digital transformation

7 Pitfalls of Digital Transformation to Avoid

All companies must go through a digital transformation, because no matter what your product or service is, no company can avoid becoming an IT company as well. Whether it is e-commerce, supply chain management, or order management; if it is not digitally in order, you will irrevocably fall behind the competition. Managers with digital plans are abundant, but the crux is in the execution; to move to the cloud, to replace those outdated systems, to clean up processes. By early 2024, many companies seem to have realized that they are less advanced in their digital transformation than they should be. Nor is doing so easy, but some beliefs or actions make the process considerably more difficult. 

Let’s discuss the seven pitfalls you need to avoid if you want to bring your company’s digital transformation to fruition. 

View IT as a money drain

CIOs often report to the CFOs and that clearly indicates IT’s place in the organization; it is seen as a cost. That may have traditionally been true for office automation, but IT now encompasses so much more. It should hang in the organizational chart alongside the commercial side, to strengthen the collaboration between Commercial and IT. 

Ask Tech to speak business language

There has been a strong focus in recent years on teaching business language to IT people. It’s time to turn this around: in fact, everyone in the organization should understand tech because it is intertwined with all business processes. Therefore, invest not in a Chief Digital Officer, but in digital literacy.

Postpone choices

The outcome of a digital transformation is never 100% predictable. As a manager, dare to make choices that may not be right two or three years from now; no choice is also a choice and then you will be too late anyway. Decision-anxiety can be recognized by a stream of PowerPoints and memos within the organization that have to offer more detail about certain trajectories. 

Buying cheap

Cheap is expensive: seize the opportunity to engage partners who not only take care of the implementation but also think along with you. You pay a little more, but you are also ready faster; over the lifetime of an application, that is a lot cheaper.

Look only at the big companies

When the focus on price is abandoned, the choice is often for the big names with the feeling that it will be all right. What you actually need to look at is which company is going to help you drive your innovation and make your business better. A good rule of thumb in vendor selection is to choose a party that is about the same size as you or slightly smaller so that you are important enough to get the attention you deserve. 

Don’t agree on the outcome

Get an outcome-based contract with the vendor so that they are co-invested and co-responsible for the outcome. 

Spend a lot of time on reporting

Resist the temptation to spend a lot of time on presentations and steering committees and do not ask for extensive reports, but let people really put their time into the project. Avoid traditional and political decision-making processes; instead, ensure a flat project organization where the decision makers are at the table in the project. 

Digital transformations require IT entrepreneurship and quick decisions. With margins coming under increasing pressure in all sectors, no one can afford to sit on their hands anymore. Take up the challenge and ensure your company’s planned digital transformation gets implemented, so that you can compete in today’s high-tech market. 


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