Many people around the world are looking forward to celebrating the upcoming New Year. Making resolutions is a common tradition and yet many of us have had mixed success when it comes to achieving the transformations we intended. Why is that? I believe part of it can be attributed to confusion over the difference between a resolution and a goal.
To me, a resolution is aspirational and about having the will and desire to achieve a new or better “state.” It’s long-term in nature. On the other hand, a goal is concrete and clear about what needs to happen by when. By accomplishing goals consistently, the desired new or better “state” can be realized.
This interplay between resolutions and goals can be seen when looking at the buzz about “digital transformation.” The key drivers of digital transformation include profitability, customer satisfaction, and increased speed-to-market. Given this, is digital transformation a resolution? A discrete goal? And, what can we do in 2017 to ensure more than mixed success?
Digital Transformation is a resolution
The term, “digital transformation” by itself seems a bit nebulous. To me, digital transformation is a long-term effort to get to a better state. In Life Sciences, this may include becoming more patient-centric to support all aspects of the patient’s health and well-being, leveraging technology to make quicker, better decisions, and staying better connected and informed. Being able to articulate where the organization is going and why is critically important so that employees, partners and other key stakeholders can understand why action needs to be taken.
All sorts of reasons are given for embracing digital transformation. I think this description from an article in InfoWorld sums it up, “…if you’re not doing it, your company will die and you will lose your CIO or IT leadership job. You’ll — shudder — be disrupted! Or fail the wrong side of the Innovator’s Dilemma.” Certainly, part of digital transformation is ensuring that companies are not disrupted by more nimble competitors. But is that it?
Goals turn the invisible into the visible
Business competitiveness and longevity is still nebulous and not enough to enable transformation. Tony Robbins says, “Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.” By understanding where your organization is at today, companies can assess the areas of biggest impact, highest levels of barriers or risk and create a plan for how best to achieve digital transformation.
In Life Sciences, many organizations have digitized their former, paper-based processes. While this might have driven new levels of speed and efficiency in the past, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the process itself is currently the most efficient. With the expanded ecosystem of partners and stakeholders involved in managing the lifecycle of a drug, processes are more complex and span more systems.
Transformation affects people, processes and technology. It’s a continuum whereby each organization is likely at a different place on one or all of these factors. If you aren’t sure where your organization falls, check out this online digital assessment tool. It can help you get a better understanding of where you fall on the spectrum of digital transformation.
Goals must inspire action
Recently, Rohit Ghai, President of the Enterprise Content Division at Dell EMC, gave his take on digital transformation in Life Sciences. When asked about why Life Sciences organizations are embracing digital transformation, “to survive” was definitely on the list. However, he also said that they are doing it to “thrive.” To watch the video, click here.
People in the life sciences industry typically want to help improve patient outcomes. They want to have an impact on improving people’s health and well-being. In some cases, the drugs, devices and products they work with are lifesaving. Therefore, it’s imperative that all key stakeholders understand how their specific goals can combine to positively impact not only their department, company and industry but the larger human condition. To quote Tony Robbins again, “People are not lazy. They simply have impotent goals – that is, goals that do not inspire them.”
What you need is a plan of action
To quickly recap: Digital transformation is the resolution. Goals must be set to enable transformation. These goals must tie each stakeholder’s part to a larger effort that inspires people to take action. And goals are….pure fantasy unless you have a specific plan to achieve them (says Stephen Covey.)
In the paper, “The Future of Pharma is Digital” published by Gartner Research, the research showed that many CIOs and IT leaders are having trouble either identifying value that can be delivered digitally, developing the right digital strategies to enable execution or struggling to align with potential digital stakeholders without taking on too much risk. Gartner identifies four steps that can be taken to prepare for the future and identifies the seven burning issues that need to be addressed in order to be successful. This may help provide some direction for those grappling with these challenges.
Making Your Digital Transformation Resolution Stick
As you think about your own personal resolutions for the year ahead, also think about your professional goals. If you are a Leader in a Life Sciences organization and digital transformation is part of your “new or better state” in 2017, think about the steps you need to take to articulate the vision, convey the rationale behind it, socialize it with your key stakeholders and make a clear, actionable and measurable plan. For others, gain a clear understanding of how your work directly supports these large initiatives and the positive outcomes it can generate. And for everyone, feel free to leverage the resources provided in this blog: