The unintended consequences of digital transformation

Digital transformation provides an opportunity to fundamentally change how organisations operate, which in turn, will change how we all work. Since we work with our clients on the more operational/HR/non-IT aspects of a digital transformation initiative, we have seen first-hand some of the unexpected consequences of this radical change.


Have you seen any of the following in your organisation?


  • The reduction in task-based management: In many organisations, management is very task-based; it is nothing more than a reporting line for further up the chain. With digital transformation, most task reporting is carried out automatically, so what role is left for the task-based manager? Management within companies must shift away from task-based reporting to become more focused on delivering values and outcomes.

  • Unlocking the potential for management by facts, not feelings: Digital transformation and AI is providing businesses with a wealth of management data and insights they never had before. Those businesses that fully embrace this trend and are prepared to listen to what the data tells them – instead of relying on their guy - will not just grow faster than their peers, but will do so at a far more predictable and sustainable rate.

  • Flattening of corporate hierarchies? This one is a bit more “out there” and is far from guaranteed, but there is an argument to be made that digital transformation increases the opportunity for corporations to adopt flatter organisational structures. With more doers and fewer managers (due to AI and more automated reporting) organisations have the opportunity to reduce their hierarchical structures, if they want to. Flatter corporate structures are proven to lead to more motivated employees. Could a rise in social enterprises / cooperatives be an unintended consequence of digital transformation?

  • Put an end to damaging “Hero Culture”: Personality-led management and decision making is bad for business. Traditional corporate structures have made heroes of the disruptors. But are disruptors necessarily good for the business? Corporate “Heroes” are often those who fixed something they either broke themselves or really should have foreseen. This is no way to run a company.


Have you seen any of these in your organisation? What else have you experienced?


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