Some leaders mistakenly believe that they can opt out of Digital Transformation. They view Digital Transformation as adopting new technologies, and implementing organizational changes to enable the new technologies to provide the promised business benefits. Unfortunately, this is based on the erroneous assumption that organizations can choose whether they are impacted by new Digital Era technologies.
The fact is, new Digital Era technologies are driving new ways of conducting business across industries and geographies. No one is untouched. The overall environment is continually changing and everyone is affected. Digital Era technologies are changing the relationships between employers and employees, between vendors and customers, and between service providers and service consumers. As these relationships change, expectations change as well.
Newcomers are More Adaptable
Most Digital Era success stories have a common thread: the organizations are small, new, and highly adaptable. This does not mean that larger, older organizations cannot benefit from Digital Era technologies. However, most organizations become less flexible as they age. Management practices of many older, more bureaucratic, control-oriented organizations get in the way of Digital Transformation.
Transformation vs Disruption
And, to make things worse, Digital Transformation doesn’t really work. “Transformation” implies that an organization can make a change (however complex the change) with a clear beginning and end. And that once the organization is “transformed”, the new processes and practices will become the norm. Everything will hum along smashingly.
In fact, Digital Era technologies are driving continuous disruption. Significant technological changes continue to disrupt the landscape. No organization is in control of its environment. Survival is based upon an ability to sense changes early, and adapt quickly.
Most top-down, hierarchically-oriented organizations have structures and processes that attempt to treat continuous changes as discrete, one-time events.
Cultures Change More Slowly Than Technologies
Many organizations have implemented new technologies, and never achieved the desired benefits since the organization failed to change. Every organization, no matter their size, history, or industry, is facing the same challenge: to build and maintain a culture that adapts to a continually changing landscape. Implementing new management practices takes a year or more. Shifting an organizational culture takes several years. The time to start is now.
This issue of Cutter Business Technology Journal with Guest Editor Sheila Cox will explore the cultural and change management challenges unique to digital transformation. How can organizations develop a culture that supports digital transformation?
Suggested article ideas include, but are not limited to, the following:
- How do change management practices need to change to support digital transformation?
- What is the composition of a change management team in the digital era? How are they structured?
- Where is the best place to report in the organization?
- How should an organization monitor and measure change management effectiveness?
- What are the characteristics of cultures that support digital transformation? How can leaders develop and encourage such a culture?
- How can an organization develop a vision for the future when everything is in flux?
- How can organizations encourage experimentation and risk-taking? How can they avoid out-of-control risk-taking?
- What drives innovation?
- How should an organization monitor and measure innovation effectiveness?
- How do leaders encourage or discourage collaboration?
- What management practices are important in the digital era?
- What are the characteristics, skills, background, and experience of a successful digital era leader?
- How can organizations recruit, motivate, and retain such leaders?
- What options are available for old-line hierarchically-oriented companies to encourage innovation? Do skunkworks, spinoffs, and joint-ventures?
Abstract submissions deadline: September 25, 2017
Article deadline: October 27, 2017
Please send article ideas to Christine Generali and Sheila Cox including an abstract and short article outline showing major discussion points. Accepted articles will be due October 27, 2017. Final article length is typically 2,500-3,500 words plus graphics. More editorial guidelines.