These are exciting times for businesses leveraging on digital transformation strategy and leading the market successfully. In contrast, others are afraid of uncertain outcomes, scared to dip their toes into the digital waters.
According to a PWC forecast, digitally fit companies are tech-savvy and confident enough to boldly take new transformative initiatives and focus on overhauling all business functions and processes from the bottom up. They are investing in equipping staff and managers with data-driven capabilities. Providing real-time insights and fearlessly sharing their views on the opportunities they see and the risks involved.
While hesitancy is understandable, companies need to fully comprehend what is meant by digital transformation. They need to realize that it is much more than just bringing in new technology to increase efficiency.
It means discovering innovative ways to solve problems, designing and creating compelling experiences for customers and employees, and boosting performance not just in isolated pockets but across the entire organization.
Bear in mind that you need not disrupt your existing business operations to transform. All you need is to follow an innovative approach to digital transformation by imagining a digital vision that is "actionable and measurable.”
Remember, every business has its own unique set of needs. One approach will not suit every business. Besides, there is no need to rush to catch up either. Move at the speed of change you want to see and create digital transformation solutions that will make it happen.
Digital transformation is a work in progress, and hence approaching it with caution will prevent committing expensive errors. The best way to avoid unforeseen mistakes is by setting up an “operating committee.” With a mandate to oversee and track the transformative processes, unblock issues, and provide funding based on the progress that is real, rather than imagined.
The most crucial first step to take is to shift the traditional Operational Technology (OT) orientation and adopt an OT/IT focus. Follow this up by taking the steps needed to upskill and set the pace for injecting fresh talent as technologies evolve - rationalizing and allocating your resources continuously rather than in spurts.
This will enable you to find the right fit, make the right choices of emerging technologies such as AI&ML, Blockchain, Big Data, Cloud, IIOT, EDGE computing, RPA that will help take your business operations to a higher level of efficiency.
The idea is not only to automate critical functions but also to help you invest in those technologies that facilitate accurate analysis of data and generate more value-added insights. This in turn will assist all stakeholders involved to collaborate actively and engage in evaluating trustworthy data, and act upon these inputs in real-time.
Active collaboration among key decision-makers in your organization will help collate and correlate data across existing and new data points quickly. This will result in more dynamic risk identification, monitoring and testing of processes. It also makes accountability a reality.
When a digital transformation project is successfully implemented, this is what you will see and experience. You will find your engineers live-coding in small teams, working together with designers and businesses people instead of in silos, reviewing results with your customers on the spot and fine tuning as per the feedback on the fly.
A successful digital transformation project helps an organization work like a well-oiled precision machine. Smoothly synched and running flawlessly, where dedicated teams are engaged and work on change-the-business programs, alongside existing run-the-business functions. You can introduce new products and services quickly, execute marketing campaigns at speed, and add new revenue streams to your existing ones.
All your teams will be “mission” driven. These missions are end-to-end in nature and scope, clear on their objectives and expected outcomes. Added value is explicitly tracked and each team is made accountable to deliver on their goals.
There is no confusion or ambiguity anymore. No shirking of responsibilities, or delays in making informed decisions. All individual team priorities are clearly displayed in simple metrics on their own dashboards.
The results of your digital transformation initiative are often exhilarating and trigger startling and pleasantly surprising. You will see big reductions in management overheads: shrinking in the number of the technology teams you need and have fewer business analysts to write your technology requirements.
As automation of your business processes and testing becomes the norm, you will see a massive drop in the number of managers and testers you require. What will surprise you, even more, is seeing that your company attracts great talent to compete effectively in a digital world.
Many companies have scaled their digitally agile units at an impressive speed. But speed is just the beginning. Unlocking the actual value of digital transformation will be realized only when organizations rapidly scale the way of working across the board.
Surely there are risks, but in the digital world, the biggest risk comes from standing still. Then a company is like a sitting duck. It will be too late to change gears.