Digital transformation myths and realities

Digital Transformation Myths and Realities To Focus Your Mind & Give You Direction

The fact that you’re searching for digital transformation myths and realities indicates that you’re already aware of the rumours and misunderstandings surrounding digital.

Probably the biggest myth that we come across is the claim that digital transformation is all about technology. This is a myth we debunked recently in our article, Why Digital Transformation Is Not About Technology.

But there are plenty more digital transformation myths and realities circulating, so we’re going to cover some more of them today.

4 digital transformation myths and realities

1. Digital transformation is about using more technology 

Many organizations would look at the process of digital transformation and assume it requires more technology to be effective. This is not necessarily the case. 

Digital transformation is often defined as “the novel use of digital technology to solve traditional problems. These digital solutions enable new types of innovation and creativity, rather than simply enhance and support traditional methods.” 

It’s about the use of digital technology. This does not mean using more technology or using newer technology. Put simply, digital transformation is about moving digital to the heart of your business and leveraging it by using it effectively. 

This is where digital adoption comes in. An organization might use only a handful of digital tools, but if users adopt those tech platforms fully, that organization is more successful in digital transformation than an organization using 200 applications poorly.

2. Digital transformation leverages emerging technology

One of the most common digital transformation myths and realities is that it’s all about emerging technology — but in fact, Stephen J. Andriole, writing in MIT Sloan Management Review, succinctly debunks this myth. 

Using Uber and Airbnb as his examples, he makes the point that these digitally-forward businesses leveraged mainstream technology to become successful. 

While emerging technologies have abetted Uber and Airbnb’s rises to prominence, their most significant gains have come from leveraging the mainstream networking technologies already in consumers’ hands: mobile phones, apps, and websites optimized for quick transactions and location tracking.

He goes on to say that, as obvious as that point may seem, many leaders ignore it. 

[The majority of business leaders] think they have to be positioned to pounce on the next wave of emerging technology, when that next wave is often difficult to predict and is, by definition, not yet conventional enough to produce a major impact.

3. Winning requires bold investment in transformation

It turns out that this isn’t a myth after all; success really does require a bold investment. And there is a clear, positive ROI for businesses that take the plunge, with a greater percentage of revenue growth the greater the digital investment (source: 2016 McKinsey Digital Survey).  

However, organizations should be strategic and selective about their technology investments, and prioritise digital adoption if they want to guarantee safe return on implementation.   

4. CEOs must lead digital transformation 

We hear all the time that CEOs should lead from the top down when it comes to digital transformation — but in fact, there’s evidence to suggest that it’s better if the senior support is from someone other than the CEO.

CIO is the preferred choice when it comes to digital transformation leadership and there’s a greater chance of success with the CIO spearheading it than if it were the CMO or CEO.

Ultimately though, what business leaders need to understand is that digital transformation is a team effort. Everyone must pull together and fully commit to taking it happen. 

Key takeaways

The key learnings to take away from these four digital transformation myths and realities are:

  • Digital transformation is about leveraging technology and moving digital to the heart of your business.
  • But we’re not necessarily talking about emerging or disruptive technology. In fact, understanding how to use mainstream technology effectively is an essential first step.
  • This is the process of digital adoption, which has been made a lot easier since the arrival of digital adoption solutions. 
  • Digital transformation requires bold but strategic investment in order to work. It also takes teamwork and dedication to sustain. 

Digital transformation is a complex and ever-evolving process, and there are no quick fixes. But one thing we can all agree on is that it takes smart recognition of available tools and resources. 

When technology is an asset, there’s no doubt that it drives better business. And to turn your digital tools into assets, you need digital adoption solutions like WalkMe’s Digital Adoption Platform.  

That’s one smart technology investment that will prove transformational for the ROI of all your digital tools.

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