Lacking a Clear Path to Digital Nirvana? You’re Not Alone | Sherpas in Blue Shirts

While enterprises that correctly embrace digital stand to gain great rewards – not the least of which is survival – Everest Group research shows that the road to success is not a straight shot.

As an organization begins its digital journey, its initial investments are focused on streamlining the existing IT landscape to prepare for future digital initiatives. During this phase, enterprise IT generally focuses attention on traditional internal-to-IT success measures (cost, control, and compliance), and there is little need for redesign, nor much involvement from the broader organization. As a result, perceived barriers to adoption are few, and enterprises feel confident about the outcome of their technology investments – the journey looks clear and easy.

But just as the enterprise thinks it is on a clear path to digital nirvana, it hits a speedbump that threatens to wreck its transmission and send it spinning off the road. Once the initial streamlining work is done, the next phase requires the IT and business functions to work together to achieve digital goals, which requires significant change.

Suddenly, what seemed easy becomes much more complicated, requiring the enterprise face challenges such as:

  • Effectively measuring and demonstrating the beneficial outcomes of digital investments
  • Overcoming the inertia of redesigning long-standing business processes and changing end-user behavior
  • Addressing legacy technology challenges, a significant talent crunch, and behavioral change management

And lest you think you can find an alternative path to avoid this barrier, beware: our research indicates that nearly half – 43 percent – of North American enterprises are caught in this murky area we call the “Digital Trough.”

 

What should you do when you’ve hit the Digital Trough?

Just as failure to address problems with your car’s undercarriage can lead to erosion of your transmission, failure to address problems in the Digital Trough can lead to erosion of executive support for your digital transformation.

Here are a few strategies you can use to continue your digital adoption journey and reap the longer-term rewards of digital transformation:

  • Design a set of metrics that measure digital investments on a clear set of efficiency or growth objectives
  • Shift from a technology bolt-on view to a business process-centric view, with rigorous processes for evaluating new technologies against business efficiency or growth metrics
  • Leverage digital technologies for larger end-to-end processes to capture scope and scale benefits across the organization

The last point addresses the necessity for a pervasive approach to digital adoption (see our So You Think You’re Digital blog) as the benefits of a converged, end-to-end digital strategy significantly outweigh those of an isolated, piecemeal approach.

Once past the Digital Trough, our research suggests that the path to digital success is smoother…and well worth the trip.

To learn more about digital adoption patterns in North America, check out our just released research report, North American Digital Adoption Survey – How pervasive is your digital strategy.

Our readers are also very interested in hearing about your experiences with digital adoption. Are you suffering the impacts of the Digital Trough? Feel free to share your thoughts and comments.


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