Let's face it, the case for sustainability in digital transformation has never been more pressing. And when we talk about sustainability, we don’t just talk about carbon footprint. We think about sustainability as a principle, which needs to be applied to a host of business processes and performance measures – all of which solicit a cultural and a systemic change alongside technological transformation.
We’d probably even go as far to say that without strategic insight, digital transformation will always fail in the hands of myopic vision.
So, why do most digital transformations miss the mark?
01. People often tend to focus more on the speed-oriented digital aspect of digital transformation and neglect the time-consuming transformation bit. The value of digital technologies is important and cannot be underscored enough but the people dimension, which includes operating models, processes, and culture, is what weaves sustainability into the fabric because these are factions where deep organizational inertia rests.
02. Organizations still view digital transformation as a destination or a project. But no one ever arrives at a perfectly functional digital mode, rather, it’s a permanent state of existence that requires periodic monitoring, upkeep, enhancements, and repositioning. The slew of new products we created last year or changes we enabled to existing products aren’t linear. So one must commit to transformation for the long haul and work the steps with real-time refinements and sprints to respond to triggering events as they occur.
03. Companies succumb to short-term pressures like keeping up with competition or earnings expectations. Fanning these impulses on a regular basis deflects long-term focus and gradually, broader goals fall by the wayside. Today, we operate in an especially fragile environment, wherein market uncertainty is pervasive, making organizations particularly susceptible to short-sighted behavior.
We may be convinced that we have traveled light years since 2020, but without question, we will need to accelerate at an even faster pace going forward than we have in the last two years. We must create more jobs, more prosperity, more inclusivity, more transformation, and more shareholder value. But in order to move fast, we cannot just adopt speed; we call ourselves a velocity-driven company because we strongly believe that speed, without an underlying sense of direction, fails. Companies struggle with the direction part of the equation because it is easy to get caught up in a hyper-competitive landscape, and react to situations, threats, and opportunities instead of using discernment to understand, evaluate, and respond to needs and challenges. The speed mindset puts pressure on employees, leading to burnout and dissatisfaction and does not always deliver customer value because making a move with great urgency does not guarantee success, offering the right product does. On the other hand, the velocity mindset connects the dots, demonstrates to employees how their work fits into the larger strategy of an organization so that they experience a sense of inclusion, and cares to build digital products and capabilities based on genuine customer needs.
When a company articulates its long-term vision, it anchors a strategic discipline that ultimately drives long-term value creation. This vision unifies management, employees, clients, and communities, and creates a framework that delivers sustainable returns.
Here are some questions that guide our decision making
01. We map a vision and answer the why – do we need to become more responsive? Are we leveling our ability to innovate or simply replacing a legacy platform?
02. Is our leadership aligned on what it will take to effect the change on behaviors and skills across the organization?
03. What are the specific business outcomes that are tied to this transformation goal, and how are we marshalling our resources and monitoring our progress?
Currently, the industry ecosystem is particularly frayed, threatening market positions on a regular basis. Unfortunately, the short-term demand cycles will persist but sometimes as in life so in business, if you cannot change a problem, you must change (adapt) yourself.
Business leaders must show courage and fend off the constant pressure to act quickly and decisively. Decisiveness is a leadership strength but make room for big picture thinking, without which, decisions are not well thought out plans but just acting on an impulse.
Stock markets respond to expectations, so proactively outline a long-term growth plan and articulate performance measures that will fulfill these goals clearly.
Enforcing rigid timelines often goes against finding the right solution or creating the optimal product. Reimagining a purchase path or retracing an experience and working backwards plugs an authentic need gap or at the very least, enables great learning. But for this type of performance to take root, leadership commitment is sacrosanct.