Digital transformation is much talked about, and much coveted by businesses and organizations, yet relatively few have achieved transformation at a significant level. One reason is that despite the buzz, digital transformation is still emerging–its true potential and impact are yet to be understood, much less realized. Another reason is that many organizations are paying scant attention to two essential components of substantive digital transformation: synthesis and synergy. A classic definition of synthesis is “the combining of separate elements or substances to form a coherent whole.” In the world of digital transformation those elements would include talent, leadership, business models, relationships with partners and customers, and of course technologies, to name a few. Most important is blending the right components at the right time.
But simply bringing together all of those elements (the “fuel”) will generally not lead to substantive digital transformation, let alone disruption of markets and industries. What’s missing is synergy, the “spark” that ignites digital transformation by creating a whole that is greater than the sum of the parts. Synergy comes from compelling vision, focus, and alignment of the components noted above with each other and with the vision; all of which, in turn, engage employees, customers, and partners to drive superior performance. The simple fact is that many organizations will achieve a modicum of success in the digital era by hiring smart people, putting effective governance in place, trying out new business models, and so forth, but a much smaller number will achieve levels of performance and disruption that shape and dominate their markets by exploiting and mastering synthesis and synergy.
Organizations will need to make decisions about where they wish (or need) to be on the continuum of digital transformation mastery, based on a realistic appraisal of the assets and intelligence, and risk and change tolerance that they have. If you need help in sorting out where you are and need to be in digital transformation mastery, give me a call at 650-766-1067 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.