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Digital Transformation Consulting: Top Challenges

Digital Transformation Consulting: Top Challenges

The Digital Transformation consulting space is one of the most lucrative and stressful right now. Today, I had an insightful discussion with Raj (name changed to protect his privacy), a technology leader in the digital transformation space working for a major consulting firm. We spoke about the critical challenges he and his peers are facing. This is part of the research project I am conducting. Below, I share with you highlights from the discussion as it can be very helpful for you.

Raj started by explaining his role, “I work with C-suite executives in my organization, as well as on my clients’ side, working on transformation projects and bringing up emerging tech, understanding the client needs, the problems, etc., and then creating journeys around it.”

3 Key Challenges for Digital Transformation Consultants

1) Balancing Vision and Practicality

Raj mentioned, “The biggest challenge that I feel is that there is an imbalance between the transformation that the clients or the leaders are thinking currently. Few leaders are thinking way ahead of time… On the other hand, there are leaders who are not so agile.” Sometimes the same client would have some senior leaders who are pushing for too much. Then, there are others who don’t think digital transformation should be as much of a priority. This leads to a lot of frustration as many clients are pushing for unrealistic digital transformation goals to be met while others underestimate the importance of the work consultants are doing. Often this is happening at the same client. This, of course, requires consultants to have superior communication and influence skills to agree on common goals and a way forward.

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2) Staying Up to Date on Rapid Technological Developments

Another significant challenge Raj is dealing with is having to stay up to date on technological advances. He highlighted 3 key areas when it comes to skills development required for the delivery of digital transformation consulting services: technology, transformation, and adaptability.

He said, “By that, I mean, how can I keep on evolving and learning very fast so that I do not get stagnant in the industry?” Clients expect consultants to be up to date on technological advancements. There is significant pressure to constantly grasp new technologies and create business cases out of them. Raj said, “If I am not open to learn things… I’m not agile enough to manage things mentally, then it is very difficult to create a business case out of it.”

A specific example Raj mentioned is a shift from AI to generative AI. “Six months before, we were focusing on AI… but immediately, everybody is behind generative AI.”

This makes the digital transformation consulting space one of the most lucrative but also one of the most stressful areas of consulting to be in, where consultants are under constant pressure to “understand the technology piece very fast and create a business case out of it.” The significant pressure of having to stay up to date basically in real-time and translate technological advancements into business cases for clients is very stressful and can be overwhelming.

Then, add a layer for managing multiple tasks and teams. Raj mentioned, “The challenges are handling the previous projects that we have delivered, or they are in the implementation phase, and on top of that, upskilling ourselves on the new technology, and then doing some sales, doing some consulting on the new technology.” This also leaves very limited time to focus on managing other crucial areas that leaders must manage, such as building and leading a team and building your own skillset as a leader (beyond technical expertise).

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Noteworthy Highlight

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3) Dealing with Ambigous Client Expectations

The third major challenge is having to deal with ambiguous client expectations. “If I’m not clear with what is expected from the team, then, of course, I’m not going to get what is required to make our solutions better.” The miscommunication often comes from clients not being clear on what they expect from the project. “The expectations from the client side are never clear… it is never very definite.” The way Raj deals with it is by getting the team together and brainstorming to identify the gaps in what the client is communicating versus what they are actually expecting from the team, so they can deliver the project to the client’s satisfaction.

5 Years Vision

If you want to benchmark your 5-year vision to Raj’s 5-year vision…

Five years down the line, if all unfolds well, Raj sees himself “as the CEO who is committed to creating a large impact at the industry level, not at the organization level or the country level… maybe creating something disruptive, solving people’s problems, making them more comfortable in their lives.”

Action steps:

– Ask yourself, are you paying enough attention to the top 3 challenges Raj prioritized? You may not be in the digital transformation consulting space, but does what Raj shared shed light on some challenges you may not be paying enough attention to?
– How does that align with the top 3 challenges you prioritized? Are you missing something important?
– What is your 5 years vision? How does it compare to Raj’s? Are you dreaming big enough? Does your vision incorporate adding value to the world, not just meeting personal career goals?

Take care,

Kris Safarova

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