I'm at the stage in my career where I see "Digital Transformation" and want to cross out the "Digital".
There is something about "Digital" that causes people to lose sight of the bigger picture. Kind of ironic given that IT waves the TCO flag so enthusiastically.
To give an example of a non-digital change that didn't yield the benefits it should have, consider shipping breakages.
A company was concerned by the costs of breakages. Someone came up with the idea of putting a thick rubber matt in the bottom of the trucks to protect against breakages. It worked, but the weight of the mat reduced the carrying capacity of the trucks and increased the fuel consumption in those that weren't fully laden. It turns out the costs of preventing breakages outweighed the savings.
Transformation is hard work. You can apply a bell curve to people's attitude to change.
- Change is fantastic !
- Change is probably for the better but I want to see proof.
- Change is probably bad I need to be shown otherwise
- Change is awful, get behind thee Satan
Absolutely change has to be driven from the top though I am convinced that it needs active engagement and continual engagement from the top. If you don't maintain continual engagement then the people who think change "is probably for the better" become "is probably bad" people.
You have to monitor the change too as people find it easier to slide back into the old ways of doing things and keep very quiet about it.
You also have to consider that your "Change is fantastic" people tend not to stay in one position for long so you will lose progressively more of them over time. Yes, change takes time but you are also up against a time limit where you lose a war of attrition.