written for the digital transformation horror museum of our client iRevolution [disclosure], one understands that, and also the fact that digital transformation failure is not a technology issue. A fact that should always be remembered.

How to guarantee a digital transformation failure

The words ‘digital transformation’ are the trendy buzzwords that people put in their special sauce to ensure the success of every article, course and conference they are involved with. Everyone is doing it, but decision makers seem lost when they have to try to tackle the subject for their own organization.Transformation = BreakpointAs Yahya El Mir, co-founder of IRevolution, says: “transformation is a breakpoint” (link to the KEYNOTE ticket). To embark on a transformation and end up reproducing the same processes or the same ideas will undoubtedly lead to the same results.
This is one of the reasons why businesses need a digital transformation specialist to guide the non-specialists (but specialists in their industry) as they rethink their organization and operations.A little bit of historyWhen we look at what has happened in recent years and we look more closely at companies that have been successful in transforming themselves or even transforming their industry, the greatest success comes from those who have managed to think differently. These are organizations that have not necessarily brought with them a technological breakthrough.

Source: How to guarantee a digital transformation failure

Yann Gourvennec
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