Balancing Digital’s Pains and Gains

For the first time, I’ve published directly to LinkedIn rather than using the blog. Balancing Digital’s Pains and Gains examines how digital leaders need to make a strong case for investment in digital whilst also acknowledging the pain points that are to be faced. My argument is that investment is more likely to come when we have acknowledged why the transformation to digital will be hard and described how we will handle it.

To answer some of the points that have come up after posting, I thought I’d return to this blog.

The first comment from Paul Francis states:

If you need to convince people of the benefit, you as a “digital professional” can bring to their business, you are arguably better off spending that effort with somebody who already realises this. There are no shortage of takers if you look in the right places. The rest will either be out of business or didn’t your help in the first place.

A valid point as there are many companies that fully understand the gains of digital. Why waste our time educating and persuading executives who don’t. To answer Paul’s question, I find myself attempting to convince people for two reasons. Firstly it’s my job as a digital transformation consultant to help businesses transform to digital and this endeavour often requires me to be an evangelist for digital.

The second reason, which is far more important, is that I often passionately believe in what digital could do for a client. When I see a great business that isn’t taking full advantage of digital, I just want to help them see things as I do. I want them to see what a digitised customer experience could look like or how they could pivot their business model to a digital one.

The second comment from Gavin Scott said:

Interesting points. I’ve recently been having conversations around this, as “digital” seems to bring its own level of complexity to this issue. In siloed businesses, this means painting pictures for different audiences.

I’m a firm believer in that the business should drive digital transformation with clear business goals. But we shouldn’t be afraid to involve different parts of the organization in defining these SMART gains, for example, IT. It will help paint a much better picture that engages the organization as a whole and bring everyone on board.

Completely agree. If digital transformation is led from a single silo (be it marketing, customer experience or digital), you risk creating another silo. Digital should touch every part of a business and, therefore, should definitely not be siloed. IT should be especially involved in the agenda. Consequently, it is necessary for the transformation leaders to communicate the pains and gains of digital transformation to each specific audience in turn. Furthermore, the communication should be targeted on the things that matter most to that group of the business.

Thanks to Gavin and Paul for engaging in the discussion. If you have anything to ask or add, please add it below in the comments.

David Sealey is a trusted adviser to senior executives on getting the most from their investment in digital and data. David created Storm81 as a place to share his passion for business, digital technologies, multichannel marketing and everything else around these topics.

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