On the occasion of the recent conference for executives in the IT sector, Gartner points out six barriers in the adaptation of any business to the digital model.
Paradoxically, and despite speaking of digital transformation, none of these barriers is technological.
The common conclusion for all barriers (defined after a prior survey with representatives of the sector) is that digital transformation is not as simple as adopting the latest technology in the market.
So, what are the six barriers and how can they be overcome?
- Resistance to change.
Digital transformation is only possible if it arises from the basis that all members who undertake the process adopt its practices consciously and voluntarily. To this effect, the organization must ensure that resistance to change is overcome. How? By giving a voice to the people in the new digital territory. For example: through a culture that reduces hierarchies, destroys silos, encourages collaboration and uses communication to find new ideas that drive innovation.
- Collaboration seen as something that is reduced and limited.
There is a new environment where technology enables the sharing of knowledge and collaborative innovation like never before. Once more, this is part of a culture we wish to eradicate, of obscurity and a sense of ownership (my knowledge and ideas are mine only) versus the search for common improvement, either personal or organizational. And again, the solution lies in opening processes to participation and involving people in them. A movement that, when resistance is great, can begin with small groups and then escalate to the entire organization.
- Feeling unprepared.
Any process of change comes with risks and doubts. But along with this reasonable feeling, there is also the conviction that not changing can lead to loss and abandon. The process of transformation should be gradual, for example by detecting early adoptersthat help to row in one direction and show their colleagues the new way forward.
- The talent gap.
This is the result of the need for a new organizational model, where there are no roles or areas as defined as they are now, and where they all share an important technological background. The difficulty in finding predisposed talent, or with the skills required by the digital environment, is a common problem for many companies. But it is also a matter of filling new, well-defined roles, connected to emergent or very disruptive technologies. Redefining each position and adding technology-related competencies can be useful in medium-sized organizations. In larger ones, this process may begin in groups with similar characteristics and different needs.
- Old practices in a new environment.
Having the latest technology and the best talent is no use if our day-to-day activity is entrenched in the past. The digital paradigm is an enemy of slow, or extremely hierarchical processes, and a friend of flexibility (for example, in the case of product iterations) and cross-functional, or inter-disciplinary collaboration between teams.
- Not changing because it isn’t easy.
Or expensive, or technically complex. Establishing new structures, applications or a completely new ecosystem of collaborators involves effort, resources and money. But it also helps to secure a foundation on which you can start to build.
In this respect, Gartner is categorical regarding the need to catch the wave: whoever invests, they say, will continue navigating; whoever doesn’t will soon be obsolete and replaced.
Involving talent with new abilities, establishing a new organizational model, a new culture and new daily practices, are basic steps to excel, or at least to stay afloat.
Discover how you can drive your organization’s transformation through collaborative innovation.