5 pitfalls in the company's digitalization process
by Jarle Soland
16. Jun 2021, 4 minutes reading time
If you are ambitious about digitalizing your company, you know that the road ahead is long and winding. It is also full of pitfalls.Here are 5 you might encounter – and how you should avoid them.
1.Technology is not a solution, but an enabler
This is a common one. We frequently see the misconception that as long as you acquire some new software, a few solutions and perhaps a digital platform, you are ready to roll. But this just might be the last place you want to start. A classic example is seminar-goers who have been convinced that data lakes are now prerequisites for success. Or that they now need to be «in the cloud», despite everything already running perfectly on the ground.
Really, it is about finding the right starting point for your organization. Most of the time, technology is not the solution – and especially not the be-all and end-all. To avoid spending too much money on software that might not be a good fit, start instead by figuring out what you need. Analyze your organization, how you work, what your goals are, and what is required to reach them. This allows you to see both if and how technology can be an enabler along the way.
2. Maturity is key
While you are gazing inwards at your own organization, make sure to ask questions about its digital maturity. How responsive is it to new ways of thinking and working? What is the gap between current level of competence and the one needed to fully take advantage of new technology? And how do we close that gap?
There is much you can do to kickstart your digital maturity: We have been involved in several client success stories where «old-fashioned» companies have taken strides in their digital transformation simply through obligatory, weekly courses. This might be where you need to start. If your organization really is not ready – as in having the necessary interest, knowledge and competence – better data technology will get you nowhere, not even as an enabler.
3.Digitalization is really about people
This might sound counterintuitive, but digital transformation is mostly about work processes, which are forged and upheld by interhuman relationships. So part of the preliminary work is making sure these are already running smoothly.
This, together with digital maturity, also ties into culture, which we have written extensively about. Only through building a culture where mutual learning and understanding is a core principle, can you maintain sustainable relationships between disciplines. This is key as data becomes ever more important.
4.Do not forget governance
If data anarchy reigns, your digitalization efforts will almost certainly fail. This is something we have observed time and time again: The need for governance rears its head at the tail end of BI project – to everyone’s surprise – and the result is, as a worst-case scenario, a collapse of the entire pilot.
Proper governance, put simply, needs to be thought out in advance. Who owns what data? Where does it come from? How can we confidently trace the data along the flow? If you want to succeed in becoming data-driven, this has to be in place before moving forward.
5.There are no shortcuts
Digitalization, when you think about it, is really nothing new. Yes, scopes and terms have changed, but since the dawn of time, organizations have chased smarter and better ways to work. Becoming data-driven is just part of that. But the law of the jungle still applies – and if you do not work hard on getting ahead, you very quickly get left behind.
So our advice is to be less afraid of the thought of transformation – just get moving. Always keep in mind that digitalization efforts are not one-offs, and they are not waterfall projects. It is a continuous process where you can reap consecutive quick wins if you play your cards right. If you avoid letting perfectness become the enemy of good.
Chief Executive Officer
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