Being digital in 2018 : No wild rush forward anymore

The digital industry is addicted to innovation and novelty. It’s always in search of innovation and the “Next Big Thing”. It’s more about geek stuff than business issues, more customer-focused than employee-focused.

It comes with a lot of noticeable good sides. It’s always reinventing itself, it’s continuously innovating, it’s curious.

But it also come with some bad sides. It’s always looking for the latest technological novelty, the latest online service, the latest app…which it will give up once the enthusiasm caused by the novelty effect will drop or once it finds something better. It’s ok but irrelevant to the enterprise world that, even if I agree it’s too often too conservative, needs continuity.

The digital industry also has a consumer mentality. It will make you dream about communication and customer relationship but will never care about how it will impact your organization.

Digital dynamism can cause corporate inertia

Seen from the inside or as an external observer it’s exciting.

Seen from inside a business that does not has le means to have many irons in the fire or to throw away every 1 or 2 years what has just been achieved may it be disturbing and cause reactions that don’t benefit to digital transformation.

• Too many topics, we can’t explore everything so let’s do nothing.

• It’s a hot topic today but will it still be in 6 months or one year ? So wait and do nothing.

• This is useless because it will be replaced by something else within one year. So do nothing.

• It looks promising but we don’t know how it will impact our organization. So wait and do nothing.

• All this shiny technology is impressive but I’m not a Fortune 500 company nor a startup. So let’s do nothing.

When you have no money, use common sense

Contrary to large businesses that can lead many experimentations at the same time while still making the existing run, knowing that not everything will be successful, the large majority of businesses can’t afford such approaches, have to make choices and have the impression that everything is so wide and fast-changing that they must wait to be sure before doing anything. By waiting for the digital industry to take a break or slow down they eventually end by doing nothing because what happens is the exact opposite.

There’s no magic wand and decisions will depend on one’s context but some good practices may work, based on common sense.

• Admit that it’s impossible to follow all tracks and chose one’s priorities.

• Once priorities are known, stick to it and don’t change in 6 months because a shiny new thing appeared on the market.

• Paradoxically, accept to stop if it appears that an idea was wrong.

• Don’t mistake projects for tools : one can set the right priority and go with the wrong technology. That’s not a reason to ditch the priority. One must persevere with the priority and ditch the technology.•

• Make room for maneuver. Yes you identified a priority and one year after your project is not over but something new deserves to become the new priority. If you managed to save a little part of your budget and  don’t use 100% of your resources, maybe you have room to start something while completing your first project.

• Deliver fast. Maybe you will need 2 years to deliver your project but yiu can deliver something smaller and functional after 3 months and improve it every month. It shows everyone you’re making progress, you can refine it over time and if a new priority emerges you can decide that the level of achievement is ok and move to something new because what’s been done is good enough and there’s something more important to do.

But don’t tell yourself that something better will come in one year and that waiting is the best solution. Because something better will always come, in one month or one year and, by postponing decisions one day you will retire without having achieved anything. If you business survives long enough.

Photo credit : Fotolia

Head of People and Business Delivery @Emakina / Former consulting director / Crossroads of people, business and technology / Speaker / Compulsive traveler
Head of People and Business Delivery @Emakina / Former consulting director / Crossroads of people, business and technology / Speaker / Compulsive traveler

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