I’ve been lucky (or unlucky) enough to run a marathon twice. So I’ve experienced the pain of hitting the wall, and the joy of crossing that finish line!
It struck me the other day that the task of delivering digital change is a lot like running a marathon.
It’s a challenge – at mile 19 of my first marathon I turned the corner to see a grown man crying by the side of the road, and as I kept running I saw more and more people that had given up, often sobbing on the phone to family members. Both marathons and digital transformation initiatives are tough. In transformation there is likely to be more than one wall that you are going to hit along your journey – which is why IDC say that as 70% of transformation programs will fail.
You need to ease into it– while training for my second marathon I increased my distances too quickly and ended up injuring my knee, which meant I had to stop training for six weeks and almost pulled out of the race. Many businesses make a similar mistake in digital transformation projects – trying to “boil the ocean” before they’ve learned how to use a kettle. In both marathons and transformation projects, the key to success is to have a plan of where you want to get to, but to start small.
Everyone should do it – you may want to argue with me on this one, but I think that marathon is a transformational experience that everyone should go through. I generally think of anything that tests your limits as ‘character building’. But although your digital transformation may be ‘character building’, more importantly it is ‘future building’. It is the only path for traditional businesses that expect to survive in the digital economy.
TRAINING TIPS FOR YOUR TRANSFORMATION
So we’re agreed…digital transformation is the way forward, but it’s going to be tough – so where should you start?
But don’t forget a good pair of shoes!
Runners often say that “the hardest part of going for a run is putting your shoes on”. Of course when we say that we don’t literally mean that it is hard to put your shoes on, what we mean is that once you’ve got your shoes on, the rest follows naturally from that step.
When digitally transforming a business the essential investment that any business needs to make is in a digital business platform – one that puts a spring in your step and helps you to quickly connect your existing business technologies while adding an agile layer that enables you to innovate.