AuthorConnect Chat: Tony Saldanha Knows Why Digital Transformations Fail

AuthorConnect Chat: Tony Saldanha Knows Why Digital Transformations Fail

By Megan Habel , Mar 22nd 2021

Discover tips for successfully executing a digital transformation

Globally recognized Information Technology & Global Business Services expert and thought leader Tony Saldanha knows a thing or two about digital transformation and all that is needed to execute it as seamlessly as possible. Over the course of his career, he was responsible for business happenings regarding GBS and IT implementation and growth globally for P&G. He now consults with over 20 Fortune 100 companies around the world in digital transformation and global business services.

We sat down with Tony via AuthorConnect Chat to discuss key ideas from his book, Why Digital Transformations Fail: The Surprising Disciplines of How to Take Off and Stay Ahead.

We all know that the world around us is changing dramatically and that the use of digital is pervasive. In fact, five of the top ten companies (ranked by market capitalization) in 2018 were technology companies. But, Tony insists, “technology is not a panacea. It cannot do everything. AI cannot do everything an admin assistant can do, but it can help with some elements of it—for example, scheduling meetings.”

To date, we’ve had three industrial revolutions and we’re in our fourth one now.

  • 1st Industrial Revolution: steam-based machines created in the 18th century
  • 2nd Industrial Revolution: electrical, energy-based, mass production in 19th & 20th centuries
  • 3rd Industrial Revolution: computer and internet-based knowledge in late 20th century (this is also the 1st Information Revolution)
  • 4th Industrial Revolution: AI and information tech in early 21st Century (this is also the 2nd Information Revolution)

Tony explains, “digital transformation is the effect of the 4th Industrial Revolution in the corporate and public-sector landscapes, and it’s the migration of enterprises and societies from the third to the fourth industrial revolution.”

What are the 5 key stages to implementing and successfully executing a digital transformation?

  • In the beginner stage, one’s company needs to create a program to digitally automate processes in the organization. All processes—including selling, manufacturing, financing, etc.—need to be automated.
  • In the second step of siloed transformation, the company needs to determine and define siloed or departmental programs for transformation and begin creating digital products, customer propositions, and/or agile operations within departments.
  • Step 3, or partially synchronized, means that the company is now embarking on coordinated programs for strategic, automated, and digital business impact across all parts of the enterprise.
  • Step 4, or fully synchronized, asserts that the company has now finalized and completed the digital platforms, products, or processes for successful digital integration and transformation.
  • And finally, step 5 is the living DNA stage; or proof that the company is first in class in creating and demonstrating a sustainable, living culture of constant digital reinvention and innovation as the backbone to their continued success and growth.

Tony’s book, Why Digital Transformations Fail, is aimed at helping and addressing the 70% failure rate of digital transformations. Digital transformation “is all about change management” —not necessarily technology all on its own. Tony explains, “the fun part is how do you make it happen?”

He goes on to share that “inertia is the greatest challenge for organizations...the reward systems of most companies do not lend themselves well to making changes (especially if the company is doing well as is!). Continuous improvement is rewarded—not necessarily breakthrough innovations.” And herein lies the greatest challenge for all of us to be aware of: we must task ourselves with overcoming the challenge of inertia and look to reward the breakthrough thinking that will propel companies forward into the future. How one conducts business today may not be how one would conduct it in 2022 and beyond.

Leaders have to figure out how they are going to bring this to life within their organization in order to implement the changes that need to be made. As Tony shares, “it’s not ‘should we do it?’ but ‘how soon can you start?’” re: digital transformation.

To learn more, check out the full AuthorConnect Chat below and Tony’s book, Why Digital Transformations Fail, available in bulk here.

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This post was written by Megan Habel, the Brand Strategist at BookPal. She is currently reading The Paris Architect by Charles Belfoure.

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