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Change Management, Continuous Improvement, Creativity & Innovation, Viewpoint!

The 4 Ds of Digital Transformation

I’ve written previously about some of the work I’ve been doing in the Third Sector with my colleagues at Sho-Net where we are helping charities consider how best to benefit from digital transformation. We talk about the three main drivers:

  • Improving services for beneficiaries
  • Improving fundraising effectiveness
  • Reducing back-office costs (efficiency improvement)

We also talk about the importance of starting with strategy (why?) following on with process design (how?) and finally implementing new IT and people capabilities (what?). We’ve seen too many strategy documents that say “our digital strategy is to implement a new CRM system” or “to build an app“.

Over recent weeks, I’ve been thinking about the different approaches taken by  organisations in this brave new world of Digital Transformation. In practice, nobody needs to “do” Digital Transformation but many do need to up their game and improve performance. I’ve tried to pull together my thoughts on the different organisational responses in the following grid (Consultants always have 4-box grids):

Digital Transformation - 4Ds

My 4 Ds are Dinosaurs, Delayers, Donkeys and Disrupters.

Digital Dinosaurs – these organisations can’t change or won’t change

  • This digital stuff doesn’t apply to us
  • We’re doing just fine as we are

Digital Delayers – these organisations are ignoring the value of new technology but using it to save money in the short-term

  • Cost-saving, efficiency focus
  • Simple automation of existing processes or replacing people with IT

Digital Donkeys – these organisations are wasting money on shiny new IT toys

  • Spend on new IT but no change in thinking, process or behaviour (e.g. give everyone an iPad; put the HR Manual in an App)
  • Costs go up, performance stays the same

Digital Disrupters – these organisations are re-shaping the market and creating new markets

  • New technologies used in new ways to create new value…
  • New products, new services, new delivery channels, new customers

At the moment, it’s very much my emerging thoughts and I need to add a bit more detail around what we see each of the 4 types of organisation doing.












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