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Change Management

How do you know your organization is ready for digital transformation?

As digital technologies continue to transform entire industries, many organizations are going through large-scale change projects to keep with competitors and digital trends. In a previous post, we asked experts how to get started with digital transformation. But it begs the question: how do you know if your organization is ready for digital transformation in the first place?

Instead of simply giving you our own opinion, we reached out to leading digital transformation experts to give you a compilation of the best thoughts across the field. Specifically, we asked these influencers:

What is the most important success factor in any digital transformation?

Be warned, some of their forward-thinking answers may surprise you!

Dion Hinchcliffe, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research

“For a digital transformation to succeed, it must successfully combine and sustain tech change with human change. It’s not enough to seek to remake one’s digital capabilities if you don’t have the people with the talent, mindset, skills, and ability to execute. A digital culture and true freedom to innovate are just as vital as adopting new technology.”

Dion on LinkedIn | @dhinchcliffe on Twitter

Ronald van Loon, Director, Advertisement

“Digital transformation requires agile, customer-centric teams that can easily adapt to the ever changing state of client demands, as well as a solid, end-to-end enterprise data management platform that can help businesses prepare for intelligent capabilities. Combined, they form the backbone for establishing a digital businesses, that can adapt to the ever fluctuating state of technology in a modern world.”

Ronald on LinkedIn | @Ronald_vanLoon on Twitter

Tamara McCleary, CEO, Thulium

“The most important success factor in any digital transformation is people. It’s the culture of an organization that either speeds along or completely stalls digital transformation. Focusing on the culture, the human beings tasked with transformation is the most important success factor.”

Tamara on LinkedIn | @TamaraMcCleary on Twitter

Mike Quindazzi, Managing Director, PwC

“Digital transformation isn’t just about new technologies – it’s about what the technologies can enable humans to accomplish. It involves new business models that solve complex problems, create distinctive customer experiences and accelerate the workforce’s ability to create a competitive advantage.”

Mike on LinkedIn | @MikeQuindazzi on Twitter

Theo Lau, Speaker, Writer, Startup Advisor Founder, Unconventional Ventures

“Having a clearly defined vision of where the company should and needs to be is, in my opinion, the most critical success factor in any digital transformation project. This will help drive the ‘how’ towards the end state, and obtain buy-in for the ‘why’.’”

Theo on LinkedIn | @psb_dc on Twitter

Jim Marous, Co-Publisher, The Financial Brand

“Digital transformation is not about converting paper to PDFs. It is about rethinking underlying processes to take advantage of the benefits of data, advanced analytics and digital technology for a better end result. By starting from the inside-out, costs can be reduced, revenues can be increased, security can be enhanced, errors can be reduced and customer experiences can be improved.”

Jim on LinkedIn | @JimMarous on Twitter

Alvin Foo, Managing Director, Reprise Digital

“Successful digital transformation for any organization starts from the top! The leadership team must be clear with what they want to achieve before the mission can be driven down. The transformation process should be aligned with the customer needs, wants and priorities with digital at the core.”

Alvin on LinkedIn | @alvinfoo on Twitter

Danielle Guzman, Global Head of Social Media & Distributed Content, Mercer

“Culture is the most important factor in digital transformation. It is much more important than technology. Having a strong set of shared values and beliefs that drive a change in behaviors will enable an organization to get through the most challenging hurdles along the way. Ultimately, success comes through a both a top-down and a bottom-up approach.”

Danielle on LinkedIn | @guzmand on Twitter

Chris Becker, CEO at NetEffect

“To maximize your success in digital transformation, you must ensure you have a clear and measurable understanding of your objectives at the top, including the commitment to see the efforts through in the face of obstacles, delays and adversity. This isn’t easy and it takes time. Assess the organization and people side of the transformation – how talent needs, gaps, roles, and skills will change – and most importantly, do not procrastinate on starting this part of the journey.”

Chris on LinkedIn | @beckercs on Twitter

Andreas Staub, Managing Partner at FehrAdvice & Partners AG

“In a word, culture. Digital transformation is successful or fails with human behavior. I love the quote by Clay Shirky: ‘Revolution doesn’t happen when society adopts new technologies—it happens when society adopts new behaviors.’ Therefore, I’m convinced that culture is the most essential success factor and we have a lot of empirical evidence from projects with banks and insurance companies in Switzerland.”

Andreas on LinkedIn | @andi_staub on Twitter

Michael Krigsman, Industry Analyst

“Digital transformation is about people, not technology. Establishing the right culture, mindset, goals, and metrics is, therefore, a key success factor for any program of digital transformation. Of course,  factors related to people are the hardest to change and demand real attention from senior leaders.”

Michael on LinkedIn | @mkrigsman on Twitter | Website

Tiffani Bova, Growth & Innovation Evangelist

“Digital is about technology. Transformation is about people and motivating teams to change their mindset.”

Tiffani on LinkedIn | @Tiffani_Bova on Twitter

In today’s world, the need to transform your business and embrace digital technology is recognized across almost every industry. However, a real challenge for many organizations is ensuring that the investment of time and energy, which is often heavy, is well spent.  

While no organization can ever be completely ready for a digital transformation, there is a lot you should be doing before the project starts to ensure its success. To help, we created a short, 3-5 minute self-evaluation to help you assess your readiness for success with your project.

Download this self-assessment if you want to:

  1. Identify pain points and vulnerabilities that will help you succeed in your digital transformation journey.
  2. Evaluate how well the platform competitors deal with these challenge areas.
  3. Avoid surprises that can undermine your success.
Change Management

Are you ready to succeed in digital transformation of your business?

Whether you have already chosen Adobe as your enterprise marketing platform, or are currently evaluating other options such as Salesforce, Oracle, or IBM, it’s vital to understand how well-positioned you are to succeed at transforming your organization’s content strategy.

The benefits of transforming how you produce and distribute content in your organization are many:

  • new customer acquisition,
  • organic growth of your existing customer base,
  • new product launch awareness,
  • higher search result rankings (SEO),
  • increased earned media,
  • increased marketing team efficiency, and more.

Above all, the opportunity is to create a best-in-class experience for key stakeholders, including customers, employees and target markets.

Choice and access to content is greater than ever. Getting your message through is harder than ever and requires mastery of several key areas:

While technology is often the most tangible and high profile element contributing to your success, it is usually not the greatest challenge facing a digital transformation project. Everything on the technology side can go perfectly and efforts can still fail due to your organization’s inability to plan for and execute change.

We have developed a self-assessment tool to help executives assess readiness for digital transformation and to aid in building a strategy and implementation plan for achieving success.

In our experience, success is based on seven key areas: Strategy, Leadership, Change Management, Organizational Alignment, Business Alignment, Technology Alignment, and Risk and Security. So, we’ve developed 21 questions, 3 in each area, to focus you in on how ready you are to succeed.

No organization is ever fully ready for the digital transformation journey right out of the gate – nor should that be expected. Tireless energy is required to manage and improve capabilities on many fronts. So, don’t worry if, after completing this assessment, you end up on the low end of the spectrum. All the better to gain insight and plan now to address the issues in advance. The journey itself also helps drive actions and learnings that close the gaps and build the capabilities needed for success.

Download this self-assessment if you want to:

  1. Identify pain points and vulnerabilities that will help you success on your digital transformation journey.
  2. Evaluate how well the platform competitors deal with these challenge areas.
  3. Avoid surprises that can undermine your success.
Change Management

Corporate Innovation Q&A with Chris Becker

NetEffect CEO Chris Becker was recently featured in a roundtable discussion on Corporate Innovation hosted by Check out the full discussion here or read Chris’ responses below.

What is one example that comes to your mind when you are thinking of corporate innovation?

A great example of corporate innovation is Starbucks. They have combined their high-quality products and dedicated customer base and deployed a range of innovative digital tools to re-invent their coffee-buying experience. Not only can you pay with your mobile app which is connected to your credit card or PayPal account, but you can also place your order in advance and pick it up at any location – talk about a frictionless experience! Not only is Starbucks innovating in the coffee business, they have become one of the largest mobile payment providers as well.

Through the Starbucks Reward Program, they are collecting large amounts of exclusive customer data that assist them in trying to craft the perfect personalized experience. While other companies definitely use loyalty programs and various digital tools to understand and design a seamless customer experience, to me, Starbucks always seems to be one step ahead of the rest.

Why is corporate innovation getting more attention now than ever before?

With the rise of disruptive platforms like Airbnb, Amazon and Uber specializing in fast and simple customer experiences, CEOs everywhere are realizing they need to innovate in order to keep their businesses relevant in this rapidly changing digital world.

In the past decade, large companies have started to see small startups entering their industries and starting to have an impact. With daily business conversations centering around ‘digital, cloud, mobile, social, big data’, CEOs and business leaders are under increasing pressure to understand and assess the risks and opportunities. Many CEOs have jumped on the innovation bandwagon, as they no longer have an option not to. Corporate innovation is and must continue to be a major topic of conversation.

How are large corporations working with entrepreneurs and startups to improve their business?

Entrepreneurs and startups can hold the key to innovation that corporations often lack. They can breathe life into them with fresh eyes, unique problem-solving skills, critical innovations and the potential to tap into new and expanded markets.

Corporations are not startups and really shouldn’t strive to be. Rather, as discussed by Tendayi Viki, established companies need to create innovation ecosystems, recognizing different areas of the business as distinct business entities, each at a different level of maturity. Some corporations are starting to take this ecosystem approach, which helps them work with entrepreneurs and startups to gain a unique solution to a specific problem.

How can corporations break out of the classic rigidness associated with large rigid organizations and become more flexible?

A common trap for killing innovation is to follow a traditional approach that comes with rigid corporate business models: striking up a project team, creating a committee or having ‘regular meetings’. Forget it. If these activities haven’t worked in the past, even for more standard efforts, why would they work for your most challenging and disruptive priorities?

While there’s no one recipe for success and every business situation is different, learning how to adapt your mindset and organizational culture to digital innovation and transformation only increase your likelihood of success.

Creating disruption from within is about more than launching a new initiative with a catchy name or creating an investment fund. It can’t happen without teaching your people how to think and behave more like entrepreneurs, risk takers, and innovators. You need to make people in all parts of your organization accountable for voicing new ideas, taking chances, challenging norms (and senior management), and moving things forward in a sometimes ambiguous environment.

Without vocal, repeated and demonstrable support for these behaviors, sustained innovation will not happen.

An organization’s people are the drivers of innovation and disruption. Corporate executives need to nurture this environment, not try to control and direct. The ideas that will drive the long-term success of a company do not come from steering committees. People that live and breathe the business, serve customers day in and day out, know the intricacies of the products and services, and understand the good, the bad and the ugly of your company – they are the ones who will lead the way.

Organizational Design

Organization Design: 5 Must-Read Articles to Transform your Business

Clearly, organization design plays a key role in the success of any company – but it goes well beyond some geometric shapes on a page in an employee handbook. There are endless opinions on what is best, but we can generally agree that effective and strategic management of organization design is far more than the traditional adjustment of those lines and boxes and is critical to staying ahead and remaining competitive – no matter what might get thrown your way.

Below, I have suggested 5 articles to give you a good understanding of what strategic, intentional organization design is (and what it isn’t), along with critical fundamentals and practical application tools on getting it right the first time that are universal to most companies regardless of size, demographics or current structure.

Organization design: The Missing Link Between Strategic Planning and Execution

You’ve invested valuable resources into designing the perfect strategic plan. Now what? Your plan isn’t the problem, but your execution could be. In this short read, Ron Capelle offers three critical steps to ensure your new strategic plan moves your company from a carefully constructed theory into real life reality and the results you expect. Read more

Boosting Performance Through Organization Design

Is your business more likely than its peers to be flexible and successfully responsive to changing business conditions? This detailed article is based on a late 2016 survey of 1,100 executives and other employees at companies with more than 1,000 employees, representing ten industries in more than 40 countries. In it, BCG offers in-depth discussion, analysis, supporting evidence, links to related articles, and recommendations regarding six factors of organizational design most likely to influence a company’s performance, growth and profits.

“A company that incorporates all six will benefit from a multiplier effect: its chance of becoming a top performer increases to more than 50%”.

Read more

How Organization Redesign Could Help You Survive The Age of Disruption

In these times of disruption, fast and furious is generally the rule. To not only keep up, but to stay ahead, Steve Olenski explains that organizations need to “maintain a strong yet adaptive organizational design.” But how? In this article, you will learn four effective steps to clarify what to keep and where to improve, and lay strengthening groundwork to continually adapt and remain competitive. Read more

10 Guiding Principles Of Organization Design

Top CEOs recognize the need for organization change, but they also understand that “shifting the lines and boxes in an org chart” won’t cut it in this business environment.

“A company must make its changes as effectively and painlessly as possible, in a way that aligns with its strategy, invigorates employees, builds distinctive capabilities, and makes it easier to attract customers.”

With an average tenure of only five years, global company CEOs generally have one shot to get it right. However, companies across all industries and geographies can benefit from the fundamental principles offered. Gary L. Neilson, Jamie Estupiñán, and Bhushan Sethi have compiled this article that is well worth the longer read as it provides the sustainable “how to” for leaders whose strategies require a different kind of organization than the one they have today. Read more

Getting Organizational Redesign Right

Initiating organization change that results in disappointment obviously leads to reduced-morale, wasted time and lost expense, not to mention hesitancy and skepticism towards trying again. The good news is that leaders can dramatically increase their odds for success…the first time…using the nine golden rules illustrated in this article. Read more

Change Management

Change Management in Your Organization

In previous posts, we’ve shared some expert opinions for getting started with digital transformation, as well as some recommended reading on the topic. And while technology gets a lot of the attention, the truth about transformation is it has more to do with people. ‘Transformation’ means change. Change is hard. So I’ve compiled a handful of articles of interest to any leader responsible for change management within their organization.

What Everyone Gets Wrong About Change Management

“With serial transformations becoming the norm, a key strategic question for any corporate leader is, How can we make our next transformation flourish?”

In this piece from HBR, N. Anand and Jean-Louis Barsoux lay out some common ‘transformation traps’, including getting distracted by too many priorities. Read more

Why We Need To Rethink Organizational Change Management

Even with the best of intentions, many organizations are simply not set up to manage change well. Consider the organizational design of your company – is it nimble or is it rigid? Do change mandates come exclusively from the top, or are individual team members empowered to contribute ideas and find solutions? You can communicate about change all you want, but it will continue to be painful if your company is designed for stability instead of agility. Read more

12 Principles of Successful #CEM Change Management

Change is hard, and it’s also inevitable. And perhaps one of the hardest things to change is the experience your customer has throughout the course of their interactions with the various touchpoints of your business. If you’re having trouble getting your team to adopt the change you want to see, your organization may be experiencing change fatigue. Have a look at these 12 principles of customer experience change management, expanded from Dr. John Kotter’s 8-step process for leading change. Read more

Change Management for Digital Transformation: What’s different?

It’s not enough for CIOs to address the technical components of change. An effective change management strategy must address a company’s culture, not just its processes. CIOs will have to work collaboratively with the rest of the executive team to enact meaningful, permanent change beyond IT.

“…it’s not necessarily the competition that’s going to change the way you do business, it’s the customer.”

Read more

5 Ways to Lead a Change Management Initiative

Some projects, when executed successfully, have the potential to take your business to the next level. Those same projects can be disastrous for a company if they fail. In this piece, Andy Crowe list five best practices to follow to make sure your change management initiative is successful. Read more


Digital Transformation: Who to follow on Twitter

For most business leaders, a major concern is the emergence of disruptive digital challengers to established business models. With the accelerated speed at which technology is developing, staying current and up-to-date is a challenge. For these reasons, we’ve pulled together this list of online influencers who are actively engaged in writing about and sharing relevant information about digital transformation across a variety of industries.

Tim O’Reilly | | @timoreilly

Tim O’Reilly is the founder, CEO, and Chairman of O’Reilly Media, and a partner at early stage venture firm O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures (OATV). O’Reilly is a thought leader with a history of driving conversations that have reshaped the computer industry around topics such as open source software, web 2.0, government as a platform and “the WTF economy.”

Ray Wang | | @rwang0

Ray Wang is the Founder and Chairman of Constellation Research, Inc. He’s the author of Disrupting Digital Business, published by Harvard Business Review Press, and the popular business strategy and technology blog, A Software Insider’s Point of View. He has held executive roles in product, marketing, strategy, and consulting at a variety of companies.

Kirk D Borne | | @KirkDBorne

Kirk Borne is Principal Data Scientist within Booz Allen Hamilton’s Strategic Innovation Group (SIG). In this role, Borne is responsible for advancing data science techniques and delivering cutting-edge capabilities to the firm’s clients across disciplines. He’s a top influencer on topics such as big data, machine learning and IoT.

Dion Hinchcliffe | | @dhinchcliffe

Recognized business strategist and transformation consultant, Dion Hinchcliffe is widely regarded as an influential figure in social business, digital strategy, and enterprise IT. Hinchcliffe is currently Chief Strategy Officer at 7Summits and is an industry expert on the topics of digital transformation, social collaboration and next-generation enterprises. He is co-author of Web 2.0 Architectures (O’Reilly), as well as Social Business by Design (John Wiley & Sons, 2012).

Ronald Van Loon | | @Ronald_vanLoon

Ronald Van Loon is Director of Adversitement, a digital consulting firm specializing in Big Data implementations for leading businesses. He is a recognized thought leader and innovator in the field of digital transformation. He maintains an active blog and Twitter presence and is the owner of a Big Data discussion group on LinkedIn with approximately 7,000 members.

Doug Laney | | @Doug_Laney

Doug Laney is a research analyst with Gartner. He advises clients on data and analytics strategy, information innovation, and infonomics (measuring, managing and monetizing information as an actual corporate asset).

Tamara McCleary | | @TamaraMcCleary

Tamara is an internationally-recognized expert on branding, influence, and social business, and the Founder and CEO of Thulium, a brand amplification company. As a keynote speaker, Tamara presents on topics at the intersection of marketing and technology; MarTech, Influencer Marketing in B2B & Enterprise, Social Media Account-Based Marketing, Marketing to Women in the B2C Retail Space, Generational Marketing, Marketing to Millennials, Gender Marketing, Personal Brand, Social Influence & Thought Leadership, Employee Advocacy & Engagement, Women’s Leadership.

Don Tapscott | | @dtapscott

Don Tapscott has been at the forefront of the digital economy for over three decades. He’s the author of 15 books, including Paradigm Shift, The Digital Economy, Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything and, most recently, co-authored with his son Alexander, Blockchain Revolution: How the Technology Underlying Bitcoin is Changing Business, Money and the World. Whatever is happening in technology and digital transformation, you can be sure that Tapscott will be talking about it before most others.

Daniel Newman | | @danielnewmanUV

Daniel Newman is an entrepreneur, keynote speaker, contributor to many popular media outlets, and adjunct professor. He has is the author of 5 Amazon Best Selling Books, including: Building Dragons: Digital Transformation in the Experience Economy, The Ultimate Field Guide to Digital Program Management, Evolve: Marketing as we know it is Doomed, The Millennial CEO, and The New Rules of Customer Engagement.

Charlene Li | | @charleneli

Charlene Li is a Principal Analyst at Altimeter and has published three major books including the New York Times bestseller, Open Leadership. Her newest book, The Engaged Leader, was published in March 2015. She is one of the foremost experts on business strategy and disruptive technology, and a sought-after speaker and advisor to many top global companies.

Shelley Kramer | | @ShellyKramer

Shelly Kramer, co-founder of V3*Broadsuite, has over 20 years of experience in marketing veteran. As a brand strategist delivering integrated marketing solutions in both the B2B and B2C space, she helps businesses leverage the web for growth and profitability. She’s an expert at multi-channel marketing, content strategy and execution, and connecting social media to business initiatives.

Michael Krigsman | | @mkrigsman

Michael Krigsman is an internationally-recognized industry analyst and host of CXOTALK. He has written over 1,000 articles on topics related to innovation as a columnist for ZDNet, particularly around digital transformation and leadership. His work is frequently referenced in major newspapers, television, radio, trade publications, presentations, academic dissertations, blogs, and other media. Michael has been quoted in roughly 50 books, published in the Wall Street Journal, and is syndicated on important technology websites.

Gloria Lombardi | | @LOMBARDI_GLORIA

Gloria Lombardi is an author, journalist, publisher, and founder of MARGINALIA, a magazine about the future of work. She is primarily interested in innovation, internal communications, digital transformation, tech, and publishing.

Oliver Bussmann | | @obussmann

Oliver Bussmann has over 25 years’ experience as a leader in major global organizations, in a wide range of high-tech and financial services sectors spanning diverse geographies. As founder of Bussmann Advisory, he focuses on consulting, coaching and thought leadership services in the areas of digital transformation, innovation and business model re-creation.

Mike Quindazzi | | @MikeQuindazzi

Mike Quindazzi serves as Business Development Leader and Management Consultant at PwC. At PwC, he leads global companies on strategy and transformational initiatives. Specifically, he finds and builds competitive advantages via global expansion, accelerating digital tech (DX), improving customer experience (CX), transforming organizations, and implementing complex systems (HR/ERP).