Digital Transformation is not technology led

Written by Geoff York, Service Manager, NHS Pensions Digitisation at NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA)

So Digital Transformation is well and truly on the agenda for most organisations, both public and private, but what does it mean? This was at the heart of the recent DL Salon I attended at Cambridge Judge Business School.

It’s probably easier to say what it doesn’t mean, it is not or should not be, a new trendy term for technology refresh or a replacement for what has, in previous lifetimes been referred to as Business Process Re-engineering (BPR) or Change Management or Total Quality Management (TQM).

Actually, it is all of those things in combination, or at least whatever subset of those things that suits your particular organisation’s culture. But the absolutely essential and to some, “new” element is that whatever shape digital transformation takes in your organisation it is led by end-user experience; it doesn’t matter if  that end-user is a patient, a doctor, a blood donor, a farmer, a finance director, a delivery man, a butcher, a baker or a candlestick maker – enhance their experience.

Let’s be clear, technologies that are “digital” have been around for a long time, it’s the shift in end-user expectation in this always on, always connected world that we are all immersed in every day of our lives that is making the difference, we are all end-users. End-users demand that slick efficient user experience they get when they buy their food shopping or that latest gadget with a few clicks of their fingers, anything less is seen as substandard.

The most successful digital transformation initiatives are radical in that nothing is off the agenda if it leads to enhancement in the end-user experience. Changes to business models, processes and functions, even redefinition of the entire value chain if that is appropriate, are considered. However, radical does not necessarily mean turning the organisation upside down, radical means all things are considered, if it doesn’t enhance the end-user experience don’t do it.

The success, or otherwise, of an organisations digital transformation efforts is greatly influenced by the culture of the organisation with the best results achieved by open, progressive cultures. How do you achieve and open progressive culture?

If there was an easy answer, everyone would be doing it but it is heavily influenced by the style of leadership an organisation has. The old maxim still holds true that an organisation, or indeed part of an organisation, takes on the personality of the leader because the leader gets the behaviour they are “seen” to reward.

So there it is, Digital Transformation success comes down to Leadership and where better to discuss it than Digital Leaders!

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