Change Management vs. Digital Transformation (With Examples)

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What is the difference between digital transformation and change management?


Digital Transformation – Free Image on Pixabay
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Let’s define first Digital transformation. I like the setting Salesforce uses: “The process of using digital technologies to create new business processes – or change existing ones – business processes, culture and customer experiences to meet changing business and market demands. This re-imagining of business in the digital age is a digital transformation.”

So what Management change? You will get different answers depending on who you ask. For example, project managers see change management as a process of obtaining approvals for project scope, schedules, or budget changes. IT professionals view change management as a process for approving, testing, and installing new hardware or software. Prosci, the world leader in change management solutions, sees change management from an organizational and people perspective. Their definition for change management is Implementing a structured process and a set of tools to lead the people’s side of the change to achieve a desired result. “ For the purpose of this discussion, we will focus on the organizational perspective.

The most magical place on earth and digital change


Disney Castle, Singapore
Photo by Jorge Martínez, Instagram @ jmartinezz9 On Unsplash

Now that we have defined digital transformation and change management, we will start with a great example of a company that has successfully implemented digital transformation. But first, let me challenge you to guess who the company is. Let me give you a hint: their motto is “the most magical place on earth”. You guessed it. The company is Disney World.

Introduced in 2013, the Disney MagicBand was part of a powerful technological innovation for the guest experience, allowing guests to manage their reservations, make payments and access their hotel room. Following their transformation journey for guests, in March 2021 Disney announced the MagicMobile service, which works like the MagicBand but on a mobile device. Disney has indeed re-imagined their business in the digital age to meet the changing needs of its customers.

As George Westerman, MIT Digital Business Center, puts it, “When the digital transformation is done right, it’s like a caterpillar turning into a butterfly, but when you do it wrong, all you have is a really fast caterpillar.”

Re-inventing Microsoft through organizational change


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Now, let’s look at managing Microsoft’s changes in relation to organizational structure. When CEO Satya Nadella joined the ship in 2014, he announced that her ability to change her culture would be a leading indicator of her future success. This kind of message coming from the CEO is both strong and essential for successful organizational change.

When he shared his new mission, one of the key changes he wanted to promote was to create a more collaborative and creative environment. He will do this by first removing the barriers created by a muted approach. And thanks to Satya’s leadership, Microsoft has succeeded in its organizational changes, as can be seen in its stock prices and employee morale. Keep watching Microsoft as they change and adapt to the markets they serve.

Sarah Clayton, senior partner at Koren Perry, participant, “Few things are more important during a change event than communication from leaders who can paint a clear and trusting vision of the future.”

Managing changes related to digital transformation


Change neon light signage
Photo by Ross Findon On Unsplash

As you can see, managing organizational change is essential for the successful implementation of digital transformation initiatives. Although each term has its own unique definition, the very nature of the digital transformation requires change management protocols. Think of the example of Disney World. When they carried out their digital transformation into MagicBands and MagicMobile, they prepared their organization for change, formulated their vision and plan, implemented the changes and assimilated the changes in their processes, and most importantly, in their culture. They continue to review progress and analyze results to ensure they provide guests with the ultimate customer experience.

Digital transformation will continue to be an essential strategy for companies and their C-suite teams, especially if they want to remain competitive in a rapidly changing environment. Take a look around and see companies that are embracing change management. These companies see change management as an essential tool that ensures a successful digital transformation.

post Scriptum. If you liked this article, check it out Previous article In a series that explains the difference between strategies and actions.

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