Last update: 21/06/2020 10:36

Digital Transformations (Part 2)

This post will be integrated, as all other posts tackling the same topic, in a forthcoming whitepaper!

In my previous post about Digital Transformations, I sketched a somewhat negative impression of what Digital Transformations are too often than not. You may think it gives me some insane pleasure to picture such situations. The truth can't be farther than that. It really makes me sad, so sad.


In my previous post about Digital Transformations, I talked about a trilogy, a triptych. Here's what I said:

This trilogy, all wrapped up in speed, is what crystallizes a divide as coined by Drucker, here the divide of Digital Transformation: (1) digitalization changes the nature of the services that are offered (software eats the world) (2) knowledge workers know they know better than most of their managers (which is often the case in companies whose managers haven't become knowledge executives yet – [1] ) and (3) customers want to be at the center of the preoccupation of the companies. Wherever we see this triangle forming, we see the "divide" of Digital Transformation forming. This is even aggravated when the legacy systems of the "mastodons" are no longer under control: when no one dares to touch it, when it is left undocumented, … Any Digital Transformation must embrace this triptych.

The triptych I'm talking about is a very vague notion. It is necessary to put it in order and to put it in order we need to gather the notions that we will have to sort out.

There are myriad notions that collide. I present them to you here in the form of a cloud of words. I'm absolutely sure that your personal context will prompt you to add your own words...

This cloud of words, I've gathered it into five great tunnels. I call them the five pillars of the Digital Transformations. These are 5 major worksites in which future projects to be carried out will be inscribed.

These 5 pillars respond to two concentric circles of constraints: (1) the need to eliminate friction between the stages of value creation (2) a strong tendency to digitize everything that can be digitized in order to be able to "produce" and "consume" more freely (which is another way of imposing the elimination of constraints referred to in point 1. Here's the simplest view we can have of it :

Then, it is important to understand that the 5 pillars that we will detail in a short time are themselves built on two crucial foundations: the delight of customers and the happiness of the workforce.

Before moving on to anything else and especially to the 5 pillars, it is necessary to briefly detail the AAA circle. It is indeed an excessively powerful circle in the Digital Transformations, one of those constraints that exerts an essential form of gravity, which ultimately permeates the projects at the deepest level of their subjects and objectives.

AAAAnything – Anytime – Anywhere is more a long-term vision and objective than anything else. To me it remains out of reach but gives the direction to go exactly as the North Star shows the direction to the caravan. You will never reach 100% of AAA! You must decide where your journey stops.

As such, the AAA invites us to think about being able to offer all products and services (in the very broadest sense of the term) at any time and wherever these products and services are to be "consumed/used". This applies to the entire ecosystem of the organisation, both to the "customers" and to the workforce, the entities with which we are in contact (the authorities, recognised consortia in the economic sector in which the organisation operates, suppliers, etc.) and the nature of the "products" delivered.

So, and I will give you just 2 examples, if your organization has a purchasing department, how do you imagine it can/should function to fit the AAA paradigm? You then imagine that your ordering system must be able to be called from the home from which an employee exercises his right to telework. You imagine that your control system must be perfectly secure. You imagine that your connections with your suppliers must be as digitalized as possible, that this may well change the way you select your suppliers and that it becomes essential to have their catalogues in digital form, etc. etc.

If you have an IT department that engages in programming activities, how will you enable programmers, both internal and external, to collaborate on sharing program sources? how will you ensure that they can come together to adhere to the practices required by Agility? how will the support department access the Production Information System in a perfectly secure manner? If you have an interactive website with online support service, how do you organize your online presence for those customers who are in a time zone different from yours?

As you can see these are huge constraints and they telescope. It's really not simple because all this impacts the shape of the organization in its deepest organs.

I will end this second post on Digital Transformations by listing the 5 pillars that constitute the main sorting lines you are interested in. I will only list them and I will detail them in the next post. This will also give you time to see how to place the words from the word cloud to the proposed pillars.

The 5 pillars of a Digital Transformation

We shall dive into that in the next post and I'll also present the first tool that you can use to conduct your Digital Transformation. Remember : the tools, and more generally, all the material published here is free (under a CC Attribution license).

Digital Transformations (part 3).


[1]The first obvious thing that erodes #trust – a leader who doesn’t know what [he is] talking about

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