Is Digital Transformation a threat or an opportunity for

By Hani Hmedeh

If we think about technology today and the way it is impacting our personal life and work, it is all evolving because of digital evolution. Digital transformation and the term digital itself is very challenging nowadays, so what is the effect of this digital transformation on organizations in general and on project management industry in specific. 

The power of Digital and the importance of the Transformation

The capabilities and technologies have evolved in the last few decades. The power of this digital transformation had introduced a new set of capabilities that changed the way we work and operate. This transformation had unlocked the true value of the organization and resulted in a minor change in its culture. This is because it impacts the operational model that will, therefore, define the future of the organization.

The role of the project managers in this Transformation 

Transformation is more than moving a company from one state to another at the executive level. it's much more about execution, implementation, and operating the business including the management of the project. With this newly introduced capability and technology; It is the stage where the execution muscle of the organization like the Functional Managers, the Project Managers, and the leaders can take the vision from their leaders and translate that into execution keeping intact the organization’s operations, management, and development activities.

Adapt and Adopt 

It is very important for the project manager to adopt and adapt with the digital capabilities and technology available in the organization to realize the benefits, risk, and challenges it introduces. Such transformation will force a new change in the team culture, customer experiences and project management tools & techniques.


New Technology

When we go back to the late '80s into the '90s, one of the biggest technology transformations that were going on was the ERP system. That was a technology transformation era where it was a fundamental shift in the core technology that an organization would utilize. But what never actually changed was the way in which the company worked, and it didn't change how customers were served.
One of the biggest changes introduced by the digital transformation is the way:
  • People interact with each other,
  • Organizations interact with both their employees and customers,
  • Project manager to interact with the project team and the project stakeholders. 
With this challenge, Project Manager should have a good knowledge about the new communication capabilities advantage/ disadvantages, limitation/ and power in order to maximize their opportunities and minimize their threads threats.
“You can't win a court case if you don't understand the law very well”

New Talent

A lot of times, people think digital equals technology, so a digital transformation is the same as a technology transformation. That's a big risk!!! 
What's happening now with digital is it's much more than technology. Yes, the digital transformation does have some components in which you're going to introduce technology and software capabilities to support your transformation journey, but you are now designing a fundamentally new set of experiences, products, and services for your customers.  
Employees and project managers are reinventing it because they've got a new set of capabilities now at their disposal. It is very risky to have a wrong talent in a right environment. You should have a capable human resource to drive the business taking advantages of technology. 
“You can’t win a Formula One race with a good car only… you have to have a good driver.” 


New Culture

Organizations believe that they can shift from where they are today to where they need to be tomorrow without undergoing the proper cultural transformation in the organization. This is an underestimation of the challenge!!! 
It's not just about bringing in the right technology, and it's not just about bringing in and hiring the right people. There is a fundamental shift in the culture and mindset of an organization and the project team in accordance with where they want to change the way organization works.
You're no longer going to have a waterfall, a linear mindset or methodology. You are going to have a dynamic agile approach to manage your project and the team members because you now must work in an entirely different way.  You have to take the existing teams and combine them and infuse the right digital mindset and talent into that team.
“You can't lead a change if you don’t change yourself.”

Final Recommendation

Technology is moving fast, and other industries are moving slower, you can’t implement all the changes and accept all the practices just to stay Up-To-Date. You have to be selective and agree to take the standard practices with a certain accepted margin of innovation.
People drive the business and it is important to have the right talents, but the most important is to develop and manage that talent to empower your project with a proper resource management. 
Finally, the culture change is a mandatory requirement in the digital era, and it's not a one-time change, you have to keep transforming yourself and keep making those cultural changes over and over again, because your customer expectations change very quickly, your employee expectations change very quickly, so it's a non-stop era.

By Hani Hmedeh