Big Data based analytics, IoT/IIoT based industry disruption, Blockchain based Fintech digital services, Artificial Intelligence based smart solutions so on and so forth- list goes on. With unrelenting pace of technological change, businesses across the world and pretty much in every industry vertical are getting impacted and are being forced to adapt changing nature of manufacturing processes, products, solutions & services to stay relevant. All of these changes come under the umbrella of Digital Transformation.
As per one academic definition, Digital transformation is the profound transformation of business and organizational activities, processes, competencies and models to fully leverage the changes and opportunities of a mix of digital technologies and their accelerating impact across society in a strategic and prioritized way, with present and future shifts in mind.
Digital transformation is a journey with multiple connected goals, in the end, striving towards continuous optimization across processes, divisions and the business ecosystem where building the right bridges (between front end and back office, data from ‘things’ and decisions, people, teams, technologies, various players in ecosystems etc.) in function of that journey is key to succeed.
In some countries like Japan, digital transformation even targets all aspects of life with the country’s Society 5.0 initiative, which goes far beyond the limited Industry 4.0 vision in other countries. For the purpose of this blogpost, we will keep our focus on digital transformation in businesses.
Beyond buzz words and initiating efforts for the sake of jumping on band wagon, companies should first analyze Why, What and How before starting digital transformation journey. Every initiative has financial, as well as logistical impacts in terms of times, efforts and shuffling priorities, so it is of critical importance to clearly spell out goals which are to be met.
There could be various reasons driving digital transformation journey- end-to-end customer experience optimization, operational flexibility and innovation, development of new revenue sources, information-powered ecosystems of value, business model transformations, new forms of digital processes etc. Whichever reason or reasons a company bases its digital transformation strategy at, strategy must aim to create the capabilities of fully leveraging the possibilities and opportunities of new technologies and their impact faster, better and in more innovative way in the future. A digital transformation journey needs a staged approach with a clear roadmap, involving a variety of stakeholders, beyond silos and internal/external limitations. This roadmap should take into account that end goals will continue to move as digital transformation de facto is an ongoing journey, as is change and digital innovation.
Digital transformation covers a huge number of processes, interactions, transactions, technological evolutions, changes, internal and external factors, industries and so forth, so, while starting digital transformation journey it’s essential to keep this in mind. Although there are common challenges, goals and traits in organizations across the globe, there are also enormous differences per industry, region and organization. What could make sense in one region, doesn’t have to make sense in another, even if we just look at regulatory environments so every journey is unique and needs to be taken as such.
Technological evolutions and technologies are enablers of digital transformation, causes of digital transformation needs and/or accelerators of innovation and transformation. Yet, technology is only part of the equation as digital transformation is by definition holistic and happens at organizational (integrated, ecosystems), technological (an ‘as-a-service approach’, cloud and agility enablers) and at a cultural level. Company-wide digital transformation requires leadership, regardless of how it is organized.
With a ‘Think Big but Start Small’ approach, pilot projects, in quick-win areas, should give way to a more holistic and enterprise-wide approach. This whole process, if not owned and managed by executive management though, could be a potential risk for long-term success.
In the last I will like to emphasize some of the digital transformation DOs & Don’ts for a better managed journey:
Have a successful Digital Transformation Journey and if Spantik Technologies team can help, please let us know.
By: Salman Khurram