Start small, but focus on establishing your first successes fast and in parallel, with IT and business working side by side. Impact mapping is a great collaborative technique to get aligned quickly. In the end, you share the responsibility for the provision of a great digital experience to your customers and partners.
We’re all in this together
The second obstacle we have encountered is 'not-me' thinking. We regularly see companies that are convinced that all these ideas about digital transformation are not relevant to them. It will only affect the next generation, or is only happening in other sectors. B2B companies conclude that digital disruption is limited to B2C environments, based on the usual suspects such as Netflix and Spotify.
Rest assured, however; this will soon be an important driver of success for every one of us, for all business models. No company can continue denying the changes in consumer expectations and behavior and opportunities for innovation. If you don't make preparations now, your competitors will. And worse, the competition won't just be within your own industry, but players in other sectors as well, looking to disrupt your market. It is time to look further, to be inspired by examples from all over, and to free up some time for digital innovations within your own company. Encourage everybody's ideas within your company and try small things; just keep trying and testing them.
Prizes are only awarded at the finish line
Another obstacle is short term thinking. Companies look at events in the current quarter to achieve the results they promised to their (internal) stakeholders. Teams celebrate the successes of the past quarter or spend time analyzing why the results were not as predicted, before quickly focusing on delivering the next quarter’s results and sprinting towards its closing. Then, they run the same race all over again, focusing each final quarter on securing their yearly bonus.
Innovation and digital transformation cannot just be ad-hoc initiatives launched within a division during a certain quarter. You need to PLAN for innovation. In a structural way; looking further than the current quarter or financial year. This doesn't mean that all your employees should be champion innovators, or that you need to come up with something new every single day, but you must plan carefully. Don't sequester all innovators in one division, resulting in the 'not invented here' syndrome, but instead have your innovation division facilitate your organization as a whole.