Our advice to them was straight forward: way too much information, way too much detail. Having paid for this advice, they took it and drastically simplified the content, to a degree that they felt that they’d left out essential information. Then they ran a pilot course for selected executives. In the words of the head of training, the results were disastrous: most of the executives very quickly got lost. When I spoke to him afterwards, he was disconsolate. He kept repeating that he couldn’t believe how little the target audience understood about software and how huge the gap is between what his audience actually knows and what they need to know.
In my experience, this is a common problem, one that needs to be addressed in order for a digitalization program to get off the ground, let alone be successful. Companies that are succeeding at digitalization have a number of things in common, one of which is that their program is supported by their top executives. These executives tend to be dyed-in-the-wool entrepreneurs. Individuals who are driven by a powerful vision, appreciate the challenges involved and accordingly build a team of capable people around them who understand the issues, including digital technologies and software. Often they are the CEO of a small-medium sized family business.
Larger organisations contemplating a digitalization program can learn from these lighthouse successes. They should make sure that their executives at least understand the software challenges involved and encourage them to put together a team of domain experts, including digital technology/software specialists.