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September 15, 2017

Acknowledging You Have a Problem Is the First Step to Digital Transformation

The first step in making any kind of change, personal, professional or organizational, is acknowledging you have a problem; however, when your organization is in constant motion and in a non-stop, reactive state, it makes recognizing you even have a problem almost impossible. I ran into this exact situation again this morning when the Director of IT cancelled our meeting at the last minute because he had too much work to do. Our meeting was requested by an Executive Director, i.e. business executive, who wants to better understand how they can offer up better digital experiences and tools to students. The constant motion and almost obsessive addiction to action are the root cause for most organizations in changing their behavior and making meaningful, forward progress with today’s digital and highly interconnected world.

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.”

Albert Einstein

I also spoke to a CIO of a private, mid-sized, US-based institution yesterday who relayed a recent story of a department at his school who could not understand why the IT department needed to be involved with the purchase of a new scoreboard and video screen for the outdoor athletic stadium. The response was obvious… do you want wifi? Yes. Do you want it integrated with school announcements? Yes. Do you want social media like Twitter and Instagram to display on our screen? Yes. “Wow, I guess I should have involved you guys sooner.” Almost everything today has a software integration requirement. Have you all seen the latest appliances?

Too many business leaders do not understand nor have a clue about the importance of digital/software strategy and how everything is and needs to be fully integrated while at the same time continue to expect more from the IT department, which is normally in a state of non-stop scrambling to put out all kinds of technical fires/issues. The Director of IT who cancelled was also facing the blame for a 2-day outage of Blackboard.

If all this sounds all too familiar, then you too must do things differently to get better results. The old processes, roles, and decision-making are broken and are putting your organization at risk. To be successful with technology today, your organization needs to change, and for anyone who knows about the prestigious Baldrige Excellence Framework, whose sole purpose is to empower organizations to accomplish their missions, improve results, and become more competitive, the firefighting, i.e. reactive, state is the first stage of maturity, i.e. it’s immature. To change this behavior and move up in maturity scale, your leadership needs to acknowledge you have a problem. Your digital/software strategy must be thoughtful and consider how each tool/app will need to integrate with the rest of your ecosystem. Your customers, internal or external, will expect that. Those of us at Higher Digital would be happy to talk to you about our experiences and how we can help you become more digitally competitive.

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