The buzz around Digital Transformation has never been greater. Fact is, the talk in boardrooms across the continent is increasingly focused around better using technology to improve and grow business and economies. This realisation is driving greater investment throughout Africa and the World. But how much of it is just rhetoric and first-stage commitment?
Whilst there are some success stories where companies have made the change required and have ultimately prospered, these are still few and far between. Mike Perk, Managing Director at African Innovation Agency WWC, states, “committing to digital transformation change isn’t the same as committing to its consequences”.
Perk’s philosophy is that to change the way you do things you have to make new choices and be adaptable to the consequences they may bring. “Many leaders know they need to change but aren’t prepared to fully let go of their entrenched beliefs and behaviours. The consequences of digital transformation include, at worst lost jobs, at best the creation of new products or even a new business. But one thing it always means is the shifting of resources (money and people) that impacts heavily on the outcomes. Outcomes leaders are often not prepared for”.
In his experience most leaders see digital transformation as something that runs alongside their current operation, rather than something that may replace it. Perk says “unfortunately many leaders and employees of companies aren’t willing to accept those consequences. It’s this fear of change that drives this lack of commitment.” Perk believes that companies need to ensure that time and effort is being placed on the leadership team’s capability around digital and ensuring company-wide buy-in to the change management process required to go with it.
Drawing from his own insights into digital transformation, Perk believes that it is visionary leaders with good digital capability and the proper implementation of change management that are needed if African businesses want to make a true impact through technology today.