A good friend of mine, a distinguished professor of mathematics, still hates digitized catalogs in libraries. Before, he knew exactly how to find books and journals. Now, he is expected to remember correct URLs (!), his user name (!!), his current password (!!!). Moreover, he is also supposed to remember where to click, click, and click again. Those patterns and paths can suddenly change – who would think that a small technical update could completely undermine the click logic he’d spent the past months mastering?
How often do we forget about such sceptics when we talk about digitalization and digital transformation? How often do we hear something along the lines of:
“We can always change data in a local Excel copy before reporting”
“We don’t have time to discuss cloud alternatives”
“We have work processes to follow”
“We have used the application for the last 10 years and we know how to troubleshoot it.”
Some people have innovation in their blood while others safeguard the status-quo. Let’s call these two groups visionaries and guardians.
In order to succeed in a digital transformation journey, visionaries have to convince a third group – those with influence or power. By convincing such “early adopters,” visionaries trigger a chain reaction.
A digital transformation journey could start with providing the forecast group with data quality dashboards. Suddenly, the work processes of an entire department will be optimized, digitized, and improved.
Mathematically speaking, we have the following optimization problem:
Maximize profit P from the digital transformation process in your organization
P → max, (1)
Visionaries_in_your_organizations > 0% (2)
Guardians_in_your_organizations < 5% (3)
Start_of_digital_transformation_journey > yesterday. (4)
The algorithm to resolve the problem (1) with constraints (2)–(4) is as follows:
- Be a visionary
- Talk to influencers
III. Show them how much better things work when work processes are digitized/digitalized/automated
- Repeat II–III when needed.