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How to Keep Your Digital Transformation from Going Pear-Shaped


In glassblowing, a perfectly spherical vessel can be ruined if the glass is overheated. This makes the shape of the blown glass change as it cools, leaving a pear-shaped container.


Late last year, Boston Consulting Group issued a report regarding organizations needing to meet their digital transformation goals. The piece argues that 94% want the digital transformation to be transformative, and 60% have budgeted more in 2023 than in years prior.

So what happened?

Many technology experts believe digital transformation's human element can be quite precarious. If you deploy a tool that's difficult to use or create a workflow that doesn't "work," transformation can quickly become stymied. The staff and client's needs must be considered when designing and implementing a digital strategy.

Rather than rush the digitization effort, getting the staff on your side is essential. For example, form a stakeholder group, ask for feedback and incorporate at least some of it. Allowing staff to take ownership will increase the likelihood of success since they understand what the residents want and how to best deliver services to them. A low-code platform such as Laserfiche even allows staff to experiment independently and build workflows with some training.

Accordingly, if the digital transformation effort is progressing successfully, staff naturally will want to participate because people like being involved in successful initiatives; it excites them and will make change management a dream (not really but indeed better than designing a solution and making them use it.)

Another operating theory is that digital transformation and enterprise change are complex because organizations need to understand how they operate at a systemic level. They may need to gain the skills and data to achieve that knowledge. While many agencies are drowning in data, analytics are a last-mile problem that keeps them from having a fuller operational view. This current-state view is critical to gaining an understanding of how applications and data interact AND how to leverage them to understand what residents expect.


As with any effort, planning is critical. No toolset will drive transformation without a solid plan in place. Digitization requires a purpose, stated outcomes, and an estimated ROI calculation, and most importantly, the technology needs to be directly aligned with the operational goals of the agency. The executive team needs to meet with the tech, functional, and business unit liaisons to commit to improving performance through digital transformation.


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