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Thursday, April 16, 2015

Digital Transformation To Serve The Business

The goal of digital initiatives have clearly gone far beyond to be a matter of smooth and trouble-free provision of digital technologies. Leading edge enterprises state their goal of digital initiatives as one that can and should create a path for new way of doing business with customers and also as an general enabler of operational efficiency working at digital speed and scale and by extension serve as a catalyst for growth.

The real challenge comes in when in their respective laudable initiatives for growth, many enterprises may tend to take ownership of technology decisions for themselves and tend to operate on the belief that they would know the means to digitalize their part of the business including purchase and transformation programs, potentially in the process creating a fragmented and incoherent islands across the enterprise. The enterprise concerns about such an approach and their outcomes. How can enterprises put in place a program to manage this overall digression while pursuing their digital initiatives is a ringing concern begging an answer. We will briefly attempt to take a shot in getting some concrete answers here.

Digital transformation is a long journey - it’s a marathon and not just a sprint. Today’s enterprises are living in the most accelerated innovation lifecycle ever seen in the history of mankind. Leading edge enterprises recognize and try to take advantage of the fact that digital technologies have created a new sense and purpose for consumer behavior with very different ways of engagement. Added to this is the increasing global wealth and the propensity to spend more in the consumer era.

Staying ahead of the curve - While the explosion of connectivity, data and internet of things have created great opportunities for innovation , the fact of the matter is that these provide great difficulties to organizations as well. In the nee spend paradigm, more bang for the buck with frozen or near frozen levels of budget are expected to bring greater value and in shorter time with larger positive impact. External service providers can step in here -providing the much needed services on storage, development and processing paraphernalia. In fact, a new niche of value added data providers are emerging who can provide valuable insights with the data that enterprises have with them. Niches can get richer and deeper experience and expertise - enterprises should always look for leveraging them. Digital speed and scale are very different and in many ways characterize what digital business actually means.

People - It can be easily said that look for change agents, who are versatile and flexible, who are the tree shakers bringing in change and who understand the forces that are driving the market now in terms of trends, technology and business. It’s so difficult to find them or mould them to fit these expectations. unfortunately digital transformation would perforce demand these changes in people inside enterprises. Every enterprise is entitled to minimize risks but the risk profile and propensity should move higher over time and needs to adapt to a changing market and develop mitigation proposals, while keeping an eye on growth.

Technology - An unstoppable stream of technology advances keep happening at a blistering pace and breakthroughs are getting reported much more than usual. Some of these technologies can have a deep impact in the way business can get conducted changing people and organizational behaviour and sometimes transforming the value chain. It's a judgemental call which set o technologies and business models can create such a deep impact and enterprises need to be alert in constantly looking for and assessing such opportunities.Robust scenario planning exercises including emerging opportunities, assumption busting, changing the status quo and competitive advantage assessments need to be conducted in an effective way regularly.

Enter the Chief Digital Officer(CDO) - Any enterprise not taking the initiative for digitalization would be missing out majorly on getting competitive and securing long term success for themselves. This is regardless of the industry that an enterprise falls under - from museums to special events industry - every industry is going to get engulfed in the wave of digitization. The existing leadership dispensation may not be rightly equipped to drive the needed changes required to capitalize on the digital wave. Consequently, the emergence of the chief digital officer (CDO) is essential for the new age of digital business.The chief digital officer will be the primary mover for transforming regular business into digital business besides creating new digital centric business models In embracing digital tenets of running an enterprise, the basic nature of functioning of the enterprise undergoes massive changes. Digital business brings in its own expectations that include cultural shifts as part of a new digital DNA - every part of work - why, what, where and how are susceptible to big changes. And, the gamut of changes covers areas like business models and extending into data, security, digital platforms and the extended digital ecosystem - all need to be properly leveraged to help enterprise remain competitive -in the short term to longer term. The CDO is integral to planning and executing digital transformation in the enterprise.

As I wrote here, every transformation efforts brings along with it substantial degree of risk. Digital proponents leverage the fact that the business strategies that embrace. New process models and couple powerful new technologies are transforming the way we do business and the vibrant nature of the marketplace. It’s clear that yesteryears paradigm of economic and business models are too inadequate to secure future years success. New paradigms need to be created, starting with the vision to innovate and enormous energy and skills to stay the course and realize quantifiable benefits. The core ability needed to enable digital transformation rests around customer centricity and a focus on making their businesses different through technology but not per se on the technologies. No technology should be deployed without a fully thought through vision of how it advances business goals, addresses customer needs, or both. Beyond that, technology should be so tightly intertwined with strategy that the two drive and reinforce each other.

A digital strategy that focuses on specific business outcomes leveraging various forms of digital technologies can create a massive edge for the enterprise. Sustainable edge comes in where the physical world and digital universe come together in creating new value. Digital winners get there by thinking big and small together transforming processes, creating/validating/rebooting business models and enabling new waves of customer experience. Any company large or small, old or new can use this digital technology to create a winning edge for its business and perhaps, its industry.

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