Who Should Lead a Digital Transformation?

Embarking on a digital transformation can be daunting, especially if you have already encountered success without relying on digital tech. Yet, the world is rapidly changing, not least due to the pandemic, and businesses that offer digital services to consumers are swiftly outcompeting those that have neglected to build and enact a digital design.

The sooner you launch a digital transformation, the better — but whom should you hire to lead your digital transformation? Consider the following candidates:

Candidate A: An executive with 10 years at your firm but who doesn’t have much experience with digital.

Candidate B: A digital guru who recently led a successful department expansion at a major digital firm.

Among those looking for help with digital transformations, the title of “digital guru” typically jumps out, and many executives leap at the opportunity to hire such a seasoned digital pro. Experience at a major digital organization, like Amazon or Facebook, only garners more points. However, more often than not, a digital guru doesn’t have the chops to guide your non-digital business to digital success. Instead, you need someone who knows and understands your business, like Candidate A — or, perhaps, like you yourself.

Why Candidate B Is a Bad Choice

Examples abound of digital know-it-alls trying and failing to navigate digital transformations. Usually what happens is this:

The digital guru circulates the company, talking to senior executives to better understand their vision, their values, their digital competence, and more. Finding insufficient digital know-how or drive in the organization as-is, the guru creates their own business team of digital talent. This new team is able to develop digital strategies and tools unobstructed by the rest of the organization — but issues rapidly arise. Because the digital transformation group is operating independently of the broader business, there are discrepancies in processes between the two entities. Customers and partners get confused and angry, sales decline, and the digital transformation grinds to a halt.

Typically, digital gurus understand how to create digital businesses from scratch, and they understand how to manage and shift digital processes at an existing digital firm. However, few gurus have the skills and knowledge to assist an established business in developing a digital design and navigating the transformation from analog to digital. 

Often, gurus are blinded by their own experience and grasp of digital tech and processes, that they are unable to see an organization as it exists. They have a vision, and they are unwilling to work with current business leaders if those leaders are interested in deviating from that vision or slow the realization of that vision to any degree. 


Unfortunately, this is not how digital transformations occur; you need your entire organization to understand the goal and collaborate on solutions. Ultimately, the only person who can lead your digital transformation is someone who understands your organization and can rally your troops to a common cause.

Why Candidate A Is Better for You

At the heart of every digital transformation is organizational change, and the key to successful organizational change is the ability to work with an organization’s existing people and processes. Thus, a current executive within your organization is already leaps and bounds ahead of an outsider, who will need to devote significant time and resources to studying your business before they can begin developing a digital design. If you can find an insider who is willing to learn digital design, which involves gaining the skills necessary to build organizational structure to help your business navigate a digital transformation, you will be able to leverage the intimate knowledge of a longtime employee in the integration of digital technologies and strategies.

Even if you don’t have the experience of a digital guru, you can lead your organization to digital success. Digital transformations should start at the very top of a business, with senior executives developing the digital roadmap that makes sense for their workforce and customers. As someone who is engaged with your firm’s culture, who deeply appreciates its existing processes, and who wants nothing but the best success for years to come, you could be the best person for the job of digital transformation leader. All you need is the right training, tools, and attitude — and these things can be acquired faster than you can find and hire any digital guru.

About Andrew

Hey Folks! Myself Andrew Emerson I'm from Houston. I'm a blogger and writer who writes about Technology, Arts & Design, Gadgets, Movies, and Gaming etc. Hope you join me in this journey and make it a lot of fun.

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