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Are your blind spots slowing down your digital business?

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This post was written by Leslie Willcocks, Emeritus Professor of Work, Technology and Globalization, Administration, LSE, and Dr. John Hindle, Managing Partner of the advisory firm Knowledge Capital Partners.

We all have blind spots. Part of the optic disc, the round spot on our retina, lacks the cells necessary to detect light. This means that everyone’s vision is imperfect to some degree. Research shows that companies in the process of digital transformation often have blind spots. Here we also explain how to compensate for them.

Often, especially in very large organizations, the people driving the digital transformation agenda (“Strategists” in Figure 1 below) and the technologists (“Strategists” in Figure 1 below) have different objectives, resources, and Having a stakeholder creates a blind spot. Enterprise-wide automation capabilities.

Strategists usually do a lot of things right. Of course, apart from formulating a comprehensive vision, we take a lot of care and attention when it comes to planning the process and building our digital platform. Strategy execution, however, is undermined by a varying combination of governance, navigation, culture, and change management factors. Most commonly, “strategists” drive the transformation agenda from a higher position within the organization than automation “technicians” who are focused on building automation capabilities across the enterprise.

All parties may feel that they are succeeding, but the reality is that organizations are replacing old silos with new silos. The result is a disconnect between technology and organization. At least 10 major technologies such as social media, mobile, analytics, cloud, blockchain, robotics, automation, Internet of Things, digital fabrication, augmented reality, etc. will be leveraged to enable true digital transformation. There is a nature. Intelligent automation integrates only a few of these, typically analytics, cloud, automation, and to some extent the Internet of Things.

Organizationally, the processes and staffing of the digital transformation and automation agenda are separate and not converging. They produce the result “ships passing at night”. In short, “strategists” see automation as a tactical tool. “Technicians” see digital transformation as largely irrelevant to them.

The secret to success: integration

A survey of over 1,000 companies shows that some organizations are breaking the deadlock. Senior executives adopt a strategic mindset when deploying robotic processes and intelligent automation. In these organizations, the transformational agenda and corporate vision come from the top. As a result, automation and strategic integration with other digital technologies significantly improve both customer experience and operational efficiency. For example, one North American bank realized a 400% improvement in enterprise effectiveness as measured by increased customer retention and revenue from broader service integration and a 200% savings in efficiency.

Successful digital transformation organizations start with an external focus on their customers and competition, and use this perspective to externally design end-to-end business process architectures that accelerate digital innovation.

But most organizations still have a long way to go to match Singapore-based DBS Bank, which has been voted the world’s best bank many times and is a prime example of digital leadership. It has multiple digital transformation capabilities built over time to deploy intelligent automation that is well integrated into your digital platform.

Digital advancements: Needles in the tail?

Between 2020 and 2022, our research found that more organizations are moving faster with their digital transformation. In some cases, it was driven by the need to survive in pandemic conditions. But this sense of rapid digital advancement can create a further shortsightedness that blinds the executives of these organizations to what others around them are doing. We invest more, faster and more strategically than the industry average. We are also improving our execution capabilities to further improve our earnings, profitability, market valuations and other leading indicators.

But the widening gap between some of the most successful digital leaders and others should not be seen as inevitable. Digital narratives don’t need to prick their tails. Time and time again we find that it is the productive combination of 25% technology and 75% management that leads to good business performance. Strategy, Planning, Culture, Governance, Digital Platforms, Change Management and Navigation, whatever your competitive position, according to the latest research from LSE in partnership with Knowledge Capital Partners. This is a tough one, but all the evidence at least suggests that not trying is no longer a competitive option.