Digital Transformation Dos and Don'ts

10 Digital Transformation Dos and Don’ts: A Change Manager’s Guide

This list of digital transformation dos and don’ts will help you know what to avoid and what to fix.

Top 10 Digital Transformation Dos and Don’ts

Below are 5 digital transformation dos and don’ts…

Don’t…

Let’s start with things to avoid.

1. Don’t lose sight of people.

People should remain the focus of digital transformation programs.

Yes, it’s true that digital transformation is driven by technology. 

However, people themselves run companies, operate technology, and innovate.

In short, they run businesses. 

Today’s most successful companies – from Amazon to Apple – know this. 

Their user- and customer-centric approaches should serve as models to follow.

When designing your vision for change, make sure that people remain in the spotlight.

2. Ignore the promise of new technologies.

Don’t make the mistake of following the herd.

If you adopt “just enough” technology to get by, then that’s exactly what you’ll do … get by.

Successful digital transformation requires innovation, which means:

  • Dedicating time, resources, and energy to innovative activities
  • Opening up the floor to new ideas from anyone and everyone
  • Altering your culture to be more open and innovative

Being too hesitant when it comes to digital transformation can hamper ROI and market position.

3. Forget to integrate technology into your change programs themselves.

Digital transformation can aim at technology adoption, cultural transformations, and more.

However, don’t forget that your change efforts can also use a technology injection.

For instance:

  • Data can be used to analyze and improve project performance
  • Project management tools, HR tools, and similar software can make it easier to manage change
  • Digital adoption platforms can streamline employee training and onboarding

There are plenty of other ways to improve your change efforts via technology – the only limit is your imagination.

4. Have imbalanced change teams.

In digital transformation, make sure you balance job roles.

That is, include experts in:

  • Digital technology – such as IT specialists, the CIO, or third-party vendors
  • Management – such as change managers, HR personnel, and senior and middle managers
  • Executives – such as the CEO, CIO, and other pertinent executives

To have the most balanced viewpoints, enable total participation.

Well-balanced change teams will help your projects in several ways:

  • Total participation helps employees feel heard, reducing frustration and resistance
  • More viewpoints means more ideas and innovations
  • Support from the top – and the bottom – will increase your chances of success

In short, the more people who have a hand in the change project, the more support it will get. 

And the more talent you have, the more expertise you will have access to.

5. Neglect your roots.

Change management is a well-established discipline with time-tested methods.

There are plenty of new ideas, frameworks, and methods to take advantage of.

We have:

  • Data-driven change management methods, such as predictive modeling
  • Agile and lean change management
  • Countless new digital tools and platforms

All of these tools offer us many advantages and new techniques.

But that doesn’t mean we should completely abandon change management.

Instead, use these innovations to augment your human-driven change efforts.

A hybrid approach like this can keep you focused on what matters – while still improving project results.

Do…

Now that we’ve covered some digital transformation don’ts, let’s look at a few do’s.

1. Communicate your change project goals clearly.

Digital transformation can intimidate many workers, especially if it involves automation.

People can feel threatened by some digital technology, such as AI and RPA.

Even if their job tasks aren’t threatened, information overload can cause frustration.

To avoid burnout and prevent fear:

  • Communicate your change goals early on
  • Anticipate resistance and nip it in the bud – sell the benefits of your change program
  • Don’t just explain what you’re doing, but also why you’re doing it

For these reasons, among others, it’s important to have a solid communication plan with clear goals.

2. Prioritize the employee experience.

As change managers know, the employee experience can have big impacts on change results.

Improving that experience can have a few benefits, such as:

  • Maximizing employee engagement
  • Helping employees elevate their careers
  • Train, educate, and improve employee skills

Employees who benefit from change will offer more support.

They will also be more loyal to the organization and contribute to a happier work environment.

3. Stay focused on strategic goals.

It’s important to balance the strategic imperative with the focus on people.

At all times, organizational strategy should take the front seat.

An organization adopting new technology should stay focused on the technology’s ROI.

It may be tempting to pursue tertiary goals, such as workflow improvements.

However, remember that the strategic aims take precedence. 

Unless explicitly supported by executives, it is probably best to avoid scope creep – especially if diverted resources threaten the primary aims.

4. Take advantage of cutting-edge technologies.

The intersection of new technologies represents a great opportunity.

The right use of these innovations can offer a significant competitive edge.

Today, these technologies include:

  • AI
  • Automation, such as RPA
  • New and emerging technology stacks, such as MarTech and FinTech

Among others.

The right combination of technologies – and the full digital adoption of those technologies – can push companies ahead of the curve.

They can also help improve digital transformation initiatives themselves, as mentioned above.

5. Fully exploit the technology at your disposal.

A study on AI in B2B marketing found that over 40% of its the study’s participants either:

  • Weren’t aware of the AI capabilities in their stack
  • Or simply weren’t using them

This is understandable, given the overwhelming complexity of today’s technology toolboxes.

Just keeping up with the pace of change is daunting, to say the least.

However, full digital adoption of new technologies can dramatically increase digital transformation ROI.

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