5 Proven Steps to Success in Digital Transformation
5 Proven Steps to Success in Digital Transformation
Who wants to go digital?
As a business leader, how often do you feel that you’re no longer playing by the same rules that you were playing 2 years ago? What changed really?
It is the world that has changed beyond imagination. What set enterprises apart — scale, reach and brand — have a lesser impact. Because digital technology has fundamentally changed two things: the dynamics of the markets and the speed required to remain competitive.
According to the IDC Semiannual Digital Transformation Spending Guide, worldwide spending on the technologies and services that enable the digital transformation of business practices, products, and organizations is forecast to reach $1.97 trillion in 2022.
Change or perish
Let’s take an example. There are two software companies – A and B. A talks extensively about their business on their website and has eye-catching marketing collaterals and presentations that talk about their success stories. The sales team is really armed with marketing aids to sell the software. B has a less robust site but lets users download a free e-book on the technologies available in their domain that are highly useful for tech managers and teams of target companies.
They promote this e-book through social channels and other websites. It takes hardly a minute to download the e-book. A couple of days later the sales team contacts the person who downloaded and strikes a conversation about their business challenges and how B’s experts can offer help. And of course, the next step is automatically being on their distribution lists and invites to webinars. Whose sales strategy sells? Even if you are a good ‘A’, you are not there if you are not acting like ‘B’ and being better than ‘B’ in that space.
Today, the ability to align products, operations, and business models to a “predominantly customer-centric operating model” determines the success of a business. Digital transformation, therefore, is a given, not an option. To digitally transform both customer experiences and operations, organizations apply technology to these facets of the business, ensuring that they are customer-led and insights-driven. What then are the steps involved in digital transformation?
UNDERSTAND THE IMPERATIVE
There are two misconceptions that impede your digital transformation roadmap. (1) You think that your business is too traditional, and does not need digital. (2) Your business has already gone digital by having a web presence, social media presence, a mobile app and a networked organization with the easy knowledge and information sharing.
Make no mistake about this.
- Your customers have gone digital (even if they are not digitally engaging with your business), which means that if you have not gone digital, you will lose them fast to your competition.
- Your channels are digital. Digital has transformed the ways in which customers discover, buy, and engage with products and services.
- Your competitors are digital. See the earlier example!
In the second instance, if you think you have gone digital, think again.
- Are your products digital? Organizations that digitally enhance physical products open doors to new experiences and revenue streams. Even a brick and mortar company can offer an exceptional after sales service experience through mobile.
- Are your insights digital? Digital technology brings deeper insights than ever before. With mobile location data, social activity, and sensor data from products, businesses have the opportunity to exploit tons of data.
- Are your employees digital? Access to mobile and social technology is critical to efficiency and enables employees in achieving more. Organizations that boldly provide the tools to employees to collaborate, share, draw insights, access information and serve customers better stay ahead of the curve.
- Are your operations digital? To be able to connect with customers better, transform their experiences, and offer new models of engagement, digital transformation has to start with changing the way the business operates at multiple levels. Imagine an intelligent procurement system that drastically cuts down the process time and complexity of purchases, invoicing and processing of invoices that makes you a hit with vendors and service/product delivery teams.
Clichéd as it may sound, this is important. Because often times people miss the fact that digital technologies are fundamental, strategically impacting business. They tend to look at this as a trend that needs to be dealt with a tactical approach.
The winners in this game are those who look at digital transformation as a huge growth driver, a game changer and one that opens up a whole new world of opportunities. Hence, the second step is to have a digital transformation strategy that clearly addresses the why, how, what and when across a definite timeline.
STAY CENTERED ON CUSTOMER OUTCOMES
- Your ability to create value for the customers determines your success. Hence, focus on how easily you can digitally augment your core capabilities and realign them to deliver the outcomes that your customers really desire, rather than the products or services that you’ve traditionally sold. Look at how digital assets can enhance the outcomes that your customers most value.
- Use data and analytics to help customers achieve their desired outcomes. Mining the data that you collect and combining it with external data create new insights that can help your customers.
- Design better customer experiences to deliver value. By carefully constructing a connected web of services and business capabilities to adapt to your customers’ changing expectations, you can take your business to the next orbit. The set of interconnected business capabilities must be highly agile, embracing technologies like mobile, cloud, and APIs.
DIGITIZE FOR OPERATIONAL EXCELLENCE
Real digital transformation requires reshaping the way the business create value for customers. Achieving this requires that organizations look at both dimensions of digital: digital customer experience and digital operational excellence.
The second part involves – (a) creating new operational capabilities enabled by new technologies, (b) building platforms that push the workforce and resources towards rapid, customer-centric innovation and collaboration, and (c) digitizing operations for agility (not simply efficiency).
CONNECT THE DOTS, CONNECT THE DOTS
Digital transformation my often mean rebooting the organization’s operating model. This requires establishing
- A clear shared digital vision for all employees and teams
- A digital-first culture wherein collaboration, agility, and digital innovation become habitual
- A cross-functional and customer-centric organizational model that enables a smooth, synchronized business operation
- A strong mechanism for protecting customer’s trust through data security and privacy
- An environment of co-creation and experimentation
As a continuation of this dialogue, in the next part, we will look at the nitty gritty of the digital transformation journey – from the process, technology, and people perspectives.
If you have thoughts or experiences and comments on this rather measured view of how to go digital, please share with us. If you are looking for a reliable technology partner for digital transformation, who understands the business imperatives and travels the journey with you – talk to Hakuna Matata.