This post covers the topic of digital transformation and how to identify and avoid the “sins,” or mistakes that have plagued different organizations that have either attempted digital initiatives or ignored the need to change in the era of digital business.

Digital transformation can take on many forms including investing in underlying technology platforms, transforming a business model or organizational operations and culture, and improving the customer experience. The seven deadly sins refer to the traditional sins of lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy, and pride that have been referenced in literature, art, and culture throughout modern history. While I’ll leave you to your own research of the traditional definitions of these sins, each have the potential to manifest negatively in the people, process, and technology aspects of digital transformation if they are not recognized and avoided.

For example, lust can make someone take on a digital initiative for a show of power or influence rather than substantive reasons that will benefit customers or the organization. Gluttony occurs when there is an overinvestment in one specific area of digital transformation at the expense of other needed areas. Greed can make someone chase the hot new method or channel before assessing if it fits into the organization’s goals and objectives. Greed_Blog_127 2

Sloth can contribute to a lack of vision and commitment in senior leadership as well as a lack of engagement within the organizational culture, all of which act as barriers to accomplishing a transformation. Wrath is evident in the ongoing power struggles between Marketing and IT departments and creates a counter-productive environment for building the underlying technology systems architecture.

Envy allows the uninformed to desire an observed outcome without understanding its origins or elements and expect actions that neither resonate with the needs of their customers nor deliver on the stated strategies of their organization. Pride is a true company killer that obscures the need to transform to stay competitive and relevant in our fluid business marketplace.

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Whether you are undertaking a comprehensive digital transformation or managing a specific digital project, providing a better customer experience or enabling your organization to do so should be the ultimate goal. The better you are at avoiding the pitfalls above, the closer you’ll move toward accomplishing your particular digital initiative.