Why digital transformation processes usually fail because of the organization – and what you can do about it.
This white paper shows for four central areas of the organization what kind of problems you can expect and how to deal with them.
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Digital transformations fail due to the inherent logics of the organization
Digital changes are too often thought of only from the technological side. The organization’s own logic remains unexamined, which often has surprising consequences for everyone.
This paper shows which blind spots a digital transformation often has and how these can still be illuminated and worked on. We focus on four topics:
- Decision-making structures and leadership
- Organizational culture
Decision-making structures and leadership
Whether it’s automation, data analytics or communication tools, digital transformations how people in organizations work with each other. They influence the formal structure: how decisions are discussed and made, and generally how a workflow works, what is right and wrong behavior.
Digitization measures bring efficiency, transparency and speed here But they also establish procedures that were previously dynamic – or make work-arounds impossible that previously kept the organization alive.
Rarely do organizations function exactly as written in their process manuals. It is usually clever employees who find ways and means to perform their tasks well despite the inadequacies of the organization.
To do so, they sometimes shorten procedures, skip reporting chains or decide against certain rules in order to act in the interest of the greater whole.
Digitization processes endanger these creative solutions. They make transparent what was better left hidden and immovably fix what is otherwise movable.
Members of an organization keep a keen eye on any change. They ask themselves: How are they affected? Does it really make their work easier? What is also changing, but is not openly said so?
Digitization projects thus provide an occasion for micropolitical power games. Some may gain relevance, while others must fear for their importance in the organization. Many a transformation has been pulverized in this dispute.
Digitization processes are often associated with the desire for innovation. They are intended to speed up workflows, provide clues to unmet demands or, by pulling together data, reveal gaps and problems that would otherwise remain invisible.
A common assumption here is that a digital solution only needs to be good enough to be compelling. But problem awareness is at least as important: Where everything is fine, there is no reason for change.