7 business idioms for digital transformers

Idioms are common in US business life. Some idioms play a central role in articulating digital transformation challenges. Mastering these idioms and associated history examples can give you new perspectives on how to tackle them one by one.

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Riding the gravy train
The classic business might still be very healthy and provide great margin - to the point where milking the current business is a low effort and high return exercise. But don't fool yourself. All rides on the gravy train stop at the end station. And the best point to disrupt yourself is well ahead of the end station.

Diamond in the rough
The new digital business is a diamond in the rough at the beginning. A lot of potential, but also a lot of work. Digital businesses are rough diamonds to start with. The perfect diamond shape come from multiple rounds of innovation; both on the solution- and business-model levels need attention for an opportunity to reach their true potential.

The elephant in the room
Business transformation needs are often observed early but taken serious enough in time. Everyone knows that the elephant is in the room, but they don't necessarily talk about the problems until they are urgent and severe. In reality, they are making problems worse with less time to find solutions. Aspire to address your big challenges in time even if it is an unpleasant exercise.

Finding the long pole in the tent
Developing your digital business is often about finding the center of gravity around which the market momentum is building up. Once the long pole in the tent is defined, it is easy to then define adjacent expansion segments. Make sure you find the long pole in your digital business tent.

Elvis has left the building
Timing is everything with regards to how you manage your business. You want to make sure the digital business has taken off before the classic is tailing off. When Elvis has left the building, the opportunity is gone. Aspire to transform fast while the music is playing.

Boiling the ocean
Digital transformation is large and multi-faceted for any size of business. The point is that it can feel like you have to boil an ocean to make required changes. But boiling the ocean is not a short cut to results. A better approach is to put focus on a few essential aspects of the first steps of the transformation.

Put more green into it
Digital transformation requires investment. Putting in more green dollars will be a common necessity to accelerate progress. Creating a delicate balance between milking classic and advancing digital at the same time. Have respect for the investment needs of digital and the time it takes to develop your digital initiatives.

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