Digital transformation is dead, long live digital evolution

Digital transformation is dead, long live digital evolution

First of all, we need to understand the difference between digital transformation and digital evolution. Digital transformation is the process by which companies embed technologies across their businesses to drive fundamental change. ‘Transformation’ suggests it has a start and end point or a ‘before and after’. Digital evolution suggests this undertaking isn’t a ‘thing that happens’; it’s a continuous process.

Because to some, the word "transformation" means a complete overhaul, it causes a great deal of anxiety. While "evolution" looks for value that already exists—what a system offers and what an iteration can achieve. It leans more toward "changing," "moving," "adding," and "varying" than "tearing and replacing." The system's foundation is therefore established in the same ground while some components are changed and added.

This is a prime example of how a successful evolution requires more than just technical know-how; it requires a blend of ‘soft skills’, including empathy, patience and self-discipline. So, how do you stay up-to-date in a fast moving world and how do you know where to best place efforts? 


Pace yourself

Recognize the importance of ‘scaling down’ to meet the needs of your organisation. Smaller companies could discover that their technology lacks the breadth of functionality necessary in the medium term to expand and sustain a large digital evolution. Meanwhile, larger firms can struggle as a result of their transformation programmes' extensive scope and complexity.

Starting small and building up is the real art. This doesn't imply compromising on your goals; rather, it means advancing your digital maturity at a rate that works for your company. It's about aiming for longevity with a solid foundation and space to grow. 


Have a plan

It's simple to undervalue the difficulty of an evolution because it's an ongoing process rather than a single project or objective. Make a plan to deal with all the components that will lead you to where you’d like to be.


Start at the beginning

Keep in mind that a digital evolution is not an IT project that depends on technology to succeed or fail. It's an enterprise-wide initiative that needs transformation for it to be effective. This calls for you to concentrate on carrying out your plan, one step at a time.


Take time to rest

It's simple to push your nose to the grindstone and keep grinding but doing so will just make you and your staff exhausted. Focus on the employee experience and spend time engaging your staff so that change is enjoyable rather than being imposed coldly.


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Empower your employees

Cultural and behavioural shifts are necessary within an enterprise if they wish to evolve digitally. These shifts include taking measured risk, encouraging teamwork and providing clarity.  By developing these key elements into formal methods, new behaviours and ways of functioning are reinforced. This approach has long been proven to ease the process of organisational change.


Encourage collaboration

The flexibility to work virtually from any location and the availability of straightforward, user-friendly solutions on virtually any device serve as the foundation for collaboration technologies. You may tap into the group knowledge of your employees when you empower them through your digital transformation with premium solutions that provide integrated tools that encourage everyone to contribute.


Engaging leaders

Senior leaders and those engaged in evolution-specific roles must encourage employees to challenge old ways of working. A collaborative effort from all levels of a business increases the likelihood of success. Employees must feel comfortable enough to take risks, learn from failures and experiment. If digital evolution is to stick within an enterprise, all parties must be on board and engaged within the process.


Provide clarity

Clarify your priorities and vision for the digital world. Employees must comprehend what success looks like and the necessity for change in the organisation. They must also understand the value of change for both themselves and their clients. You must put the ‘must haves’ ahead of the ‘nice-to-haves’ because improving digital maturity will require a number of projects.



Develop your data infrastructure

The likelihood of a successful evolution is more than doubled by implementing digital tools to increase information accessibility throughout your business. You will need to analyse, combine, and transform all points of reference into useful information from the technology you use.

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Focus on new metrics and KPI’s

You can then establish disciplined strategies to achieve goals and identify important data outputs that are beneficial to the whole team. Keep in mind that collaboration only succeeds when all teams transparently exchange data. A well-built infrastructure will allow you to identify new metrics and use new digital tools and dashboards to support evolving performance reviews.


Decide on your single point of truth

Too many businesses today struggle with consolidating many data sources, poor data accuracy, or challenging data accessibility. The majority of businesses have their corporate data dispersed over numerous sources, databases, and email threads. As a result, numerous teams wind up with different copies of the same data, which could result in serious mistakes. To make sure that everyone in an organisation bases business choices on the same data, the SPOT concept is employed. It is a platform where all corporate knowledge and data are centrally kept and managed to prevent duplication and overlap. The choices, procedures, and activities of numerous corporate departments, such as management, human resources, sales, marketing, etc., may be included in this platform.


Integrate to ensure data flows effectively

Integrating your data ensure the technology in your organisation now has quantitative and demonstrable business value. The visibility and trust between business and technology stakeholders are improved through data availability and integrity. Because of their increased agility, product development teams are better able to collaborate with the business to create solutions and make wise choices. The reduction of overlaps and duplications improves the predictability of timeframes, functionality, and cost of digital products.



Futureproof your workforce

The development of talent and skills across the entire organisation is one of the most important factors in the success of a digital evolution initiative. There’s three ways this can be actioned:


Match projects to skill set

Redefining people's roles and duties to match them with business goals mean you get the best team for the job, and employees have more opportunity to work on a range of projects. Employers are increasingly allocating workers to projects based on their skill set rather than their title. In other words, instead of keeping static teams, businesses are bringing employees onto projects much like sports teams would recruit and trade specific players based on their specialised skills.


Skills/competency mapping

To spot skills gaps and fill them in time to satisfy company needs, it is crucial to comprehend present competencies and anticipate the need for new skills in the future. Companies will need to manage flexible, networked teams and keep up with the rapid evolution of new technologies, which makes competence/skills mapping essential. Utilising the particular roles of integrators and technology-innovation managers are the two critical components to future-proofing your workforce as it evolves digitally. Potential gaps between the traditional and digital elements of the organisation can be filled by enlisting the specific roles of integrators and technology-innovation managers. These individuals support the development of better internal capacities among co-workers.


Continuous training

Continuous, on-the-job training will be needed to sustain business initiatives and help employees keep up with technology. We’re seeing “capability academies”–or continuous learning programs–pop up all over the place at the moment.



Bring in the experts

The stakes are high when you’re accountable for large budgets and the success of your products and services. With the right agency on board, you can make sure your organisation’s digital transformation programme succeeds with ease. It can also take some of the stress out of the process, and the comfort in knowing you’re going about the process the right way.


In short, digitally advanced businesses' capacity to develop more adaptable cultures that see transformation as a journey rather than a goal has contributed to their ascent to that position. As a result, businesses are able to quickly adapt and roll out new capabilities to meet changing client/employee demands and expectations.

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Sam Page


I have a true passion for people, technology and business and love combining these three areas to create innovative experiences that really make a difference.

I co-founded 7DOTS, an independent creative tech agency, in 2009. At 7DOTS we create digital experiences that drive intelligence, efficiency and growth for a range of domestic and global companies.