Digital Transformation – 5% digital 95 % human behaviour

Digital Transformation - Human Behaviour

Digital Transformation is very often marketed as a way of converting business processes and everything around them in a digital format – giving bigger cost savings, better and faster results. It means different things to different people but many associate it to going paperless, using the cloud, replacing legacy systems and/or to the onboarding of emerging technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) and IOT.

We do not want to burst any bubble, but in all our past digital transformation projects the biggest and most crucial element of a digital transformation project was NOT the digital element.


Technology is the enabler of digital transformation. Technology can be a big driver to business innovation. So yes, selecting and implementing an appropriate digital architecture that streamlines the business process at hand is crucial but there is one element which has far more weight in the success of a digital transformation project – the human behaviour.


A recent study found out that 84 percent of digital transformation initiatives fail. And there is a recurring reason : the inadequate attention to human behaviour. Focusing on technology alone is putting the cart before the horse.


If you just deploy the most amazing technology solution – that fits perfectly in the challenge at hand – yet ignore the human element, rest assured that your digital transformation project is doomed to fail. Not 70, 80 or 90% failure – it would be a 100% failure. Yes 100% without ifs and buts.


A key step is that of creating a stakeholder map which identifies all the stakeholders involved in the digital transformation project and then list down how each stakeholder is affected by the project. Customers, partners, employees, institutions – they all form part of the stakeholders.


The customer/client must remain your key stakeholder. Every piece of the digital transformation puzzle must lead to a better customer experience.  If there is just one thing to obsess about it’s that of making sure that the customer is at the centre of your digital transformation process. Once this is in place many other elements of the project will fall into place much easier.


Employees are the other key element. Everyone – from the CEO down has his contribution to give in the success of a digital transformation project. Such a project must be championed by the CEO. It is not an IT project led by the CTO or CIO. They stem from the overall business strategy, spearheaded by the CEO.


The organisation’s culture – the culture of its people – their mindset is at the heart of every such project. It changes the way the stakeholders interact with each other and with the systems at their disposal. If the organisation has a culture of easily adapting and of onboarding new processes/methods/technologies without too much hassle, the success rate of the project increases exponentially. A culture that promotes the status quo will hinder any attempt for change. Even if it can be demonstrated that the project will ease some of the stakeholder’s pain points, they would still be afraid to take the chance and would prefer their current comfort zone rather than the promised unknown. Fostering a culture of continuous innovation – where everyone collaborates and openly communicates as one team is critical. 


Nowadays going fully digital is no luxury. To remain competitive an organisation needs to constantly evolve, using technology as an enabler of better customer experience. Your industry might not be disrupted by the likes of Uber, Amazon or Netflix but it is surely not immune to the benefits technology has made possible.


Leaving such transformation for bad times – when the bottom line is already badly affected – might be too late. Luckily you do not have to reinvent the wheel. While there is no one-size-fits-all formula, many organisations have already gone through the process – and both pitfalls and best practices are well known. 


The secret to digital transformation is attention to human behaviour and the first step is to determine the WHY. Why are we doing this digital transformation project? What KPIs and business goals will determine  a successful outcome?


If you would like to know more about the first steps of your Digital Transformation project give us a call on +356 99853658 or get in touch via the Contact form. We will work hand-in-hand through all the steps – both the technical/digital part and more importantly the part where human behaviour is involved.