CXO, stop with the excuses! Digital transformation needs actions, not avoidance
“If you won’t renew your business with technology, you will lose your business.”
It is easy to agree with sentences like this, but when it is time for action, nothing gets done. Why isn’t a decision being made? Or if it is, why does dilute to meaningless adjustments instead of bold actions?
These are the 5 most common excuses I hear from CXOs when analysing why digital transformation hasn’t proceeded:
- “It doesn’t concern us.”
This is one of the most common excuses, often not said aloud but clearly in people’s minds. We all know examples of turning points that have shaken and destroyed whole industries. You can ask experiences from a video rental store entrepreneur for example.
The good old times, if they ever existed, will never come back. In addition to keeping an eye on your direct competitors, you should also be aware of the development in other industries and really consider if the same could happen in your own. How will you respond if someone challenges the existence of your company? What if you were proactive yourself?
- ”That is not possible.”
Historically, most of the IT projects used to fail and the reputation of the whole IT industry was miserable. Nowadays the reality is nothing like these past horror stories, but the negative perception still lives in IT veterans’ minds. Unfortunately, many current decisions are being made based on those past experiences.
The entire IT industry has developed immensely. Real results and successes can now be achieved by anyone with the right tools and ways of working. Another major change is naturally in the technologies themselves, which are being developed in an increasing pace and make such things possible that could not be even dreamed of in the past.
You can learn from the history, but it shouldn’t be the only source of wisdom. What if you gave new thoughts and concepts a chance and bravely lifted your target levels higher?
- ”We have more important things to do”
Only a limited amount of topics can fit into the agenda of business management at a time – and IT has not usually made it up there. It is surely wise to focus only on certain things at a time. Especially in mid-sized growth companies there are so many other things that demand attention while resources are always limited. Why should IT earn special attention?
Information technology has turned out to be an essential part of business in modern companies. In the past, it was the tool for your employees, but today it serves customers and partners outside of your organization in the networked world. Focusing on the maintenance is not enough. You need to develop your business by utilizing latest technologies.
Business technology management has turned out to be an essential capability for business management, which no one can overlook. Can your company afford to wait for ”a better moment”?
- ”We have someone to take care of this”
This refers to some lucky individual who is given the responsibility of the IT, so that others don’t need to bother. Good luck if this really works!
Especially in mid-sized companies, digital technologies and IT can be traced back to a single hero or a team that works hard under growing pressures and expectations. Does this team really have the time or skills to respond to the new demands? Or does the continuous maintenance and crises resolution take up all of their time and attention?
An essential part of today’s business cannot be pushed aside to be a single person’s responsibility. Often this is explained by the phrase “…But I don’t know anything about technology!” The fact is that as a business professional, you don’t need to know about programming or data bases, but you do need to possess general knowledge and understanding of the technologies relevant to your own industry and profession. A successful result is built with smooth cooperation over organisational borders and silos.
- ”These things are not that difficult”
Although business technology management is not rocket science, it demands up-to-date knowledge and expertise, like any field of serious profession. This might be sometimes difficult to understand from the other professions point of view. “What is so difficult to get this done?”
For example, the demands of development projects are often underestimated. It goes like this: Somebody works as a project manager alongside their own task. No previous experience is required. Services are purchased and then forgotten without understanding that also outsourced services need management. As a result, the company is wondering why even the basic functions are not working and everything regarding IT feels cursed.
To prevent this from happening, every business manager should learn the basics about business technology management. Do not repeat the old mistakes. Instead, learn from the accomplishments of others!
Focus on business technology – now!
I strongly believe that it is necessary for every company to focus on business technology. I base my view on the work done with hundreds of organisations, which has led them to significant benefits and lasting results. Business technology management is practical and business-driven way thinking and working that every business should adopt.
I am greatly concerned about the companies and organisations that for one reason or another are left behind in development. You can always postpone your own tasks or try to explain them away, but your competitors won’t do so.
Do you recognise the previous excuses in your own organisation? Are there some you would you add to the list?
About the author
Ari Nuutinen is in charge of mid-sized company services at Sofigate. He’s also a coach of strategy and operational models at the Sofigate Business Technology Academy. Ari has extensive experience in Finnish markets and businesses. His passion is business development, and he wants to help mid-sized companies succeed.