Why is «Digital Business Transformation» still so difficult?

In many companies there is still a misconception about what “Digital Transformation” really means. And yes, I am referring here to the “Digital (Business) Transformation” and not only to Digitalization and definitely not to Digitization (See Digitization, Digitalization, and Digital Transformation – What’s the Difference?)

Many leaders of organizations still see “Digital Transformation” as something that “happens as part of the IT”. But “Digital Transformation” at its core has nothing to do with IT.

It is true, that “Digital Transformation” will use IT as one of the enablers of the business transformation and a strong alignment is highly desirable.

But a CIO will normally talk about “Technology: Infrastructure, Back-bone, TCO, DevOps, stability” while a CDO should be more concerned about “People: Culture, HR, Change Management, New Business Models, agility”.

Depending on the business the company operates in, IT may also be considered as commodity/non-strategic and under a CFO (=> strong focus on operational cost).

The “Digital (Business) Transformation” and hence the CDO however must play a strategic role for the future growth of the company. As such this role needs to be dominant on the executive board, strongly aligning with the strategy set by the Board of Directors.