Guest blog: Digital transformation is dead: the future is agile

Guest blog by Sheetal Patel, Senior Marketing Manager, DCX

Sheetal PatelGuest blog by Sheetal Patel, Senior Marketing Manager, DCX

When it comes to digital transformation, building readiness for a constantly evolving business world is the path to success.

That was the key takeaway from a new report from digital transformation and marketing agency Paragon DCX (part of Paragon CC) in partnership with London Research.

The report, ‘Digital transformation is dead. Long Live Business Agility. Why organizations need to embrace constant change to avoid failure’, argues that digital transformation as a term has become unhelpful at best, and meaningless at worst.

As one of the report’s contributors, brand strategist and lecturer in digital marketing Lazar Dzamic puts it: “Business transformation is going to be hugely digital. It’s going to be almost exclusively driven by the big technological trends.” In other words, digital is no longer a distinct element of business; it is business.

So: the aim of business transformation now must be to create an ecosystem of corporate culture, structure and technology that allows the organization to respond quickly and simply to the changing needs of its customers.

Bi-modal change is now the norm

The report identifies another critical change that’s happening. Digitization of processes and the development of a digital strategy used to be seen as separate things, and usually happened consecutively. They’re now increasingly taking place at the same time.

This trend emerged in the comparison of how mature respondents said their business was in certain areas, and the priority it gives those areas.

The biggest gaps between the two are in digitizing processes to increase efficiency (15 percentage points) and updating technology infrastructure to improve operations (10 percentage points). Meanwhile, companies are much closer to establishing their desired capabilities in respect of culture, data use and customer-centricity.

Support from top management is critical

The research also showed that there is no overriding issue that hinders companies’ moving to a state of business readiness, but there is a silver bullet. Sponsorship from the chief executive officer and company leadership team is critical for ongoing investment in digital initiatives.

Lack of support hinders investment in technology and skills, diminishes the organization’s appetite for risk, and compromises its willingness to drive the cultural change required to support constant digital evolution.

Two out of five respondents said lack of buy-in or investment from top management is a significant challenge. Two more major challenges – lack of skills and knowledge (46%), and legacy technology (43%) – are clearly the result of insufficient investment. And an investment is a board decision.

“These are interesting findings, most notably the lack of internal buy-in,” says Gordon Glenister, membership and influencer marketing expert, author, podcaster, keynote speaker and Evening Standard columnist, interviewed for the report. “Those companies that resist change to transform to a digital culture will simply be overtaken by their rivals and certainly by a younger audience who are digital natives. Digital change doesn’t happen overnight but it’s so important that this is led from the top, with strong leadership”.

Less than half of respondents believe the benefits of digital transformation are ‘very much measurable’. This highlights a potential difference in understanding between senior management, which expects tangible revenue and productivity gains, and teams in the thick of digital transformation who realize the full nature and value of the payoff can be unpredictable.

For more information

View the report here

Visit the DCX website

Visit the Paragon website

The views, opinions and positions expressed within guest blogs are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the BSA.