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The secret to a successful digital transformation? People

Digital transformation is a buzzword familiar to many. It signifies a process that is underway in many industries today, digitalizing traditional business processes to take advantage of emerging technologies such as cloud computing, machine learning, and process automation, just to name a few.

Yet, this understanding of digital transformation implies that a company can simply implement the latest digital technology and they will be transformed.

The reality is, successful digital transformation is more about people than about technology. Technology can’t implement itself and technology alone will help your business transform its operations, and in some cases, its very business model, in order to thrive in the digital age.

To be successful, business leaders must understand that digital transformation requires a fundamental rethinking of your employees behaviors, as well as organizational design and internal processes.

To help, I have compiled several articles below that explain how leaders can create success in their businesses through the people around them, not just the technology they use.

Feel free to reach out with any comments, or if there are any key articles on this topic I have missed.

Digital transformation is human transformation

By @Digitaltonto

Utilizing technology effectively is imperative if you want to stand a chance in a competitive marketplace. But, having the latest technology at your organization and being successful with it are two different things. In this article by Greg Satell, he discusses “managing the cultural and organizational challenges” with people, and how that will create technological success. Read more.

Hacking the human side of digital transformation

By @jbberlin

Change is hard. Our brains are wired to like what’s comfortable, even if it means being stuck and not progressing. In this article, Johann Berlin discusses how human resistance to change can impact digital transformation projects. Berlin believes building the right team rituals in business can create stability during technological change and uncertainty. Read more.

Breaking down the 6 pillars of digital transformation from the CEO’s perspective

By @danielnewmanUV

As a CEO, there are many responsibilities to take on if you want your business to succeed. Particularly, you must take the reins if you want your company to have a successful digital transformation. Daniel Newman discusses how CEO’s can have digital transformation success through 6 pillars: culture, customer experience, people, innovation, change, and leadership. Read more.

CIOs need to consider the human side of digital transformation

By @zkerravala

“Digital transformation is happening faster than ever, putting pressure on IT to change,” says Zeus Kerravala, CIO of ZK Research. These changes that we are expecting to see from IT cannot happen with digital transformation alone – human expertise is crucial. Kerravala highlights 5 areas in which CIOs are noticing a human talent shortage, including data analytics, AI, and cybersecurity, and how employees can fine tune their skills to find digital success. Read more.

How to get digital transformation right? Don’t just focus on the technology

By @AmityMillhiser

Digital transformation has become a priority for many companies, but fewer are having success with it. The focus is too much on the end game and not enough on the journey to get there. Amity Millhiser notes that the thousands of small-steps with co-workers and clients is what it takes to reach your goals. She highlights 3 important steps to help you achieve successful digital transformation, including bringing people on your journey, listening to customers, and leading with value and purpose. Read more.

Is your company ready for digital transformation? Find out with our digital transformation assessment and guide.

Change Management Digital Transformation Disruption Organizational Design Technology

Top Reads: 7 Self-Assessment Areas for Digital Transformation and AEM Readiness

Are you in the early stages of undertaking transformative change with your organization? Change can be both exciting and intimidating, depending on your level of preparedness. This is true whether you are adopting an all-in-one experience management system like Adobe Experience Manager or even digitizing paper processes. To help with your preparation, we’ve compiled a fantastic collection of articles in the areas we believe are most critical to a successful transformation.


Successfully implementing a large-scale project requires a deep understanding of your ultimate goal and the strategy that will get you there. You must have a clear vision of success, objectives that tie into your overall business objectives, and a realistic understanding of what can be reasonably achieved.

Leadership commitment

No major transformation is a one-person job. Do you know who your key stakeholders are, and are they engaged and committed to the success of the project? Is your project a priority at the highest level of the organization? Do your executives have the skills to lead the company through the change?

Change management

As we’ve said before, change is hard. There’s simply no getting around it. But being realistic about the magnitude of the change and communicating effectively with your team can go long way toward easing the growing pains you are bound to experience.

Organizational alignment

When you think about your organization as a whole, how would you rate its capacity for change? Large-scale projects require an enormous amount of bandwidth, and the attention and coordination of business units across the enterprise. Having the right culture is an important and often overlooked factor.

Business alignment

An effective digital transformation isn’t simply doing things differently; it can fundamentally change the nature of the business itself. When you assess and redesign your business processes, it can call into question some ‘sacred truths’ about your business and operating models, and force you to redefine what it means to deliver value to your customers.

Technology alignment

Perhaps the most exciting aspect of digital transformation is the promise of new capabilities provided by technology. Even skilled IT teams can be pushed to their limit in adopting new tech. It’s important to recognize when outside expertise is needed, and be open to it. CIOs and other tech leaders will need to be both flexible and disciplined to make the project a success.

Risk and security

Nearly any big change comes with some kind of risk. The important thing is being aware of the risks involved and doing what you can to mitigate them. Maintaining the security and integrity of your data has to be a primary concern.

We hope you’ve found the articles above helpful in preparing you for the change you are about to undertake. Ready to assess just how prepared you are?

Download our 21-point readiness assessment here.