Gartner identifies 6 barriers to becoming a digital business

According to Gartner, this is because digital transformation is about more than just buying the latest technology – it requires a commitment from an organisation to change its culture.

Marcus Blosch, research vice president at Gartner, said: “The reality is that digital business demands different skills, working practices, organisational models and even cultures.”

>See also: Digital transformation – What’s next for business’ biggest buzzword?

“To change an organisation designed for a structured, ordered, process-oriented world to one designed for ecosystems, adaptation, learning and experimentation is hard.”

“Some organisations will navigate that change, and others that can’t change will become outdated and be replaced.”

The six barriers

1: A change-resisting culture

Blosch said: “Culture is organisational ‘dark matter’ — you can’t see it, but its effects are obvious.”

“The challenge is that many organisations have developed a culture of hierarchy and clear boundaries between areas of responsibilities.”

>See also: How can CIOs help corporate digital transformation?

“Digital innovation requires the opposite: collaborative cross-functional and self-directed teams that are not afraid of uncertain outcomes.”

“Connections between the digital innovation and core teams can then be used to scale new ideas and spread the culture.”

2: Limited sharing and collaboration

According to Blosch: “It’s not necessary to have everyone on board in the early stages. Try to find areas where interests overlap and create a starting point.”

“Build the first version, test the idea and use the success story to gain the momentum needed for the next step.”

3: The business isn’t ready

Gartner’s study points out that business leaders often get caught up in the hype around digital businesses.

>See also: 5 factors defining digital transformation in 2018 

However, when a CIO wants to kick-off a transformation, they find that the business doesn’t have the resources or skills needed.

Blosch said: “Focus on the early adopters with the willingness and openness to change and leverage digital. But keep in mind that digital may just not be relevant to certain parts of the organisation.”

4: The talent gap

“There are two approaches to breach the talent gap — upskill and bimodal,” said Blosch.

“In smaller or more innovative organisations, it is possible to redefine individuals’ roles to include more skills and competencies needed to support digital. In other organisations, using a bimodal approach makes sense by creating a separate group to handle innovation with the requisite skill set.”

>See also: Closing the skills gap: Developing the next generation of STEM talent

5: The current practices don’t support the talent

Blosch explained: “Some organisations may shift to a product management-based approach for digital innovations because it allows for multiple iterations.”

“Operational innovations can follow the usual approaches until the digital team is skilled and experienced enough to extend its reach and share the learned practices with the organisation.”

6: Change isn’t easy

Be it technical challenges or financial, creating a new ecosystem is hard.

This is why Gartner argues that business should build the organisational capabilities that make change simpler and faster.

Gartner advocates adopting a platform-based strategy which supports continuous change “allowing new services to draw from the platform and its core services.”

>See also: How to address the skills gap in the tech sector

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Andrew Ross

As a reporter with Information Age, Andrew Ross writes articles for technology leaders; helping them manage business critical issues both for today and in the future