Governments are claiming they have ‘digitally transformed’. The reality is that they have mostly digitised existing processes.

This is not something to be celebrated, it’s a citizen expectation. Delivering the exact same product or service, enabled by online forms is not transformation.

AI is being adopted. The chatbot is in vogue, helping automate customer service. In most cases however the service to the customer hasn’t changed and there’s little sign of operational efficiency being made on a grand scale. Occasionally a call centre will claim they’ve saved 10% of their time due to the emerging technology but upon enquiry, they haven’t achieved a 10% cost reduction. The chatbot is an easy way to tick the box to say we’re using AI without having to transform.

Truly transformed businesses have a new defined ‘To-Be’ state that is radically different from the current state. The entire business does not have to shift, only small parts at a time. Digitising existing services is a necessary first step but it’s not transformation. It rarely leads to new sustaining competitive advantage or operational efficiency. Those deluding themselves that they are transforming are at as much risk of disruption as those that have no plans to transform at all.

The starting point for true transformation is leadership education. They must have the open mindset and accept that the future is not like anything that’s happened in the past. It is however predictable.

Leaders will not be replaced by AI but those that understand AI and digital transformation will replace those that don’t.

This blog first appeared on Linkedin.

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Q1: What Happens to Businesses that don't Digitally Transform?