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James F. Kenefick on Methods of Realizing True Digital Transformation

Digital technologies are changing quite literally everything. From things such as checking Google Maps to asking your phone where the nearest burrito place is, the ways that digital touches our lives are nearly infinite in nature. Our digitized world is also having a significant impact on how we conduct work and business. Tools like artificial intelligence (AI) are simplifying daily operations and tasks, allowing more room for us to focus on the nitty-gritty of our jobs. We also have the capability of conducting business from our homes with ease.

So, where do we stand with digital? Just because we’ve unlocked a few ways to use digital to our advantage doesn’t mean that there aren’t even more ways that digital transformation can occur. We continue to discover and to embrace our curiosity about the potential of the digital format. What can we truly achieve? How do we use these digital technologies to realize actual transformation? Here are a few considerations.

Innovate at Scale

The difference between experimentation and transformation is innovating at scale. According to Forbes, “this is best materialized at the intersection of digital and domain”. Domain refers to how specific industries function, the distinction of how businesses connect, and the linking between the processes.

Domain is the base that digital technologies can be built on. Without this, organizations risk applying technology without purpose and without the desired returns. To innovate at scale, there needs to be a mix between supply chain planners and machine learning engineers. This includes building out a team that has the right amount of talent. Organizations have to “cross-skill” their employees, according to Sanjay Srivastava, Chief Digital Officer at Genpact. By doing this, leaders have the opportunity to encourage a company culture of inquisitiveness and innovation. 


Taking an automated approach to digitizing leads to minimal improvements instead of a transformation. Srivastava reveals that the most significant transformations take place outside of the clear definitions of a process.

Some of the greatest innovations happened not because the move to digital followed some rigid process but because true innovators looked to create a truly better version of the processes involved.

Minimizing New Risks

When going through a transformation, there are three key areas that organizations need to look out for: change management, governance, and digital ethics. 

  • Change Management: Any kind of change is a challenge, and there will be hiccups along the way. When going through change, it is imperative to think the entire process through. Leaders need to plan for change and how changes will be implemented. They need to ask themselves, what will this change look like when it’s implemented across all departments and projects? Having a clear vision and plan will help all team members better adjust to new changes. 
  • Governance: As projects take shape and develop into new tools along the way, there needs to be a solid foundation or map. As projects evolve from one thing to another, organizations need a “digital business platform”. Governance also includes making sure that organizations are on top of identifying unintended bias. 
  • Digital Ethics: As organizations develop AI and other technologies, checks and balances must be put in place to help weed out AI algorithm biases. Companies need to take “unintended use present ethical considerations” into account, according to Srivastava. By doing this we are ensuring that the future of work is considered.   

Even though there is a need to break out of the box, being able to plan for challenges and potholes is imperative to a project’s success. This is essentially changing management. It allows you to be prepared for what lays ahead.

There are also hard questions to address during the process, and there needs to be checks and balances implemented. Identifying these hard questions and committing to resolving them with ethics in mind is a challenge that faces any entity looking for true digital transformation to occur.

Bringing digital transformation to fruition will no doubt help to separate successful organizations from unsuccessful ones. By innovating at scale, transforming, and minimizing risks, companies and their leaders can bring true digital transformation. 

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