What are Digital Transformation Silos?

Digital transformation silos refer to situations where different parts of an organisation operate independently and do not communicate or collaborate effectively with each other in the context of digital transformation efforts. Silos can form when there are cultural or structural barriers that prevent cross-functional teams from working together, such as different reporting lines, conflicting priorities, or a lack of shared goals or incentives.

Digital transformation silos are nothing new, and most people who have been in the business of change or transformation for more than a few years will have tasted their unsavoury consequences. In this digital decade, successful digital business transformation is highly dependent upon leaders who will steer their digital endeavours strategically and holistically, while avoiding the silo effect.

digital transformation silos

Despite this fundamental success factor, it's startling to see one of IDC’s predictions, which suggests that around 70% of siloed digital transformation initiatives will ultimately fail due to insufficient collaboration, integration, sourcing or project management.

“Desired business outcomes from DX follow innovation projects that integrate new digital technologies into stable business services and incorporate new skills, techniques, and culture into the fabric of the IT and LOB organisations. Initiatives that do not infuse innovation into the scale and breadth of the total enterprise have not achieved the prime directive: digital transformation”.
– Bill Keyworth, VP of Research at IDC

Too many well-intentioned yet inexperienced folk are leading their digital endeavours in this non-strategic and siloed manner. Some are blinkered by individual technologies such as cloud or mobile, while others are driven by technology trends as opposed to business needs. Many are simply deploying individual digital solutions, with innovation and integration nowhere to be seen, which misses the point of holistic digital business transformation.

Thankfully some leaders have done their homework and taken advantage of research, frameworks and guidance that is now available. Whether they have upgraded their transformation knowledge through their own trusted transformation advisor or THRIVE training they will have upgraded their transformation knowledge in order to help them get digital business transformation done right. While others make it up as they go along and steer their people into clouds of chaos and confusion.

How to break down digital transformation silos

Digital transformation silos can be a significant barrier to success, as they can lead to redundancy, inefficiency, and a lack of alignment across the organisation. Silos can also impede innovation and prevent organisations from leveraging their collective expertise and resources to drive digital transformation.

To break down digital transformation silos, organisations need to take a collaborative and holistic approach to digital transformation that involves all stakeholders across the organisation. This can involve creating cross-functional teams or task forces that are empowered to drive digital transformation initiatives, as well as establishing a clear digital transformation vision and strategy that is communicated and embraced throughout the organisation.

Some strategies for breaking down digital transformation silos include:

  • Developing a culture of collaboration and communication, where all stakeholders are encouraged to share their expertise and work together towards shared goals.
  • Aligning incentives and goals across different departments and functions to ensure that everyone is working towards a common purpose.
  • Investing in digital tools and technologies that support collaboration and knowledge-sharing across the organisation.
  • Creating cross-functional teams or task forces that are responsible for driving digital transformation initiatives, and providing them with the resources and support they need to be successful.

By breaking down digital transformation silos, organisations can improve their ability to innovate, respond to changing customer needs, and compete in a rapidly changing digital landscape.

Managers and leaders can acquire new transformation management capabilities to break down any digital transformation silos.

The Big Question

The question that all organisations need answered with transparency is; “are our transformation leaders leveraging the latest research and expertise to approach transformation from a strategic business perspective? – or are they being steered into siloed digital transformation initiatives by the likes of sales-hungry account managers and technology trends?

Siloed initiatives have a long history of hindering corporate progress. Let’s hope that with the lessons learned and widely available transformation knowledge, leaders will seize the opportunity to upgrade their digital business transformation intelligence and prove IDC’s prediction for 2018 wrong.

While the video below is not specific to digital transformation, it highlights the age-old issue of The Silo Effect, which is a threat to the digital endeavours of too many organisations.