Decoding the Digirati: Success factors behind leadership in Digital Transformation

1. What Sets Apart Digital Leaders from the Laggards?

In this six part mini-series we examine observations on a repeating pattern in the most successful digital organisations as well as the common causes of failure.

With the rapidly evolving power of technology to digitise customer journeys, causing ever increasing convergence of physical and virtual customer experiences, some form of digital transformation is inevitable for most businesses. Alas, successful execution is not. Although a cohort of digital leaders has emerged – the digirati – many companies are investing countless millions of pounds in digital initiatives without realising the expected returns. But who are these digital leaders, how can they be emulated, and what separates the digirati from the dinosaurs? Our experience of working with clients in a diverse range of industries on their digital transformation programmes has given us a privileged vantage point from which to observe a repeating pattern in the most successful digital organisations as well as the common causes of failure.

It is no surprise that the digital leaders harness technology effectively and put customer experience, engagement and value at the heart of their digital agenda – ensuring speed to market, product innovation and service differentiation. However, having observed their success through the lens of business transformation, what is more striking to us is the consistent set of programmatic best practices through which they execute complex digitally-enabled change.

A frequent misconception among business and IT leaders is that their digital initiatives are very different to other organisational transformation. In fact, the reverse is true. Not only do the same terrestrial rules of portfolio, programme and change management still apply in the digital sphere, many factors are amplified.

In this series we have distilled our insights into nine key factors through which the digital leaders successfully design, deliver and sustain their transformation efforts. For example, we explain how they consistently:

  • approach digital transformation at an enterprise level;
  • align a wide coalition of leaders and practitioners around a captivating digital vision;
  • achieve a symbiotic alignment between business and IT;
  • reinforce the right behaviours to make digital change happen at a local level; and
  • stay the course in the face of inevitable setbacks along the way.

Some of these practices can be found in many organisations but mastery over all of them concurrently is what sets the digirati apart. The digital laggards, by contrast, are plagued by poor investment decisions, erosion of the customer experience and meagre shareholder value.

Context: Consumer Trends in a Digital World

Consumer and social trends also frame the customer service challenges that are shaping today’s digital agenda; expectations of consistency are higher, comparisons are simpler and feedback is faster and more public. Managers across the world are being quizzed, “how can we serve customers a unique and personal service across all channels and touchpoints?” or, “how will we ensure an integrated, seamless customer experience on all devices?”

Solving these kinds of intricate problems goes to the heart of your business operating model, which is why ‘going digital’ must so often go hand-in-hand with radical organisational transformation.

In the next edition we explore Digital Transformation pitfalls in Expectations vs Reality: The Digital Delusion”.

Gate One

Author Gate One

Gate One is a Business Transformation consultancy that specialises in the design and delivery of complex business change - Digital Transformation being a key focus area. We have a simple cause: to make your organisation better. We work in small teams embedded seamlessly alongside your own people. We have the knowledge, experience and approach to get to the crux of problems quickly, shape intelligent solutions and deliver tangible, lasting results which can be felt quickly across your organisation. To find out more please contact us.

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