The Resistance to Digital Transformation

Last week, I asked if we were ready to become Digital Jedis, so perhaps it is strange to be talking about the dark side of digital or the resistance being a bad thing. In the case of digital transformation, resistance is not only a bad thing, it is fatal. Perhaps I should also stay away from Star Wars for a while.

MIT Sloan Management Review. “The mounting performance pressure in our shifting business landscape turns this from an opportunity and choice into an imperative. The longer you wait, the more marginalized you’re going to become.”

The question is; what makes leadership resistant to digital transformation and how can this be overcome?

Why the resistance?
The most frequent answer to this that I read is that it is generational. I call this the ‘blame baby boomers’ argument in that the decision makers in companies are a generation that are fundamentally resistant to change. Personally, I think this has merit when broken down. I like Eddie Obeng’s thinking that someone or something has changed the rules of how the world works and it happened at midnight! Essentially we are responding rationally to a world we know and understand but that no longer exists. The argument then is that as a millennial, I relish the concept of rules going out the window but apparently this terrifies everyone else?
I actually think that this argument has more merit when it evolves into what MIT Sloan Management Review describe as:

  1. The Curse of Success

‘Large companies that have created enormous wealth and generated incredible market positions on a global basis — who’s going to argue that what they’re doing today is wrong? I think they lose the creativity and become complacent and assume that somehow, whatever’s going on today is a blip or an aberration, and we’ll get back to where we were and things will be back to normal.’

  1. Dark Side of Digital

The irony that digital is creating new pressures on business that only digital (technology and thinking) can help with. ‘In a world of mounting pressure, there’s a natural human instinct to stick to what you know. And so there’s a tendency to just hold on and just squeeze harder on what you’re currently doing. Nobody’s creative in a time of mounting pressure. You fall back.’ When in actual fact, creativity becomes even more critical when your back is against the wall.
Overcoming Barriers
In terms of Strategy, MIT discusses ‘zoom in and zoom out approaches’ (read more) but also as strategy and IT strategy become synonymous, I think this diagram is helpful.


  1. Technology

‘Have you been applying digital technology to accelerate learning and performance improvement in the work environment on a day-to-day basis? With the mounting performance pressure and the accelerated pace of change that digital technology is bringing about, the learning that’s going to be most powerful is not by accessing what other people already know. It’s driving new knowledge creation through practice in the workplace itself.’ Mhub technology is already doing this, transforming training and the way people learn, communicate and collaborate with the touch of a button.

  1. People

‘When we talk to clients, we usually start by talking about technology, but [typically] after 15 minutes, we shift gears. We start talking about people and the digital culture shock they are in. If they want to be digital, it’s not just about technological change because it’s coming [regardless]. Companies need to think about people or it will not work at all,” Marc Carrel-Billiard, global tech R&D Lead on digital transformation at Accenture.’
people digital
Mhub is seen by some of the world’s largest organizations as a fundamental tool to enable faster digital transformation. It is disruptive technology in and of itself; allowing companies to leverage investments in their mobile estate, cloud infrastructure and new applications. It has a beautifully simple to use user interface and is easy to implement. Beyond this however, it is digital technology that puts an organization’s people at the forefront and allows you to communicate and connect a collaborative, mobile workforce behind digital transformation. It is technology that also enables the cultural change necessary for successful transformation.
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