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Digital Transformation is not about Technology

James Huang | 2021.08.06

As an IT business, it might seem strange for us to say this, but “technology can’t fix every business problem you encounter because technology isn’t always the solution.” It is essential to focus on what your business is trying to achieve. The technology you choose to implement should complement your overall business strategy. It should not define it.

Fundamentally, it’s because most digital technologies provide possibilities for efficiency gains and customer intimacy. But if people lack the right mindset to change and the current organisational practices are flawed, DT will simply magnify those flaws. 

Look at technology as a tool, an enabler to achieve your overall business objectives. It is essential to look forward and outline your goals. Identify any blockers you have, such as employees, processes, culture and existing technology and plan how to execute.

Stressed employee papering over cracks technology

There’s no need to be defensive here. Everyone has done it. Sometimes it seems easier to find a workaround for an issue rather than to fix it. You end up with numerous fixes and workflow changes to overcome your problems, but your productivity suffers. Data moves between silos to compensate for technology shortcomings, and employees are often left to get on with things and make the best of it.

It highlights the importance of taking a step back and understanding the broader issue. Taking a more holistic approach might help you identify what you are trying to achieve and the fundamental pain points in play. While time-consuming, it will reduce the chances of making bad decisions with your technology.

You don’t need a hammer to crack a nut, and you certainly don’t want to make hasty decisions to change everything. Taking the time to look at the issues you have and what needs addressing will pay off in the long-term. Technology isn’t the solution, it is just a tool.

Make sure you take the time to ask your employees for honest feedback. Is change an issue for them? If it is, why? Understanding their mindset and view towards culture is critical if you are going to implement change. If employees are steadfast against changing their approach, process and systems, you will face an uphill battle. Showing openness to engage them in any business decision will demonstrate you value them and their opinion, and longer-term, this will help you succeed.

As business owners and leaders, we often look at new tools to help us do things better. But how do they improve things? A sales pitch arrives just as you have a minimal issue, and the following week, you have a new tool for it. Great, you can roll this out, and everything will be just fine. In reality, it seldom works as it’s a snap decision that doesn’t solve the whole problem.

So, you now have five different systems in place, all costing a small fortune, and productivity is no better. Employees are confused as to which tool to use, and the system breaks down. Is it Teams for video calls or Zoom? Are we using Teams for instant messaging or just calls? Sound familiar?

As part of your planning, consider the services and systems you take for each business function and identify how critical it is to your business’s day-to-day activity. Departments such as marketing can function for a day or two without access to their systems as content can always be created. Production and manufacturing departments face more significant issues if their ERP solution is down.

Innovation isn’t just technology

Innovation thinking

Innovation is everywhere, but what do you think it is? You might think it is the latest and greatest technology offering, but you might want to reconsider this view. Innovation is a human trait. It is the act of being creative when approaching problem-solving. However, it is easy to blur the boundaries when looking at innovation and technology. So, you must recognise the difference and how to implement them in your organisation.


No matter which industry your business is in, it is essential to take a step back when looking at technology. As tempting as it is to deploy the next great thing, you should first assess organisational requirements and understand that technology is a tool to help you execute your business strategy.  Remember, technology isn’t the solution, just a tool that may help you create a solution.

In MERCURY, we provide not just technology, but also thoughts leadership and eco-system build out.

Digital Transformation is not about Technology
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