The Digital Transformation Industrial Complex

Don’t get the title wrong, I’m not against big business in any sector, on any terms. They get a lot right and contribute immeasurable value in the way of goods, services, employment, R&D, social initiatives, and in extraordinary cases, customer delight. They do it all with a big targets on their backs, sometimes deserved, frequently not.

The thing big organizations struggle with is simplicity. The digital transformation conversation is a perfect example. The public DX pitch is one of carefully choreographed impossible complexity where a select few claim dominance with big words, massive software investment and armies of consultants. In reality they struggle internally with the same challenges, under the weight of their own sales pitch. Because it isn’t about any of those things.

Thriving businesses are 100% about people, both internal (employees) and external (customers). We all know. We all agree. It’s simple, not always easy.

But nobody ever got fired for hiring [insert big-box consultancy], right? Maybe not but is that really the road to success?

Look at what happens when a costly initiative fails to deliver on some or all of its promise. Step 1: leverage basic human psychology and identify a boogeyman on the inside – lack of C-suite support, failure to achieve buy-in, skills gap among the ranks. Step 2: ramp up a favorable press campaign.

The infuriating part is that the simplicity is pre-built into excuses, not in the desired result. It’s backwards.

Perhaps a better approach is to consider ways to build simplicity into an initiative before excuse-making finds ground to take root.