Articles/ Climb every mountain? Digital transformation myth busting

Climb every mountain? Digital transformation myth busting

‘Because it’s there’. That was George Mallory’s reason for climbing Mt Everest in 1922. In 2022, businesses face a different kind of Everest. Digital transformation. 

Under pressure to keep pace with changing customer expectations and digital trends, some are scurrying up the mountain, choosing technology ‘because it’s there’ without really knowing why. Others are scratching their heads at base camp wondering how to begin.

Confusion has created misconceptions. It’s time to bust the digital transformation myths so businesses can get clarity—and get started.

1.  It’s expensive

A digital transformation doesn’t have to drain your budget. 

Low-cost cloud, AI technologies and subscription-based services have democratised access to technology. The days of huge upfront investments and ripping and replacing all your systems to implement whole business initiatives are over.

How you spend your budget is more important than how much. Payback comes in return on investment from more efficient and effective systems.

Ultimately, the biggest cost of a digital transformation is the opportunity cost of not doing it at all.

2.  It’s only for the big end of town

Digital transformation isn’t the exclusive domain of big business.

Small businesses can digitally transform to grow bigger—or simply operate in a smarter way—through projects that make data more discoverable and actionable, customer experiences better or processes more streamlined and efficient.

Being smaller can be an advantage. Unrestricted by legacy systems, silos and cumbersome decision making processes, small businesses can tackle transformation projects faster and see results sooner. 

3.   It’s taking over our jobs

Digital transformation isn’t the job-destroying apocalypse people feared.

It’s changing jobs and creating new ones. 

We’ve blown out the candle and turned on a lamp. We’ve lost movie projectionists, typesetters and video store assistants, but we’ve gained app developers, drone operators and YouTube content creators. 

Yes, low skilled roles are displaced by AI and automation, but technology is freeing workers from routine and lower value repetitive tasks. It’s creating an opportunity to upskill and upgrade to higher value (and usually more satisfying) work.

Digital transformation is augmenting and amplifying human capabilities. An example of this is faster and better decision making; made possible by machine learning and instant access to insights and actionable data. 

4.  It’s about the technology 

It’s not. It’s about your business, and how it adapts to the new digital world. It is as much about removing cultural and organisational barriers as it is about technology.

Technology isn’t the end goal. It’s the tool to enable transformation.

Transformation starts with upgrading your business strategy, then your technology. 

5.   It’s all or nothing

Apple said ‘Think different’. At VERSA, we say, ‘Think incremental’.

You don’t have to do it all at once. You can do it in bite-sized bits.

Yes, you need to rethink your business strategy and model. But you don’t have to make wholesale changes and do an entire transformation in one go. 

The vision and strategy should be a big picture. The execution can be incremental. 

Introduce digital transformation gradually, through improving customer experience or fixing an inefficient process. It might start with something as simple as automating the easiest customer enquiries with a chatbot. 

6.  It’s one-and-done

Digital transformation isn’t a one off, mark as completed and move on.

It’s an ongoing process. Digital transformation requires adjustments to maintain success. 

Test and learn with an iterative approach. Make step changes to processes. 

Review. Tweak. Repeat.

7.  Customers want personal service, not automation

Customers want convenience. Consistency. And a great experience. On their terms. On their channel of choice.

That means transforming to offer a consistent experience across all channels.

Automation enables personal service. Most customers don’t care if an interaction is with a bot or a human being (and often they can’t tell the difference if it’s well done).

If automation and AI makes it effortless, they’ll be satisfied. And that’s your goal.

8.  Every journey is the same

Every business and its culture is different, so every business transformation will be too.

You might use the same technologies as others, but how you use it to make your brand and customer experience your own—and your point of difference—will set you apart. 

9.  Digital transformation and digitisation are the same

They are similar, and both are important—but they’re not the same thing. 

Digitisation is about making something simpler, better, faster or cheaper using digital tools and technologies. It’s about efficiency and saving costs. It makes data accessible or reliable. It gives you predictability. It’s operation-centric.

Digital transformation is people-centric. It’s about your value proposition and how you change your business through new technologies. This enhances capabilities—creating new value for customers and employees across your business. 

10.  We’re already behind everyone else

Many other organisations are still working it out, or a work in progress, too.

According to Gartner, 87% of senior business leaders say digitalisation is a company priority, yet only 40% of organisations have brought digital initiatives to scale*. 

While 91% of organisations are engaged in some form of digital initiative*, we know a digital project does not make a transformation. But it is a start.

Think evolution, not radical reinvention. Look for partners who can help you evolve your digital strategy for optimal success.

Whether a leader or laggard, every journey to the summit starts with a first step. The important thing is to begin.