The Human Side of Digital Business Transformation, reviewed

I reviewed a new Wiley publication, The Human Side of Digital Business Transformation by Kamales Lardi for Irish Tech News. I found it to be a fiercely relevant book for anybody thinking of migrating to the cloud in a green field project or developing their digital presence to a point where their online digital product portfolio is essentially their company’s product range.

The Human Side of Digital Business Transformation, reviewed

The author sets an effective context for the age we live in exploring the disruptive impact of technology from web 2.0 heralding the start of the cloud computing era to the massive digital disruption of numerous industries. The book starts with this analysis of the “end of business” as we know it and how the leveraging of modern technology has created a competitive advantage for businesses. The background analysis in the early chapters is compelling as are the observations it makes about the effects of modern technology’s impact on people and businesses.

This includes shorter timelines for technology-savvy companies to reach greater results with fewer resources. It also highlights the once prized “industry focus” of companies as becoming a thing of the past. Technology companies such as amazon are competing in multiple industries that all benefit from a technological approach as a product differentiator. The book nicely introduces examples such as this to support key points made in the chapters.

The book then looks at the people impact of rapid technological progress in recent years and our near-paced adoption of its development, especially in the COVID era where the accelerated process of digital transformation was noted. The paradigm shift in the digital era is thoughtfully explored where old norms are thrown out for those in the digital transformation process.

This allows for a new focus by teams on what works in a sustainable manner and what they as a business should prepare for. An interesting segway on COVID talked about how digital migration projects for many senior managers in the initial period were about business continuance through lockdowns and not longer-term alignment with business objectives in a digital transformation process.

After exploring organizational culture and its intimate importance in digital transformation, the people aspect around tailored leadership practices was tied into the organizational culture area and its management.  The goal of influencing change for people involved with the digital transformation process comes through very clearly here. The main topic is then explored in the following chapters. The digital transformation framework is the subject of a deep dive into its detail providing a structured approach to digital transformation.

It incorporates the reality of what is actually been done into the planning, rather than execution stages. This from experience is a key boon of reading this book and one not to be missed by functional and project management professionals in particular.

By the final chapter, the summation of what has been explored is very clear to see in the use cases presented by companies like Bayer and Novartis. Here, a thoughtful planning approach clearly set their digital transformation process on a successful trajectory. An interesting takeaway in this chapter was what’s good for the company is not necessarily good for digital transformation success. This led to decisions on structure and approach that many can rightly consider key to the digital transformation success of these companies.

I can say for certain that some aspects of the book from my own 12 years as a 1st and 2nd line leader in my prior career have been around for a long time. What is very new for me is the innovative and insightful adoption of these aspects into the digital paradigm we live in creating a solution for success that otherwise would be missed.

John Mulhall @johnmlhll | john@maolte.ie is a writer with Irish Tech News for over 6 years and also Founder, Writer and Engineer with Maolte Technical Solutions Limited. You can learn more about John and his new company at https://maolte.ie

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