Digital Transformation: How Independence is Leading the Way 

Written By: Kyler Cheatham
Date: September 21, 2022

Recently, Third Stage ranked in the top 1/3 on the Inc. 5000 fastest privately owned companies in U.S. list. Our exponential growth is a direct product of the demand and value of independence and technology agnostic services.

The importance of independence is becoming much more widely understood and accepted in the IT industry as an attribute that leads to more successful projects. Independence from any one particular vendor, product, or solution allows for the best technology decisions to be made on a case-by-case basis. This can be contrasted with the traditional model of systems integration where a single firm – oftentimes with little or no skin in the game – defines, sells, and implements an end-to-end solution. This leads to less successful projects because it is based on a single point of failure – the integrator themselves.

Why is Independence Becoming a High Priority in Digital Strategy?

Independence also allows for more transparency and collaboration between different parts of the organization. When different groups are working independently towards a common goal, it leads to a more open and iterative process. This is in contrast to the traditional model of top-down, command and control where decisions are made by a small group of people at the top of the organization and then promulgated down through the ranks.

Is no secret that most digital transformation projects fail. In fact, a recent study by Harvard Business Review found that 70% of all digital transformation initiatives fail. There are many reasons for this, but one of the most important is the lack of independence and transparency. By definition, digital transformation is a complex undertaking that requires the coordination of many different moving parts. If any one of these parts is not working correctly, it can throw the entire project off track.

This is why independence is becoming a high priority in digital strategy. Organizations are beginning to realize that they need to work with multiple partners to succeed. This includes working with independent technology partners who can provide objective advice and guidance throughout the process.

Another reason is the overall increase in digital transformation projects in general. According to a recent study by Statista, "In 2022, spending on digital transformation (DX) is projected to reach 1.8 trillion U.S. dollars. By 2025, global digital transformation spending is forecast to reach 2.8 trillion U.S. dollars."As businesses become more reliant on technology, they are undertaking more initiatives to improve their digital capabilities. This is putting pressure on organizations to find ways to improve their chances of success.

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Why is Independence Important to Your Business Transformation Project?

Risk Management

As the number of digital transformation projects increases, so does the need for independence. This is because digital transformation is inherently risky. There are many unknowns and potential pitfalls. By working with multiple partners, organizations can mitigate some of these risks.

For example, suppose an organization is planning a digital transformation project to improve its customer experience. It might engage an independent firm to help it understand the customer journey and identify potential improvements. The firm would then work with the organization to develop a plan and implement the necessary changes.

This approach has several advantages. First, it allows the organization to get an objective view of its customer experience. Second, it provides a level of protection against potential risks. There is shared accountability and collaboration to ensure the technology supports the business goals.

If you engage the right advisors they will also have the experience to understand, identify, and mitigate potential risks before they happen. This is the insurance policy for your transformation project. These partners have one job: make your technology transformation successful according to YOUR goals.

Saturation of Solutions

The marketplace is saturated with technology solutions. Gone are the days of three or four core systems to choose from. With the emergence of best-of-breed solutions and the need for these to work together, enterprises are finding it difficult to keep up with the changes and to know which ones are right for your organization. This is especially true if you don't have a clear understanding of your own needs.

An independent firm can help you assess your needs and identify the right solution for your organization. They can also guide how to implement the solution and make sure it integrates seamlessly with your existing systems.

Organizations need unbias support in navigating through powerful software marketing machines to select a system that will maximize business value.

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Maneuvering Bias and Partner Agendas

Oftentimes, technology projects are driven by vendor agendas. This can lead to decision-making that is not in the best interest of the organization.

For example, a vendor may push for a particular solution because it's the one they're most familiar with. Or, they may have a financial incentive to sell a certain product. In either case, the vendor's bias can cloud their judgment and lead to decisions that are not in the best interest of the organization.

It's a software vendor's job to sell you software. It's a system integrator's job to implement your software. They're not overly concerned with what happens after the project is complete. Because of this bias, they may overlook important success factors like organizational change management or user adoption strategies.

This is where an independent firm can add value.

An independent firm is not driven by vendor agendas. Their only concern is making sure the project is successful according to the bsuiness goals. This allows them to provide objective advice and guidance throughout the project. These partners can also help you navigate the complex web of vendor relationships. They are your transformation coach.

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Heightened Transparency

Transparency is always a challenge for organizations that embark on a digital transformation alone. From a human behavior perspective, it's only natural for employees to hold back or not be forthcoming with management regarding problems with the project. The complexities of interpersonal relationships, fear of poor performance reviews, and other factors can lead to a lack of transparency.

This can be a major problem because it leads to decision-making that is not based on accurate information. As a result, the project can quickly become derailed.

An independent firm can help you overcome this challenge by providing a level of transparency that is not possible with internal resources. They can act as a sounding board for employees and help gather accurate information about the project. This allows you to make informed decisions that are based on accurate information.

Take it From an Expert Witness

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Much of our audience doesn't know this, but Third Stage acts as an expert witness in failed digital transformations that result in some type of legal issue. We have seen it all, including organizations that have been through extremely expensive, disruptive, and frankly embarrassing technology implementations.

The reason lawyers call us to advise is because of our independence. We have no dog in the fight. We're not trying to sell you anything. Our only concern is providing accurate information that can help you resolve the issue.

This is the same type of objectivity and expertise that we bring to our clients. We're not trying to sell you anything. We're not trying to push a particular solution. Our only concern is making sure your project is successful.

If you're considering a digital transformation, we urge you to consider working with an independent firm. The benefits far outweigh the costs. You'll get unbiased advice, expert guidance, and heightened transparency. These are just a few of the reasons why independence is leading the way when it comes to digital transformation.

If you have any questions or just want to have an informal conversation regarding your digital transformation, please feel free to reach out to me directly -

I also highly recommend you download our newly released 2023 Digital Transformation Report. It's packed with information about the current state of digital transformation and best practices to ensure your technology projects are successful.

Kyler Cheatham

Kyler Cheatham is a digital artist and innovator who is always thinking of new ways to improve the world around her. As the Global Marketing Director at Third Stage Consulting, she uses her creativity and tech-savvyness to help businesses reach their target audiences. Kyler is also a thought leader in the digital marketing space, and she loves sharing her knowledge with others. She is also a mother of two young children, which has given her a unique perspective on balancing work and family life.

Kyler Cheatham
Kyler Cheatham is a digital artist and innovator who is always thinking of new ways to improve the world around her. As the Global Marketing Director at Third Stage Consulting, she uses her creativity and tech-savvyness to help businesses reach their target audiences. Kyler is also a thought leader in the digital marketing space, and she loves sharing her knowledge with others. She is also a mother of two young children, which has given her a unique perspective on balancing work and family life.
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