I spent a good portion of 2017 talking to existing and potential customers, Director and C-suite level digital and technology leaders. And by listening hard I discovered a truth which connects everyone in digital. A problem that is holding back everyone’s progress.
It’s a one word problem: overwhelm.
Admitting to overwhelm is hard. But when you wake at 3am or confide in friends, it’s not because your life is easy. It’s because the world of technology is complex, fast changing and continuously confusing.
Here’s an aggregate of what 84 people told me over 7 months:
“On top of annual projects are new ideas from the CEO, new ideas from the marketing agency, and the requirement from the board to ‘innovate’. Then there are the fires to fight, meetings to wade through, cock ups to correct. You know, the day job.”
The Day Job Is The Enemy
The need for digital change is growing, but what else is growing? Hours in the day? Members of your team? Money in your budget? Knowledge within your team or existing suppliers?
I found a common thread across companies, industries and ‘types’ of digital team. It is the day job that is holding back strategic change. What’s more you can’t (and shouldn’t) work ALL the time, and you can’t expect it of your team if you want to keep them.
But avoiding strategic change is not an option. Otherwise your company could fall behind new entrants or smarter competitors. The cold reality is that overwhelm, whilst completely understandable, ends up becoming another form of procrastination, stopping you tackling the tasks that will progress your company and career.
Cost, Risk & Worry
From my conversations I found that often people know what they need to do. But finding someone to actually action the work was a real problem.
Digital transformation consultants will point out lots of new stuff you didn’t know you had to do, and then disappear leaving you with an even bigger in-tray. We were shocked to discover that some London consultancies want to charge £100,000 just for a workshop. Others charge £200,000+ for a 6-week design sprint.
Software vendors will sell you their solution, which will require £millions of investment, take years to implement and a wholesale replacement of legacy tech. And often your IT team stands in the way, as they too are overwhelmed with keeping tech infrastructure up & running.
Which means that as the digital leader you’re faced with a Big Decision To Make. A decision that costs a lot of money, creates a lot of disruption, and has a lot of risk of going wrong.
Fixing Digital Overwhelm
What you really need is a way to rapidly tick tasks off your list with low risk. To progress technological change in a way that doesn’t cost millions of pounds or require a wholesale change of your tech stack.
Yet there’s a simple method to go from reactive to proactive. The answer is focus and small steps. Rapid strategy followed by quantified action. Then repeat, every step built on data.
This insight builds on lessons learnt at my company Techdept. We’ve spent 14 years making custom technology for brands like World Wildlife Fund, The Premier League and Activision and investing in our own digital products and tech startups. We learnt our lessons the hard way (you should see my grey hair).
Techdept specialises in working between IT and marketing, often on ‘quirky digital projects’ that aren’t clear how to progress. We believe you shouldn’t have to spend 100’s of thousands to smarty-pants consultancies just to start making change happen. That’s why you can start working with us from £1,500.
Our unique process is called The Techdept Bootcamp™ and it fixes the issue of overwhelm. It’s fast and focused on results, creating momentum, continuous improvement and growth – ticking off those digital tasks from your to-do list. If that sounds interesting, follow the link below and set up a free 30-minute call.
Alternatively download our PDF 6 Steps To Superstar Status from the same link (it’s full of stuff we’ve learnt that helps strategically progress digital change – and doesn’t require you to spend any money!).
So if you’re feeling the burn from your digital technology in-tray, be assured you’re not alone.
Co-founder & Managing Director @ Techdept
Listed as one of the top 25 innovators in Europe Middle East & Asia in 2017