Most companies admit they don't have a clue about digital transformation

It seems that when you quietly ask company leaders to tell the truth about how they're going digital, they beat their chests and weep.
Written by Chris Matyszczyk, Contributing Writer
a young woman with a blonde ponytail faces a whiteboard covered in diagrams, writing and coloured post-it notes

Now which one's the blue gizmo?

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Honesty can be charming.

Honesty about your cluelessness, haplessness and withering hopelessness can be utterly disarming.

This is why I've just been moved to rare, laughter-led pity toward senior corporate executives. (Normally, I only feel it to this degree whenever they try to justify their political contributions or their personal indiscretions.)

You see, I've just been forcibly absorbed into a report entitled "The State of Digital Adoption".

It offers the sort of chilling statistics that one generally gets from detailed analyses of Major League Baseball umpires' performances.

How, might you wonder, are corporations dealing with helping their employees adapt to -- and even embrace -- new digital tools?

Well, this survey of 1,475 senior business leaders -- who, remarkably, still have jobs at companies with more than 500 employees all over the world -- offers quite a few clues.

Here was my favorite: 70% could not identify exactly who is responsible for managing the adoption of new technologies in their organization.

This does sound slightly twerpish. They buy lots of fancy technology and then imagine what, exactly? That all the Gen Z employees will teach all the Boomer employees how to use it?

Please clutch that 70% figure closely to your warm self while I offer the next glorious nugget: 67% of these fine leaders say they're under "incredible pressure" to accelerate digital transformation.

We all make enormous faux-pas when we're under pressure. But wouldn't it at least be worth exerting pressure on someone else in your organization to be responsible for putting your brand new tech into, how can I put this, actual use?

Oh, but it's not as if these organizations don't try. Then again, 60% of these executives say their change management programs are "no longer fit for purpose."

These relatively large percentages suggest that senior managements all over the world know they're clueless but only beat their chests and weep when they're quietly asked survey questions.

I should pause to mention the company that sponsored this survey. It's called WalkMe, and it professes, so surprisingly, to be in the business of maximizing and accelerating "the impact of your digital transformation strategy by driving user adoption of your digital assets."

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The survey results do, indeed, suggest this is a fine business to be in. If companies are so gormless in their digital adoption ways, someone has to walk them toward the light. Or, at least, the light switch.

About that gormlessness. How many times have you heard friends, colleagues, loved ones -- and even people you meet late at night in colorful establishments -- complain about new technology being introduced at their companies, and no one knows how to use it?

I fear the answer may be: "a lot."

Do the companies themselves even know how to use it? Why a recent Gartner survey offered that 55% of companies regret the IT purchases they make. A clue may be indicated by the fact that a fulsome 67% of the people who bought this technology weren't even IT people.

It all appears to add up to one fine mess, the majority of the time.

So let me add one final dollop of joy from the WalkMe survey: 62% of executives are "concerned" that a lack of understanding of new applications is increasing risk.

Oh, but I thought corporate executives love risk.

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