Digital Transformation: What 99% do wrong

It is a time when hardly any organization is not transforming. An old consulting proverb is: Structure follow Strategy.

Structure follows strategy means that the (transformation) strategy is drawn first, followed by the big struggle for the organizational chart. When these backdoor activities have lasted more than 1 year, when the fog of uncertainty about personal fates has cleared, then usually comes the great awakening: In the best case scenario, the customer did not notice any change at all. In the more realistic case, he sees a deterioration in performance.

This instinctive reflex from strategy to organization chart is comprehensible from a human perspective. But it is dead wrong.

Process follows Strategy must be the paradigm

Successful transformation does not make this error. Of course, first you need clarity about the why & what. Top management is responsible for the definition of this northern star, but from a change perspective it is worth involving the organization from the very beginning (see here).

When the direction has been clarified, it is a matter of turning the focus on where changes really add value for the customer or the organisation. This can be the case with business processes, the culture or the skills of employees.

Only when the „how“ to the transformation has been clarified and worked out, the „with what“ follows. This includes the question of the „organizational infrastructure“ such as organization chart.

This is not new wisdom, by the way; the business engineering approach for successful transformations has been postulating this approach since the turn of the millennium (Österle & Winter, 2000). With the many failed transformations, this procedure is now also gaining attention in practice.

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