Getting digital wrong

Lee Huang has written an article for the ClickZ Network which does a good job of outlining the barriers to companies going digital. He writes:

“An organization is a living, breathing, dynamic ecosystem comprised of people with different roles, compensation plans, career goals, motivations, work ethics, and tolerance levels for change. It has many levels of business processes, decision-making, and bureaucracy. Although companies won’t admit it, there are always competing and conflicting business goals within the same company between different business units, divisions, and personnel.

“When a company injects ‘digital’ into an established corporate structure, major organizational changes must take place within the company. The companies that do digital well understand and implement changes to their corporate structure so they can fully embrace digital. Planning and implementing these changes are incredibly difficult because they affect every part of an organization’s ecosystem. To succeed and to stay in business, you’ve got to do it.

“Here are the key mistakes that companies make.

  • Don’t have the right people, skills, positions, and compensation plans.
  • Don’t have the right organizational structure in place to effectively leverage digital and to integrate it with existing business units.
  • Have the wrong people making digital/interactive decisions.
  • Haven’t updated existing business processes or created necessary new ones.
  • Don’t have any change management initiatives.
  • Don’t have executive support.

“This results in:

  • Poorly designed, watered-down digital products that have no compelling, differentiating value proposition due to not having the right skills and having the wrong people make decisions.
  • Being late to market due to bureaucracy and inability to move at digital speed.
  • Lost customers.
  • Missed revenue opportunities and revenue loss.
  • Loss of market leadership and/or market share.
  • Confusion and low morale across organization.
  • Frustration and conflicts between colleagues.
  • Staff defections. “

I look forward to reading his next column in this series and see his views on how to get it right.

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And now for something completely different…

Online education at the moment is dominated by what I call ‘PowerPoint on steroids’. Out-of-the-box solutions such as Pointecast and Articulate and many bespoke systems are based on turning PowerPoint slides into Flash. Sure, you can embed video, add voiceovers and conduct interactive quizzes, but the learning is still based on reading bullet points on screen.

Is this the best method for continuing professional development? With video getting easier and cheaper to produce online, surely there’s a way to use it more creatively than sticking talking heads in the middle of a presentation, or placing them next to scrolling bullet points (particularly when the presentation goes on forĀ 45 minutes or more). Panel discussions, particularly if the speakers don’t all agree with each other, are one way this can be handled creatively. The Rural Health Education Foundation’s video education program is one of the very few examples of this. I wonder what the relative percentages are for people who respond best to reading off a screen vs. listening to someone talk via video?