Q&A with Scott Steinberg, Author of AAE’s Book of the Month

In the AAE Book Club, we highlight a book each month written by one of our speakers that will inspire and empower its readers. These works shed light on topics like professional development, diversity and inclusion, working from home, leadership, and many more.

Scott Steinberg, author of “Digital Transformation: The Definitive Guide,” is a world-leading business strategist, award-winning strategic consultant, trends expert, and professional speaker. Steinberg has also been dubbed “The Master of Innovation” by Fortune magazine.

We recently had a conversation with Steinberg about his book, which is all about how companies can manage high-tech change and disruption. We also talked about his inspiration for writing and what’s next for his career.

AAE: What inspired you to write this book?

Steinberg: As a futurist and trends expert who helps Fortune 500 businesses spot and adapt to emerging trends, I’m always keeping an eye out for new changes and impending shifts in the business world. Topics such as digital transformation and customer experience were already top of mind before the pandemic arrived and at the top of my list to write a book on, as virtually every company in the world was already contemplating a move to online and virtual platforms.

But after COVID-19 hit, it quickly became clear that the scope of changes that needed to be made had radically multiplied, and that the pace at which this shift was occurring had greatly accelerated. In fact, according to researchers at McKinsey, the business world actually leaped forward by 10 years’ worth of digital progress in the span of just 90 days.

However, digital transformation isn’t always second-nature to many organizations, and many working professionals still struggle to understand what it takes to succeed in a world where data is the lifeblood of a modern business and real-time feedback impacts nearly every decision. I decided to put together a handy guide that’s jam-packed with advice and insight on how to make the transition – even if you’re not particularly tech-savvy.

AAE: What does Digital Transformation mean to you?

Steinberg: From an everyday reader’s standpoint, digital transformation refers to the use of digital technologies to create new business processes, interactions, and experiences, or to enhance existing strategies and solutions. By now, many of us have used video conferencing programs to host team meetings, online shopping services to process orders, or social media management tools to connect with customers – all simple examples of this principle in motion.

Many business leaders use digital transformation as a catch-all term to refer to everything from switching to cloud-based Internet hosting, to leveraging virtual desktops and online apps to manage their business. We shouldn’t forget that digital transformation actually consists of making changes in three separate areas – people, processes, and technology – and that the actual hardware/software tools you’re contemplating using are just one piece of the puzzle.

In effect, successful digital transformation requires enterprises to make a shift in terms of cultural norms and leadership strategies, as well as computing technologies and IT solutions.

AAE: What is one piece of advice you would give people around digital transformation?

Steinberg: Don’t overthink the process of digital transformation, and don’t assume it will be costly, time-consuming, or difficult (will make a pull quote). In fact, many of the problems that you will face in business today have been faced by countless other business leaders, and many of the challenges that you’re looking to overcome have also been successfully greeted by them.

More often than not, preexisting technology tools, templates, and online services can help you address the vast majority of challenges that you’ll encounter as you work to make the leap online.

Rather than assume that your organization will struggle to make this shift or face an uphill battle having to custom-build apps, networks, and data-driven solutions, it’s important to start by assuming the opposite. Nine times out of ten, a pre-existing tool or solution can take you most of the way towards completing your digital transformation journey.

AAE: How can businesses transform to better address digital transformation?

Steinberg: A few simple strategies can help you as you work to bring about a digital and online shift in your organization.

1. You don’t always have to start from scratch when giving your technology backbone an overhaul. Many modern IT solutions and technology tools can easily integrate with or layer on top of your legacy systems and networks to add new features and functionalities.

2. It’s OK to start small. Rather than look to give your entire IT infrastructure or computer network system a sweeping overhaul all at once, it’s often better to pick one area of business operations – e.g. inventory management, product delivery, online shopping, etc. – and start there before expanding to other facets of business management.

3. Analytics and business intelligence are important to prioritize. You’ll want to put actionable info front and center by implementing a mix of data analysis tools to quickly surface helpful items of interest, and data visualization capabilities that translate complex information into easily-read charts, graphs, and visual indicators.

AAE: What is next for your career?

Steinberg: We recently gave a live virtual speaking tour on the future of work and emerging business trends to millions of viewers in America. We will continue to expand on these areas as we work with clients around the world to raise awareness for these topics through keynote speeches, workshops, and breakout presentations.

In addition, we’re also building upon “Digital Transformation: The Definitive Guide” and our popular book and training program “Think Like a Futurist” with more learning options keyed to helping organizations master topics like leadership, change management, and strategy.

Going forward, you can also expect the changing face of customer experience to be a topic that we’ll be exploring in our work. For our latest insights into emerging trends, and exclusive recaps and research, be sure to check out our website at www.FuturistsSpeakers.com.

Enter to win a free copy of Scott Steinberg’s book!

We have a few digital copies of Digital Transformation: The Definitive Guide. Visit the link below to register for a chance to win your own free copy!