8 Mistakes Executives Make When Digitising Their Business

Digitising Business
Image: EWN

Keeping a watchful eye on technical innovation is vital to develop a clear vision for the future of any business. But effective strategies for success depend on managers and executives avoiding hidden blind spots and investment decisions that obscure the way forward.

Last year, according to World Economic Forum figures, private sector global spending on digitising business operations exceeded $1.2 trillion dollars, yet just 5% of executives reported being satisfied with the results.

In most industries, the transition from analog to digital is one of the biggest challenges facing business leaders today. There are 8 common mistakes executives make.

FINDING THE BEST WAY FROM A TO D

As with most human activity, planning is everything. The digitisation process is a unique opportunity for executives to take a good hard look at their enterprise and ask some important questions: What digital activities are already underway? What will the industry look like in 5, 10 or 20 years? What strategies can the company employ to succeed in a digital future? What is the end goal of the transition from analog to digital?

Understanding where the business is attempting to go should help avoid some of the following bumps and wrong turns in the journey.

Most of the common mistakes executives make with the digitisation process relate to investment.

Nearsighted investments focus too heavily on the short term, giving insufficient consideration to an organisation’s long-term needs. While, farsighted investments focus on future needs with scant attention given to immediate development, which undermines current performance and impacts future goals.

Even when the current and future needs of a business are given equal consideration blind spots can occur, as parts of the business are overlooked by investment and turn into points of weakness that disrupt overall performance.

Putting a coherent strategy in place directs funding to areas of the business most in need. As well as scheduling where and when to invest, this strategy prevents executives making “scattershot” small investments without an overall funding plan.

MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS

As each organisation is unique, no two paths to a digital future are the same. The structure of a business can influence its digitisation journey, with heavily centralised companies at risk of suffering from a rigid chain of imposing policy from on high.

Similarly, command structures that encourage parts of the business to operate as independent units, or islands, can duplicate investments which also duplicate costs.

ENABLING CHANGE

Aside from investment decisions, another common area where mistakes are made relates to the balance of resources and their application. A company’s data, technology, operating model and talent either work to enable digital progress or hinder it.

Some companies focus too heavily on building up these enablers, without considering if additional staff, technology and data capacity add value to the business.

Whereas, the digital transformation of other companies suffer from a lack of resources to accommodate spending on new business applications.

THE NEW DIGITAL REALITY

The pace of technological change is impacting the business and social worlds faster than ever before.

A new digital reality is emerging where 85% of customer interaction will take place without humans and where 65% of today’s young will grow up and work in industries or jobs that don’t yet exist.

Companies that successfully bridge the gap from analog to digital are in prime position to fully embrace the opportunities offered by a digital future.

EWN