Chapter 5Customer-Driven Change

Executive Summary: Understanding the needs of your customers, whether they are internal or external to your organization, is absolutely critical to the success of any transformational strategy. It's imperative to remember that people will always be more important to the organization than technologies.

It took about six months for Alan Turing to crack the Enigma code during World War II. In the twentieth century he used electromechanical technology and arguably made one of the biggest contributions to the Allies winning the war. Fast-forward 80 years and it takes three to five years to complete a typical digital transformation. Why, despite all of our advantages and technological prowess, does it take us such a long time to achieve lasting change?

There are many stories about amazing people who overcame great odds in brief spans of time while under enormous stress. One of the reasons I chose this example is because it revolves around code breaking. Another reason, of course, is that Turing is widely acknowledged as a true pioneer of modern computing.

As technology leaders and executives, we often find ourselves in circumstances that are similar to those encountered by Turing. Time is short, resources are scarce, and the pressure to deliver results can feel overwhelming. We can be inspired by Turing, and we can also learn valuable lessons. Turing and his team had a clear task. That enabled them to set priorities and to follow through with precision ...

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