Digital transformation is inevitable. Although the process is hard work for most companies worldwide, in the end it will redefine how organizations do business and engage with customers, providing a customer journey with more user-friendliness, efficiency and loss of friction.

But who is the driving force behind this process? Who is leading digital transformation? Businesses eager to set upon this path of digital transformation tend to rely on IT to make things happen. They presume that, because digital and technology are undoubtedly intertwined, it’s up to the IT department to take the driver’s seat. In the end, they are the ones who know and manage all systems and will have to implement them in the existing organizational structures.

Customer onboarding

But no, not IT but business should always be leading digital transformation. Indeed, a lot of businesses turn this around but the role of IT should be one of support and not control. Why? Because of the customer.

Business knows the customer best, not IT. Business knows how to communicate with the customer, what their needs and expectations are. Therefore it’s important that business leads digital transformation because the first step to take when transforming digitally, is customer onboarding. It’s important to get to truly know the customer and use external customer insights to shape your business to their specific needs instead of the other way around. This will immediately impact your internal processes and boost customer retention and your business in the long term.

Organizational culture

Although business should be the driving force behind digital transformation, the process also implies a change in the whole organizational culture to create and foster a digital mindset in every department, regardless of whether that’s business, IT or any other department. The digital way of working has to be actively promoted, meaning as an organization you might have to repeat yourself over and over again or go back and start from scratch.

Replacing the traditional waterfall practice with a true agile one will allow you to build the right service for the right users within a lower budget and a shorter time-to-market. Teams must experiment, deliver, pivot, measure, learn and iterate based on new insights and user feedback. Whether you call your business practices Agile, Lean, Scrum, Kaizen, or something else, make sure that you keep your customers in mind, and be sure to value agility and adaptability over centralization and tradition.