Before we can introduce our proven 90 Day DX Coaching service to help you kick-start and/or accelerate digital transformation (DX) in your mid-sized business, it is critical that we first clear up some of the confusion around this over-hyped and terribly misused concept.
While technically true (as for example some startup businesses are "born digital"), the majority of present-day organisations are nowhere near responsive and adaptive enough to survive the seismic, technology-induced shifts disrupting virtually every industry out there. Product life cycles that used to last for decades in some instances don't even span a year. Technology is both the reason for this upheaval as well as the solution for safely navigating out of it.
Simply put, every growth business should aspire to become a super agile technology business. And the only way to do this is to embark on a digital transformation journey and develop the organisational capacity to leverage digital technologies and capabilities in more and more parts of their business.
And the best time to start is today, when there might still be time, and the profits are still good.
Further reading: Digital Transformation for Dummies
We have seen so much change over the last 5 years that most of us struggle to accept the notion that the future rate of change will vastly outpace what we have seen to date. Our brains are simply not wired for an exponential world where change happens faster and faster. We are still looking for competitors in our own industry instead of acknowledging that tiny businesses anywhere could be the giants of tomorrow.
Bottom line: Our current management models are inadequate and we need to think differently to make sense of the world around us.
One of the worst present-day mistakes the senior leadership team of a business can make is to commit to a "fast follower strategy" and then wait for somebody to take the lead before doing anything. While this may have worked well in the past, the dynamics of digital competitors are so fundamentally different that this strategy almost results in an also-ran organisation.
Further reading: Delaying Digital Transformation Is Super Risky
Nothing could be further from the truth than this seemingly obvious statement! Of course, every business has to learn how to better leverage technology but the reason most struggle to do just that is not because they don't have enough technology but because their culture, structure and leadership mindsets are woefully inadequate to deal with the realities of a more digital world. In fact, it is quite interesting to know that the first 3 to 12 months of our digital transformation engagements are mostly focused on changing mindsets and introducing more agile ways of working...
Further reading: Culture Trumps Technology in Digital Transformation
For many years consulting organisations proclaimed that DX journeys not driven by the CEO ultimately fail. While this may have been true for larger organisations where hierarchy and politics play such a massive role, this is most certainly not true for mid-sized businesses who often fail to get out of the starting blocks as they wait and wait for a senior leader to take the lead. To not loose critical time, somebody else has to step up and the most suitable person in many instances is the senior IT leader in the organisation. This is, by the way, a massive career opportunity for forward-thinking IT leaders.
Since most of the initial challenges are related to changing how people think and act, getting-started almost never requires any sizeable investment. In fact, an emphasis on execution and short cycle time for initiatives should in many cases create enough momentum and even funding for later, more ambitious and expensive digital transformation initiatives.
Further reading: How to Kick-Start Digital Transformation Without CEO Support
Closely linked to the previous leadership misconception is our almost compulsive need to plan out everything, sometimes multiple years into the future. What we need to understand is that none of us really has a handle on how our world will change and, since we are initially dealing with inadequate digital mindsets and capabilities of all the people in the business, getting started and doing something and iterating on this is more important than mapping all our moves with our woefully inadequate present knowledge.
Further reading: The Speed of Agility: How IT Is Teaching Business a Lesson
With the most common misconceptions about digital transformation in mid-sized businesses out of the way we can go ahead and introduce our incredibly useful maturity model for kick-starting and accelerating DX in any mid-sized business.
Most present-day mid-sized organisations start out a Stage 0 - Siloed, where the IT function is still very inward-focused.
The ultimate goal of any digital transformation journey is to create a Stage 5 - Adaptive business that can react rapidly and decisively as the situation around it changes. Almost every business wants to be here.
Digital Transformation has to be nurtured from the bottom up through a series of very focused and time-bound initiatives of no more than 90 days each. With each concluded cycle, organisational learning increases and digital transformation initiatives can become even more ambitious.
The IT leader is the most likely person to kick-start the digital transformation and lead the organisation from Stage 0 - Siloed to Stage 3 - Strategic. From Stage 3 onwards the CEO and other strategic leaders play an increasingly important role to allocate funds for more ambitious, risky and farther-reaching DX initiatives.
The most significant obstacle to a successful digital transformation journey is the institutional silo. Every 90-day cycle therefore tries to dismantle this outdated management structure a bit more in favour of ever-more effective cross-functional teamwork.
If you have carefully read up to here (and even more so if you have studied some of the referenced articles), you now have all of the major building blocks to craft and execute your very own digital transformation program. As long as you keep an open mind, run lots of experiments and are willing to make some mistakes, you should be well on your way.
If you are under pressure to deliver quick results without the luxury of a safety net or are otherwise not yet ready to commit because the outcomes still seem so fuzzy, our 90 Day DX Coaching program may just be the answer you are looking for.
To develop this program we had to dig deep and pull together insights gained over the last 8 years of grappling with the topic of DX in mid-sized businesses. The result is a unique coaching solution that not only supports IT leaders at each stage of the DX journey but also systematically works towards significant and measurable business outcomes in 90-day increments.
I would strongly recommend the services of Xuviate in order to gain understanding of the need for digital transformation in your business as well as assistance to initiate the changes.
JOHAN PRETORIUS // IT Manager at Aerosud
Although you can most certainly decide to lead DX on your own, engaging with Xuviate in a series of 90-Day Coaching Engagements has some significant benefits as our IT leader customers keep telling us.
To find out more, simply click the button below to tell us a bit more about your specific scenario and one of our DX Sensei (either Mark or Mathias) will get in touch for a quick chat.
Although we have standard fees for our coaching engagements, there are some other factors that influence cost such as whether we would need to travel, how much time we would require to prepare for the first workshop and also how many coaching sessions you would need per month. The best would be to set up a quick chat and start by understanding your specific environment and most likely challenges we would encounter.
Absolutely no problem. We are so confident in our ability to assist IT leaders like yourself kick-start and accelerate digital transformation that we offer a money-back guarantee on every 90-day engagement. Simply put, if you do not believe you have gained at least 5 times as much in value as you had to pay for our services, we can terminate the engagement on your request and refund you in full.
Our specific expertise lies with helping IT leaders kick-start and accelerate digital transformation. This is not to say that nobody else could lead this, just a warning that our assumes capabilities and insights that may not apply to other leaders. You are welcome to use our insights where you think it will make sense but an even better option might be to introduce us to your IT leader.
For sure. The most important criteria are that you believe that IT could add so much more value in your business and that you are prepared to take some small reputational risks to kick-start this bottom-up digital transformation process.
Although Xuviate has its offices in South Africa most of our services are truly global and only require an Internet connection. The workshop is the only part in this service that requires a local presence and for a small additional fee we are prepared to travel to where-ever we are required. We are currently in the process of building out our network of global delivery partners and we may already have representation in your part of the world.
Unfortunately we are not interested in consulting opportunities and require an internal person that can lead and nurture the digital transformation program. Besides, we don't really believe that an external organisation can or should drive digital transformation for a business.