A2015 joint MIT/Deloitte study described digital transformation as a ‘Strategy’ not a ‘Technology’ and provided a contrast between maturing digital businesses that leverage integrating social, mobile, analytics, cloud, AI etc. towards transforming the ways they operate, survive and grow, against the ones that focus on solving business challenges with individual digital tools without embedding them in the DNA of the organization. These observations are alarmingly true even today (2019). As boards, CEO’s and their lieutenants continue to try to get a grip on the length/breadth of what digital transformation represents (and enables in the short and long runs), it is becoming increasingly more complex to define true parameters of its success (especially considering the evolving AI, machine learning, blockchain etc. landscape). And while disruptions are becoming more and more rampant in every industry in every part of the world, many leaders still continue to find the right answer for the simple question – How do aspiring organizations get ready to tackle the demands of the complex digital economy of the future? The answer to which is a combination of many ideologies, some of which are described below:
Re-imagine your vision of success
Injecting a digital mindset into an already successful non-digital enterprise can be a daunting task. Yet, the handful in the developed world and way too many in the developing world that are still not totally bought into the realities of digital, will soon learn the art of survival (if they haven’t already). And like all things trivial, the shift must start with a ‘vision’. But what is vision anyways when it comes to digital? and why do so many leaders still equate digital thinking with social media thinking? While such leaders ponder on the answers, successful ones routinely go back to the drawing board to reassess their parameters of success and craft a re-imagined vision that factors in the internal and external disruptions that are upon them (again and again and again).
Make digital transformation a top business priority
It’s surprising that in 2019, many board and c-suite members are still not caught up into the value and the importance of digital (especially true for the developing world). The skill gap many of them possess guides them in seeing this as an IT initiative and at the most to be run by someone hired with a fancy (and cool) digital title. Unless digital transformation gets a front-row seat on the priority list of the board and c-suite, it will not have the impact it requires for the health, longevity and the long term survival of not just the initiative, but the business.
Be ready to adopt new business models
Thinking digitally and thinking in traditional ways are polar opposites. Digital approaches typically lead to new avenues of growth (based on data) which requires a mindset in tune with managing change on a continuous basis. The opportunities that present themselves as a result of this mindset typically lead to outcomes that become the centre of business transformation and new revenue streams that were previously uncovered. This can amplify any organization to the next level and the new ways of realizing these revenue streams and measuring the growth as a consequence can be explored and mastered. Think software giants and how they are continuously reinventing themselves and adding new revenue streams into mix. Imagine the combined market cap of Apple, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and Facebook and how they all continue to push the envelope (and the buttons of the regulators).
Map data goals to business goals
Most organizations do not have a perspective about the mountains of data they possess on their processes, customers, vendors, etc and often struggle with trying to make sense of it all towards meaningful business gains. Many scramble for the right technological tool to analyze data but often fail to map this strategic asset to the goals of their organization. They also do not invest in creating a holistic strategy of not only the data in their possession but avenues to continue to collect more and combine it to gain insights on their competitors in particular and industry in general. The clearer the mapped goals, the more sense the data makes, the more the business can thrive and achieve newer and higher goals.
Expect and embrace failure
Innovation initiatives often fail, but they can be great to learn from. Therefore success on the digital path is dependent on the organization’s ability to charter into the unknown (in a relatively calculated manner) and take risks via this ‘try and fail’ culture. The further deep this tenant of culture embeds into an organization, the more chances the organization will have to take on bold innovations and newer business models for ultimate growth and profitability of the business. Think how Viagra started off as an R&D effort for the heart and where it landed.
Create that winning roadmap; The TransformX way
As is the TransformX way, for such initiatives, we recommend that our clients bring an open state of mind to defining digital. ‘Digital’ is far more than technology, a process or a mission statement; it is a way of doing things, a state of mind, a belief system. Elements of our two signature offerings Organizational Transformation and Employee Enablement are combined to run Digital Maturity Assessments and Digital Acumen Assessments that provide a baseline of where things stand on the organization and the employee side and identify key areas that need to be addressed from a strategy, process, technology or a skill-building level across the board. These insights are then used to create bespoke Digital Transformation Roadmaps and Digital Learning Journeys to set our clients on a path of growth, profitability and the exploration of new digital, data-enabled business models and revenue streams. We look forward to partnering with you on your next culturally infused digital transformation initiative.