Why There’s No Such Thing as Digital Transformation

Alistair Sergeant
Alistair Sergeant
According to the MCA, Management Consultancy has grown by an additional 7% over the last year, now being at the forefront of digital opportunities, with the sector worth an estimated £10.6bn.  

However, despite its exponential growth, recent research revealed that 79% of executives admitted they do not review internal processes before setting KPIs for a transformation process. This supported by the fact an average of 84% of digital transformation strategies fail, due to lack of leadership and clarity on purpose.  

Because of this, the majority of transformation processes are at a great disadvantage from the start, with no clear direction or strategy, from both the business in hand and for the consultancy or contractor carrying out the work. 

In turn, business leaders continue to fail to understand what digital transformation is, its purpose and how it can drive meaningful change 

But, what if I said there is no such thing as digital transformation? What if I said for too long Consultancies have focused on ‘technology projects’ or change for the sake of change, without understanding what businesses really want from transformation and what the outcomes should be 

With that in mind, I believe business leaders should change their perception of digital transformation, discarding their foggy perception of its value or meaning, and replacing it with the concept of ‘outcome realisation’. Here’s why:  


Focus on outcome, not process

The term ‘transformation’ in itself means to make a change and though change is incredibly valuable, there needs to be a concrete understanding as to what the outcome from that change should be.  

On average, 84% of digital transformation strategies fail, and although this will be the result of multiple different errors, for many it will be the failure to diagnose and understand the complex challenges faced by the organisation in hand. In understanding these challenges, you can focus on what the outcome should be, before honing in on the process.  


Change perceptions, question everything

Many organisations call on digital transformation for a single project, without understanding how to fully utilise the process to bring about transformative, long-term change.  

To maximise transformation, businesses and leaders need to question everything – their operations, processes and current ways of working – to really understand what is and isn’t working, gaining a clear insight into what needs to be changed and why.  

In understansding how damaging the phrase ‘but we’ve always worked this way’ can be, business leaders start to shift their perceptions and focus on what they want their business to look like and why. Business leaders believe conventional digital transformation is about technology – in replacing it with ‘outcome realisation’, they will understand it’s not just about digital. It’s about people, hearts and minds – everything. 


Future growth

A core part of ‘outcome realisation’ is having objectives, goals and targets; knowing exactly what you want from transformation and change.  

These goals – your outcomes – should be aligned with the future longevity of your business, its continued and successful operation and resulting growth.  

The business leaders that try to uphold stagnant, unproductive processes are those more likely to impact the continued growth and development of their business. Those constantly moving forwards and questioning what isn’t working and why, are those with an admirable future in their hands.  

For too long, business leaders have thought out ‘digital transformation’ as a complex term that is hard to understand and even harder to execute. Yet, the concept of fresh-thinking outcome realisation overcomes this, forcing business leaders to really look at their business, question everything, and deliver valuable outcomes with resulting growth.  

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More about the author

Alistair Sergeant
Alistair Sergeant CEO

As CEO of Equantiis, his main focus is on strategic leadership and growth within the business whilst working through new opportunities that support this. Alistair manages client relationships so that they can benefit from his experience and knowledge. He thrives on leading a disruptive business that works with business leaders to identify and overcome complex business challenges, with cost certainty and transformative outcomes. Alistair is passionate about anything outdoors. Including running, camping and travelling with the family.

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