Neither IT nor business remain static; both are undergoing a constant and, in many ways, symbiotic evolution. Possibly the most pervasive term for this symbiosis is ‘digital transformation’. How is your company tackling digital?
As you may already know, digital transformation refers to the integration of digital technology into all areas of a company, with the objective of profoundly changing how the business operates and delivers value to its customers. Digital presents many new opportunities, it allows companies to enter different markets quickly and disrupt existing ones in ways that their competitors will struggle to rival.
Digital isn’t about finding methods to use the latest tech gizmos in your business, it’s about delivering long-term value within your corporate ecosphere. Companies that are successfully transforming to the digital life are the ones that recognise what their customers want, and deliver on those desires in ways their customers understand.
Much of the technology that is being used to transform businesses has been around for a while, such as the Internet of Things (IoT), sensors, drones, cloud services, and mobiles. While the news makes it seem like companies are transforming left-right-and-centre, those are just the success stories that make it into the media. Many businesses are resistant to change because, let’s be honest, change is hard. When you think about changing how your company works you inevitably start contemplating all the different software systems used, how disbursed your data is, and how siloed your departments are. It can feel a bit overwhelming, which means that big changes aren’t made to the technology that runs the business, or the processes that drive success. Which in turn means the way that the business operates doesn’t alter much, and the business falls further and further behind it’s more agile competitors.
The flip side of digital change is summed up quite well by one of our CIO’s favoured sayings - To a man with a hammer everything looks like a nail. Occasionally companies discover a new technology trend and try to fit it into their business. Initiatives motivated by the desire to use tech for the sake of it are seldom profitable and run the risk of frustrating existing customers rather than impressing them.
When going digital remember:
- Not all tech needs a home in your company.
- Not all systems are the right fit your organisation.
- One system can seldom cater for all your organisation’s digital needs.
- Cater for now, plan for the future.
Don’t get distracted from your business objectives by shiny gadgets or more systems. If a technology doesn’t offer discernible value to your customers, employees, suppliers, or bottom-line it’s not the right one for your business. And that’s okay.
How do you succeed in transforming your business?
Businesses run on processes, and businesses change because of data. The key differentiators between thriving companies and less successful ones are:
- The efficiency and consistency with which they deliver on their offerings (processes).
- The understanding of their market and customer’s needs (data).
- The speed at which they can adapt their business to take advantage of changing market needs (processes).
While technology is the vehicle for digital change, business processes are the drivers, and data is the fuel.
Rather than looking for reasons to implement the latest technology trend, examine your business, discover processes that need improving, look for innovative ways to improve these processes, then find the technology that suits your needs. While you are examining your business processes you will undoubtedly discover unmet client needs which, if you can fulfil, will increase customer satisfaction and may even open new revenue streams.
The bottom line is what matters
Organisations want to generate sustainable revenue streams. They do this by providing either goods or services, often both. The better the company’s products and services are (especially the customer’s experiences of these), the more likely the company is to get both return business and new customers. Good experiences build brand loyalty and brand loyalty builds sustainable revenue.
Superior service, affordable quality products, and a personalised customer experience – that’s all that customers want. Streamlined business processes supported by the best technology for the job are a sure-fire method of delivering on these expectation time and time again.
For true digital transformation your people, processes, and technology must align to deliver on, if not exceed, your customer’s expectations.
To succeed in digital transformation an organisation must:
- Know what it wants to achieve now, and in the future.
- Distinguish what its existing and prospective customers expect.
- Understand what is in its current technology ecosystem.
- Know how its data is collected and where it is stored.
- Sculpt its business processes to support strategic objectives.
- Identify technology capable of supporting both its processes and objectives in the long-term
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