10 Ways Digital Transformation is like the Boston Marathon


On this, Marathon Monday in Boston, we Agency Oasis team members not in our Boston HQ office remember fondly the energy in the air that the Marathon brings with it.
It is the arrival of spring to the region and (hopefully) the snow is melting.

And as we all continue to work with our clients on their own transformative digital projects a clear analogy to a marathon came to mind. So with that, we offer our top ways Digital Transformation is like the Boston Marathon.

 10. Don’t start running unless you know where the finish line is.

This seems pretty self-evident when thinking of running a marathon.  No one would suit up and just start running without understanding where they were going to stop.  The same is true in digital transformation and generally in any digitally focused project.  Having a well-documented and articulated strategy for digital becomes the road map for success and a reference for others that are going to support you on your journey.

9. One doesn’t simply ‘start a marathon’

I’ve never met a marathon runner who just sporadically decided to run a marathon day of, or even week of.  Marathon running takes practice and conditioning.  So do digital projects.  Marketers who begin digital initiatives in a vacuum risk losing out on all the wins achieved during the internal conditioning exercises around consensus building and creating a repertoire of knowledge for themselves.

8. Every Digital Transformation project has a ‘Heartbreak Hill’

No digital initiative, regardless of size, is ever on cruise control.  There is always a moment in a project where it feels harder than it should be, takes longer than it seems to need to and hurts more than you expected.  The lesson is, plan for it.  Know you will have challenges along the way and build contingency into your plans.  If you don’t need the contingency, great, you are ahead of the game.  But if you do, you remain on track.

7.  Each mile is a success, celebrate them

Like a marathon, each work stream in a digital project can be a success.  There are many steps to digital transformation and each of the steps involved themselves.  Each win with planning, people & process should be celebrated (and hopefully previously established as a goal so it can be).

6. All runners need sponsors.

Though marathoners run alone, they all have help getting to the moment when they can compete.  Digital transformation is a difficult process for a tail to wag the dog with.  Having a senior level sponsor for digital transformation is a big part of meeting with success.  It ensures a mandate and offers a strong voice to assist in garnering resources and budget as needed.

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