How to actually get productivity gains from digital transformation

In an article in the New York Times, Steve Lohr wrote about the lack of productivity gains from digital transformation. He used a specific example of a doctor who saw fewer patients and earned less money as a result. (

We have seen this a number of times: many companies implement technology rather than transform their business and suffer as a result.

Billions of dollars spent on ERP, internal social networks and other "productivity" tools have led to nothing. Worse, these “solutions” often grow administrative teams, increase transaction costs, frustrate vendors, annoy employees, create lots of busyness and yield no productivity gains.

The reason or this failure is that they focus on digital rather than transformation, they ignore the human aspects and assume that a new tool will lead to improved results.

But yet another communications tool is not going to enhance productivity.

Transformation is possible. We have helped companies think about transformation on small and large scales, from expense and sales management, to automation and ERP. If done right, these projects can lead to real, valuable, productivity gains.

The difference, whether spending fifty billion dollars or fifty thousand dollars, is a focus on transformation over digital. The technology does not matter much, transformation is critical.

Focusing on Transformation requires a clear, defined, plan:

  • Start with a goal: define clearly what needs to change and what the results should look like.

  • Define an approach that achieves the goal: This is where a digital solution might fit, but whether digital or paper copies the approach needs to be aligned to the goal.

  • Develop a comprehensive execution plan with achievable milestones and metrics. This must include change management to help people understand how they will change the way they work and interact with the technology.

The benefits of digital transformation are huge. From small companies implementing streamlined expense management and invoicing to multinationals using predictive analytics to improve asset health or tap into unexpected ideas from around the globe; digital opportunities abound.

But increasing productivity requires transformation. If your digital implementations aren’t yielding results look at the business and the people. Create an executable strategy. This will be much more effective than implementing yet another productivity tool.

#Strategy #digital

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