Posted: 28 Oct. 2020 05 min. read

It's time to play offense: Digital Transformations

Your digital transformations – are you truly transforming? Or are you simply upgrading your technology?

An organisation's ability to be adaptable, agile and customer-centric will be defined, enabled or constrained by its technology platform. This technology platform typically contains the technical solution (easy to change, plug-and-play), capability and skills (the ability and fluency of its people), and its design (how it connects and interacts in the ecosystem, the modular architecture). This is why "insert technology X" is not just a CIO conversation. Today's hype is about the cloud, AI and cyber. Yesterday it was about digital, data, internet of things, automation, etc. You may insert any of these technologies in for X. Most of the technology tools and practices exist today to achieve better value sooner safer results for happier customers and employees. We just aren't using them effectively.

The focus for the past 5-10 years has been to establish the technology infrastructure and foundation for these tools into organisations. We’ve all experienced these technology upgrade programs. When we talk about 'digital transformation,' we have been typically talking about the technology and its adoption, and the associated change management activities required to increase adoption. There has been a distinct delineation between the technology transformation from the business transformation. This has been further reinforced with the functional split in the organisational structure that divides business and technology and the specialist roles that have popped up over the years, e.g. chief digital officer, chief data officer, etc., all with their own transformation mandates to drive change in their functional silos. It is important to call out that these specialist roles are not the problem per-say, as each organisation will need to build their fluency in these next-gen technologies. The challenge is the lack of coordination, alignment and cross-functional thinking that is applied to driving forward on the transformation mandate, as they are each typically done in their own silos. Organisations are now doing the same with their cloud transformations.

We have learned that the most common issue in implementing new technology is not the technology itself – it is around the organisation, its leaders and people.

Figure: MIT/Deloitte research shows digitally-capable enterprises organise, operate and behave differently than traditional ones.


Now, more than ever is the time to consider the whole system in your digital and cloud transformations. Business, technology and operations as one in order to realise the benefits of your technology.

The need to change and adopt next-gen technologies is clear. The disruption is driven by changing consumer demands, desire for an integrated customer and employee experience, increased competition, decentralisation of innovation, and the need to continuously sense, shape and adapt. COVID-19 has only accelerated these drivers. The impact has been the need to bring together business, technology and operations together - a whole of the system, or enterprise lens - and how it needs to transform to unlock the ROI and increase productivity. With this approach, organisations will be able to realise both above the line benefits, including the ability to synchronize the enterprise, drive business innovation and unleash new talent and ways of working, as well as, below the line benefits through resilient operations, enhanced IT and cybersecurity, and cost efficiency.1

What we have seen over the 6 months is a shove for organisations to update and install these technology foundations and many have accelerated their 'digital transformations' as they weren't quite there yet. Organisations will not have the time to complete their 'digital or cloud transformation' journey and then to start to focus on the organisation and your people. For your cloud initiatives alone, there is an opportunity to earn back as much as 30 to 35 times the cloud investment within 2 years of deployment. It just makes good business sense to take advantage of this – and ensure that your organisation is in it to thrive, not just survive.

Now is the time to bring a holistic enterprise mindset and approach to transformation. Now is the time to think about how you set-up your ‘team of teams’ operating model. Building fluency and a learning muscle in your organisation are essential to moving from ‘doing digital’ to ‘being digital’, especially in your leaders.

For further insights on how to set-up your operating model, please refer to:  Virtual enablement through high performing virtual ‘team of teams’.

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More about the author

Maria Muir

Maria Muir

Partner, Consulting

Maria is the Lead Enterprise Agility Partner in Deloitte’s Consulting Practice in Asia-Pacific. Maria has worked with a wide variety of teams, leaders, and organisations to re-wire their management philosophy and enable the shift in thinking required for her clients across Asia-Pacific to deliver projects better, with more value, sooner, safer and happier. She has been working with her clients to create customer-centric, high performance delivery, and learning ecosystems across industries, particularly with extensive experience in financial services, telecommunications, and energy & resources. Based on her technology delivery background, Maria’s approach to change and leveraging new ways of working is pragmatic and has an effective balance between delivery and an outcome focussed mindset and culture.