We are never finished with digital transformation.
In the late 90’s, I worked as a project manager helping build early web sites. For many of the companies I worked with, this was their first-ever web site.
One of my clients was a regional airline based in Milwaukee called Midwest Express. I remember big hoopla to celebrate when their web site went live. The launch was even timed for the morning of a board meeting to show how this signified a new era for the company. Yet there was also a sense that a box had been ticked – that the airline had become officially digital – and it was otherwise back to business as usual. There was no plan for what came next. We briefly celebrated and then moved on to the next client’s web site.
Twenty-plus years later, I see a similar binary one-and-done mindset. A Forester study a couple years ago reported that 21% of companies think they’ve already completed digital transformation.
A related McKinsey report assessed that 79% of companies “are still in the early stages of their technology transformation.”
Digital transformation is a process, not an event, and the goals and priorities of the journey are different for every company. Just as COVID is bringing fresh urgency to make changes, there is resistance to how deep those changes should go.
Here are a few related cartoons I’ve drawn over the years: