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Uncertainty: Is your digital transformation journey already jeopardised?

Uncertainty has crashed like a wave in the business world, but the tide has been rising for decades.

Today’s megatrends illustrate a world in motion where the pace of change is always pushing forward. From systemisation and automation to completely changing the way industries are run: evolving technologies have stolen the limelight regarding global business disruption.

Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic has also taken its toll. However, researchers at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Stanford University found that uncertainty has been increasing for more than 30 years — and quite significantly over the last 10. By this measure, the pandemic accelerated rather than started the trend.

The dangerous safety of the “known”

With the sea of uncertainty always advancing (and quickly), it’s natural to find ourselves feeling powerless and out of control. As human beings, we like to feel that we’re masters of our own ships and enjoy the familiarity that comes with planning for the future.

The same is true for business. We strive to create safety and security for our organisation by preparing intentional strategic and tactical plans that might counteract the unknown.

But when it comes to your digital transformation journey — whilst planning is essential — uncertainty and challenges are also key to its success.

Let’s take a game of chess as an example. There is no known sequence of moves that guarantee either side a win. You must keep changing your strategy, often placing your pieces in an uncomfortable position in order to beat your opponent and reacting according to their moves. The same is true for digital transformation. Whilst having a roadmap for the journey is key, being stretched by uncertainty is what leads to growth and can be the difference between a successful and failed digital transformation.

Are you just surviving the uncertainty?

So we know that disruption and uncertainty are a part of the digital transformation process. But what is the best response when your transformation journey finds itself in rocky waters? And what are the benefits to businesses that are able to harness its forces?

In 2018, Accenture identified a growth mindset as “one of the 10 intelligences that will gain momentum in the AI workplace”.

Today, leaders across the business world are recognising this and having conversations with their teams. Clearly what these leaders have in common is an understanding that big changes require an open mind.

But what fewer leaders may realise is that success in your digital transformation journey will become the default once you adopt a growth mindset. In such a rapidly changing landscape, this outlook brings a totally different attitude to uncertainty: failure becomes learning, feedback becomes an opportunity, challenges lead to innovation and problem-solving drives development and growth.

Accepting the need to think differently means you are ready and able to change continuously rather than reactively. You are one step ahead of the game and that’s why uncertainty and disruption will no longer stand as a barrier to your success.

‘Rocking the boat’ with you: does your tech partner have what it takes?

A good technology partner will not try and calm the storms of uncertainty. They will recognise that it is part of the journey and can only lead to later success and growth.

Make sure you take the time to select a partner that is ready to challenge the status quo and encourages you to focus on the gains, opportunities and potential that can arise from uncertainty.

The bottom line is: if they don’t share this view, your digital transformation journey is already jeopardised because it is impossible to chart a certain path through uncertain waters.