How to address the reluctance for Digital Transformation?

class=j-img-floatstartDigital Transformation is in full swing now and adopted by almost all the industries to improve the customer experience. But not everyone is sailing smooth. In fact, a majority of Digital Transformation initiatives face resistance to change and remain in the status quo.


Change is rarely comfortable, for the majority of organizations & employees. It is a normal attitude that when things are going well, why change? Like with any transformation, the lack of interest for change or the fear of consequences puts breaks on the changes you want to bring about.


Status quo comes from various different levels


  • Organization Leadership: Even at senior level, leaders feel why an external consultant coming into the organization and teaching us what to do, how to communicate with the customer or which business models to choose from. Hence leaders are reluctant to adopt digital open heartedly.
  • Cultural change: The unwillingness of senior managers to accept cultural change.
  • Line Managers of IT Department: Most of the time, IT managers are focused on keeping the lights on and maintaining legacy infrastructure and systems. Digital brings in new demands from business and their priorities are different when it comes to new initiatives.
  • Individual Employee: Many big companies have veterans in their organizations serving more than 15-20 years in the same company. They resist the change of anything new coming their way. Benefits of digital transformation for individual employees and teams are often not so clear – and uncertainty surrounding the future often results in fear to adopt digital
  • Too much is changing, too fast, hence it is hard to keep up

Let us see how to address these status quo scenarios.


  • Ask senior most leader or CEO to drive the change for Digital with full support from the board.  Leaders need to present a clear and compelling vision of what success will look like
  • Let business owners take the call and IT be just an enablement instead of driving the initiatives.
  • Get all your staff involved in digital. Convince the employees that Digital is for their own betterment & help them do their job better
  • Create an enterprise social network to evangelize digital across the organization
  • IT can help build their competencies and capabilities.
  • 360 degrees communication: Communicate project success and celebrate them which increases transparency, motivates team members & employees to get a sense of the journey and progress on it, as key milestones are attained.
  • With top management’s support for further projects other passive stakeholders are attracted to adopt the change. Senior executives to communicate with employees across all levels of the organization
  • The organization has to decide which new tools are the most appropriate and efficient to acquire and use to avoid changing everything at once


Digital Transformation brings in the new business models and it will change the way business is carried out.

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  1. How relevant is reluctance in the current business environment? Need for Digital Transformation is knocking at the door and whether business leaders like it or not they have to change. 

  2. Well said  

    The square one is the leader. A top down approach is the best to embrace transformation. Club that with effective change management tactics – that is a marvel in itself. 

    Some organizations also face IT level challenges which restricts introduction of new technology into their ecosystem. But like  pointed out, they have to change eventually.

    For instance, the IT systems of airlines that started 10 years ago are way too old and do not accommodate essential features that today’s travelers want. Many are reluctant to change fearing business impact and cost overrides. Some airlines have opted for Unisys’ AirCore for such IT transformation – they did not face much of challenges and are already reaping a host of benefits.

    With experts looped in the game, this IT transition and transformation can be a cake walk – and definitely not as challenging as most people imagine. 

  3. thanks Nitin, I have seen this reluctance considering the unknowns. But yes it cannot be taken as blanket statement. i should have said some leaders are showing reluctance.

  4. thanks Ganesh, it is not the question of hard or cakewalk. It is questions of reluctance to change and has to be managed from senior most level as culture change with taking employees in confidence that it will be for their good. 

    Not much worried about IT as you said rightly, an external expert can manage the show.

  5. Yup. Agreed. And speaking of change management – which also addresses reluctance, here is something that I found useful online >>… 

  6. Hi Sandeep, Thank you for the reply. You did mention Change is rarely comfortable for the majority of organizations & employees. That indicates its not a blanket statement.

    The point I wanted to drive was that accepting Digital Transformation is no longer just an option, so reluctance does not seem to matter anymore.

  7. Good read, From the change perspective Culture Change is the toughest one. 

    I had written this on Digitalist magzine 

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