7 Business Competencies to sustain digital transformation


7 Business Competencies to Sustain Digital Transformation

Congratulations! You have digitally transformed your business…

Now..what next?

Organisations are digitally transforming and will continue to do so for many years to come and your organisation is one of them.  So, what next?  Although the digital technology dimension is important, my personal experience (LB Hounslow Digital Transformation) of successfully driving this suggests that digital transformation is not about technologies as such. It is also not just about the scale and speed at which organisations have been able to leverage these technologies to survive, and disrupt in the digital economy. It is about developing, and valuing core business competencies for the years to come to sustain that digital transformation.

Take a step back…A reminder of the emotions during transformation


Image caption - Digital transformation emotions


People, whatever their level of digital literacy, have been through the personal transition curve (Ref: John Fisher) emotionally and come out in different ways, some exiting the business. But, here is the challenge – they will go through it again and again!  Why, you ask?

Because underneath and after digital transformation are challenges that are far more fundamental to thrive once ‘digital business’ is just business, a ‘digital customer’ is just a customer and ‘digital’ disappears from our vocabulary as it becomes part of a new normal.

Build for change..the new ‘normal’

Change is constant and in reality there is no true normal or equilibrium, it is just a pause and a transient state of less apparent challenges and changes. The fact is that life, the economy, business and people are far less predictable than we would like them to be. Mckinsey’s research on common failures in change programs ‘failure to sustain’ as one of the key failure modes. A digital transformation is exactly that.


Common failures in digital transformation


And herein lies the true opportunity for the organisations going through digital transformation – to further develop the business competencies to:

  • acknowledge the predictable much faster,
  • deal with the unpredictable
  • create the new – temporary – normal of the future and,
  • develop the capacities which are needed for continuous change.

7 competencies to sustain digital transformation

First and foremost, start with yourself. Changing mind-sets for sustainability begins with you! The only mind you can be sure of changing is your own, and the only way that you can demonstrate this mind-set change is through your behaviours. If you aspire for your organization to be faster, more innovative, less afraid of failure, it has to begin by you being faster, more involved in innovation and being willing to be the failure role-model.

A good way to start is to honestly assess where you are and where you want to be based on this simple Capgemini and MIT defined approach to digital evolution.C:\Users\chandiv\Documents\adbl\module 4\Digital%20intensity.jpg


Your Digital Evolution

Among the business competencies to develop to sustain your transformation are:

  1. Innovative capabilities by staying close to evolutions and changes in the business ecosystem, society and obviously the customer.
  2. Understanding of cyber security – Prevention of cyber-crime, data breaches and cyber incidents overall needs far more attention. A survey conducted by Allianz insurance shows that a lack of understanding (48%) of the complexity of the risks involved is cited as the main factor preventing companies from being better prepared to combat cyber threats.  
  3. An incentive and reward scheme that recognises that change and evolution of the business.  People within different types of these businesses will be motivated by different factors and the reward structures need to recognise that evolution. This is subjective, and an illustration of the approach in our business Capacitygrid,  is shown below:

Reward based on digital transformation goals

  1.  An encouragement to fail fast to succeed better – Most employees are consumed by fear, because of the way the performance objectives and employment contracts work. This needs to change to encourage experimentation and pretotyping amongst the relevant teams. We started with a simple survey by asking the question about the constraining factors that hinder their personal enthusiasm to innovate. The top 2 responses were the old style performance reviews and the line manager!
  2. An increased capacity of agility and responsiveness whereby short-term actions can be taken and mid-term to long-term strategies revised based upon real-time evolutions, moving away from fixed three-year or five-year plans.
  3. The habitual use of data analytics to drive decision-making. The leadership needs to use simple visual analytics and disseminate communication using these tools in order that everyone becomes adept.
  4. The ability to better integrate and connect information management excellence, people and business processes, realising that these are two core elements of the activation of technological innovations and all forms of human business interaction and the capacity to be more responsive. 

You choose – make it a part of your DNA or be consigned to history

The real leaders and indeed survivors depict these traits – agility, innovation, customer-centricity, responsiveness, constant optimization, digital maturity and information excellence.

The real leaders and indeed survivors demonstrate these competencies to varying degrees- agility, innovation, customer-centricity, responsiveness, constant optimisation, digital maturity and information excellence.

Even if technologies will continue to evolve and no one really knows how business will look like in 20 years from now, the key question for those who still want to be around after the digital transformation will be how they developed those much needed business competencies

The good old Dilbert (credit: Scott Adams) is a fitting conclusion to my blog:

 About me

I am a COO of Liberata and Capacitygrid, two leading brands delivering business process innovation services and products to the UK public sector. Recently, our business has been on a digital transformation journey to fend off disruptive players and be a disruptor. This blog is a summary of my experience of leading this journey and being a participant. I enjoy sharing my experience and this is my first attempt. I would welcome your comments and indeed talk to you if you need any help in your journey or indeed, share experiences. You may email me on vijay.chandiramani@liberata.com.

Meanwhile, it would be great if you can fill out this survey by clicking the link below – there are only two questions and it will not take more than 1 minute. https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/9PMJJ6B



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John Rudkin 3 Years Ago
Vijay, a very readable and easy to digest blog post that gets to the gritty, often hidden priorities of digital transformation and leadership. "The real leaders and indeed survivors depict these traits – agility, innovation, customer-centricity, responsiveness, constant optimization, digital maturity and information excellence." I'll add the one more that is critical (and it says something about the human aspects (and lessens the tech arguments). That is honesty/trustworthness. I want to be positive, but what I personally have observed is something that will always be a concern... and that is the ability to distract or distort things for personal gain - and that comes from dishonesty and creates a distrust that is damaging to the very pace of transformation possible. I'll post my own piece on that one when I can work out how to make it read more positively! Anyway, great post.