The term Digital Transformation (DT) it’s becoming a mantra for all the organizations, but apart from the fashion trends, what does it mean for a company to become a Digital Organization? Some people believe that to be digital, it’s enough to have good Web communication. Others simplify Digital Transformation to the dematerialization of processes. Some people think that a little Smart Working is enough. I’d say we are not getting this right, let’s try to understand better.
An interesting point of view to understand what DT is, it is to think about it as a skill,something that must be developed at an organizational and individual level. If we introduce digital technologies and systems without changing the business model of an organization, it is complicated to think that the organization can grow and improve. The result could be counterproductive
Let’s imagine that we are dealing with a company with a modern and charming web image. A company that ‘promises’ innovation and efficiency, that says contact me and I will surprise you! We now want to contact them asking for information about the products and receive an answer only, after an endless week. What idea would we have? Worthless saying…
Technology does not change the DNA of an organization, rather it amplifies its character. If we suppose that the organization is slow answering to customers, this will be exaggerated by the digital’s ‘magnifying lens’. Only by thinking over their business model, digitization becomes a support to innovation and organizational growth.
But reorganizing structures and processes is not enough. The DT has to get into people’s mind-set, becoming a way of approaching problems and managing relationships. Let’s think for example of managerial roles and the way leadership is carried out. People who know the organizations, understand the importance of respecting working hours, the constant supervision of activities (not to say control) and, let’s face it, the hierarchical relationship between a manager and his collaborators. Well, what would these managerial priorities mean if a team will work online, collaborating by a platform and using mobile devices? The digital answer to this new organizational need is called e-leadership.
The DT is therefore primarily a challenge, an essential learning challenge for organizations that is measured in the ability to acquire new organizational and individual skills. Organizations still function as they were designed in the past century. They are oligarchic and today we must involve everyone to solve problems. They are very distinct in terms of roles and functions, and today we need transversality, integration and contamination. They are accustomed to think that there is a “within the organization” and “out the organization” while today the metaphor of the glass box. It is not possible to pretend to be digital, transparency necessarily calls authenticity!