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Why Digital Transformation Is Not About Technology

Digital transformation is not about technology

Digital transformation is not about technology. 

Harvard Business Review stated this loud and proud back in March, reporting that of the $1.3 trillion that was spent on digital transformation in 2018, $900 billion went to waste. 

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Why? “Fundamentally, it’s because most digital technologies provide possibilities for efficiency gains and customer intimacy,” HBR says. 

“But if people lack the right mindset to change and the current organizational practices are flawed, DT will simply magnify those flaws.”

Why digital transformation is not about technology

When enterprises spend millions on shiny new platforms or apps, which fail to get traction or sustain momentum, they are not succeeding at digital transformation. Technology has been invested in and rolled out, but ROI is poor.

This is because digital transformation is not about technology — not by itself anyway.

However, it’s more common than you might think, for enterprises to invest in technology without considering how that technology is going to become an invaluable asset to the business.

Simply “switching it on” does not transform an organization into a digital-first business

3 things you must consider for successful digital transformation

1. People

Digital transformation is not about technology, it’s about people. After all, it’s people that have to use the technology. 

And since people are the backbone of any business, it follows that people should be your number one focus throughout any digital initiative. 

There’s a number of things your people need to be ready for digital transformation:

  • A digitally dextrous culture
  • Training
  • A good user experience 

Digital dexterity and a willingness to embrace change doesn’t happen just like that. It may take a company wide internal rebrand and strategic reevaluation of business values, even structure.

Training and upskilling is an essential part of digital transformation. How are your people expected to evolve and embrace a digital mindset without the skills and experience to give them confidence?

Ultimately, what your people need when it comes to introducing new technology into their lives is a good user experience. Technology needs to be as easy as possible for them to use — and not from a design perspective, from their perspective.

(source: American Press Institute)

2. Change management 

Change management is the process of preparing, equipping, and supporting individuals to adopt a change in order to achieve organizational success and desired outcomes.

So of course it’s a huge part of digital transformation.

When it comes to digital transformation, enterprises must take a human-focused approach and overcome barriers like resistance to change and weak communication.

In fact, John Chambers, Cisco Exec Chairman, believes that 4 in 10 businesses will die in less than a decade, unless they change their company’s DNA to embrace new technologies.

“If the delivery of the change process does not include a clear understanding of the implementation mechanism, a communications plan, marketing effort, incentives for change and a project focus, then the effort is likely to fail”


Business leaders responsible for digital transformation would do well to borrow principles and frameworks from change management, like Kotter’s 8 step process.

3. Adoption

Digital transformation is not about technology, it’s about technology adoption. Digital adoption is the bridge that connects technology with it users in a harmonious relationship, unlocking its benefits; such as:

  • Increased productivity
  • Automation of tasks
  • Fewer human errors

In fact, digital adoption solutions has recently been officially recognized by Gartner as a new category of technology — and one of which all enterprises should be aware.

The solution: Digital Adoption Platform

A Digital Adoption Platform solves the issue of user experience, training, and adoption in one neat piece of software, making digital transformation not only achievable but rapid.

The DAP, pioneered by WalkMe, provides smart guidance, engagement, automation, and insights capability, driving users to adopt digital systems. 

A complete, end-to-end digital adoption solution, the DAP has the following features:

  • Supports desktop, mobile, and web applications
  • No coding or R&D needed
  • Powered by advanced AI
  • Detailed user behavior analytics
  • Intuitive experience Editor with simple user interface
  • Enterprise-grade security
  • Platform agnostic, integrating with key software

We’ve learned that digital transformation is not about technology. It’s about people, change management, and successful digital adoption. 

So don’t make the same mistake as so many enterprises before you have; recognize that digital transformation needs more than just technology to work. Take our advice. And take HBR’s advice to:

  1. Figure out your business strategy before you invest in anything.
  2. Leverage insiders.
  3. Design customer experience from the outside in. 
  4. Recognize employees’ fear of being replaced. 
  5. Bring Silicon Valley start-up culture inside. 

Good luck!

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Digital Adoption Team

A wonderful team of Digital Adoption, Digital Transformation & Change Management Experts.