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October 10, 2019 | 3 Mins Read

Alignment: The Key to True Digital Transformation Success

October 10, 2019 | 3 Mins Read

Alignment: The Key to True Digital Transformation Success


By Greg Lush

You have already experienced change and value in applying the former stages of the hierarchy of digital adoption to your businesses: digital trust, contextual computing, and insights. The final component of the hierarchy we will discuss will propel us over the finish line as we take digital trust, contextual computing, and insights stages momentum to alter our business habits. Often the word "transformation" is bandied about, but who really knows what this term means? If Henry Ford, as he was contemplating the horseless carriage, had asked any person in Detroit what they wanted, most would have answered "a faster horse.” For me, transformation occurs as we permanently alter our institutional habits to leverage the digital enterprise. We achieve this by embracing the final stage of my Hierarchy of Digital Transformation: Alignment.

This series was written for all types of digital evangelists and advocates, and for most of you one of the four stages I’ve covered will be comfortable and the others will present some level of discomfort. Our first stage, digital trust, started our journey and required you to apply your emotional intelligence (EQ) over your technical skills. Generally speaking, if you are a hard-core technologist the first section on digital trust was awkward. The final section of alignment is also people-centric with a heavy dose of understanding the business. Technologists, who have been relegated to the data center or IT shop, and really interested in keeping the infrastructure live, will find this section challenging. Conversely, those in business management roles, who shined in the "insights" stage, will also find this final stage "alignment" hard to master. Hey, we are talking about the elusive "transformation,” a state of business rarely obtained.

So, what needs to happen to drive success through this final stage if nobody will be comfortable? The answer is just the point, we must align with one another. Digital transformation, a term which will likely fizzle out, is about us all rowing in the same direction. Alignment, a word which suggests teamwork, will continue to stand the test of time. Businesses have attempted to achieve alignment across their employees, clients, and partners, for decades; how is this 'alignment' anything more than letters on a page? As we get older, theoretically we get wiser. Life experiences, including success and failure (critical), no matter how trivial, are all contributors.

Yet, it is more than that, and therefore alignment, and eventually transformation, has a fighting chance. The answer to this riddle, you ask, is perspective. As humans we gain perspectives through experience, listening, social-economic factors; all of which eventually contribute to our perspectives. However, if we could take our perspectives, actions, and approaches and merge those with others, wouldn't that provide additional insight? Now, mix in trends, which in all honesty today are considered "hunches," by accessing artificial intelligence tools like algorithms, machine and deep learning, and myriad cognitive tools.  Imagine the perspective you could gain, learning things that you didn't know to ask, literally obliterating the idiom "you only know what you know."

I’m excited to share with you some final stories in the coming weeks, centered around alignment, and designed to get you thinking about how you may apply these concepts directly to your business. Hopefully, executing these in sequence as they are all designed to work into one another. Over the next few weeks, we will explore:

  • Business as unusual: understanding and aligning business priorities
  • Our story:
    • Algorithms; getting ready to share your story with a data scientist
    • Data; move past your historical references and how to handle internal and external data
    • Assumptions; seeing things differently, transitioning assumptions to action
  • Speed Learning
    • Learning like never before
    • From predictions to prescriptions

I look forward to diving into this final phase of the hierarchy of digital transformation with you!