Adapting to the future
The world is never quiet. Time moves quickly. Disruption radically changes everything from our geopolitical stability, environmental issues, to cultural polarization, economic imbalance, and technological innovations that impact societal change.
As the world continues to evolve and the generational divide gets thinner, we’re facing a new generation — Generation Alpha, the first to be born entirely in the 21st century. These are the children of younger millennials and older Generation Z. They are expected to be the most technologically literate, materially endowed, and longest living to ever inhabit the planet.
Big brands are already gearing up for tapping into this wealth of trendsetters. Digital transformation will be paramount in how businesses engage with generations that have grown up with technology.
With rapid global change, we could witness the demise of traditional paper and coin-based currencies with the widespread use of blockchain and cryptocurrencies. Likewise, we could also see the advent of other technologies coming into their own such as machine learning and artificial intelligence for self-driving cars, drones, or augmented reality for real-time information in the form of text, graphics, and audio.
Questions you and your teams need to be asking is how will you develop a digital transformation plan for your business and employees — what are your objectives? How will your new digital business model meet the needs of your customer, align with industry requirements as well as enable your business to expand and compete in this rapidly changing world?
Although there is no step-by-step guide on how to prepare a business for digital transformation, there are some important technical and business considerations leadership needs to take into account.
Know your digital DNA
Digital transformation can mean a lot of things to a lot of people. Sometimes people make the mistake of equating digital transformation with a simple technology update. For some, it’s going paperless or having a powerful dashboard of real-time analytics in hand, leveraging cloud technology for data backup, or integrating tablets and mobile devices within your office environment.
While these examples are subsets of digital transformation that focus on technology, another key question is why should digital transformation matter to your company? In a recent Gartner research study, 56% of CEOs surveyed said that digital improvements have already led to increases in revenue. Rethinking your processes and delivery methods can pay off.
Start with your core competencies
As you start to build your strategy, take time to understand what you’re looking to improve and why. Are you looking for:
- A Better Customer Experience: Offer better service to your customers and provide them effective and connected customer experiences that will differentiate your brand from the competitors.
- Modernizing Your Company Culture: Empowering employees to work in new ways to become more proficient and productive in their daily tasks. Adopt a culture of experimentation, share ideas, and take measured risks to spark new innovation.
- Streamlining Your Existing Processes: Streamline processes that are redundant — operational or otherwise. Create processes that are more adaptable, efficient, and collaborative.
- Increasing Your Overall Efficiency: Digital processes allow the quick flow of inter-departmental information while eliminating redundancy, and also reduces time-consuming workflows.
By focusing on your core competencies, you can give your business a competitive edge over your industry and market.
Digital transformation is a mindset. It’s not about a particular technology but an amalgamation of strategic thinking, a new or revised business model, creating a better experience for your customer, and understanding what technology or technologies will best enable your business to achieve success for your customers.
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.
Current statistics underscore the importance senior leadership places on replacing traditional business models with newer, faster, more innovative approaches to deliver what customers want and need from their vendor.
- 54% of companies indicate that digital transformation is a top priority.
- 70% of companies either have a digital transformation strategy in place or are working on one.
- 21% of companies think they’ve already completed digital transformation.
- 60% of companies that have undergone a digital transformation have created new business models.
- 89% of all companies have already adopted a digital-first business strategy or plan to do so.
- 39% of executives believe their companies will get the most value from digital transformation initiatives in three to five years.
- 52% of marketers around the world say driving growth through digital transformation is their top strategic focus.
Technology is only a part of the digital transformation equation. Technological evolutions and technologies, ranging from cloud computing, big data, advanced analytics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and mobile, to the Internet of Things are enablers of digital transformation. Their rate of success depends on how they are implemented and used in the business strategy and how they will evolve with your customer needs and products/services lifecycle.
As an organization begins the transformative stages of going digital the typical battle for control of resources between IT departments and business leaders needs to be put aside as leaders and teams must work together and share the digital mindset.
Your entire company needs to embrace the concept of how digital platforms, third-party technology solutions, or custom applications will create the best possible technological infrastructure that’s not only multifunctional but robust. The central role of the organization is to connect the dots and overcome internal silos in all areas to reach all the different goals and objectives — interconnection is the norm.
With obvious setbacks in 2020, your organization cannot afford to put off digital transformation any longer. For companies that have started their digital transformation journey many are struggling with the idea of is there an end to digital transformation? When do you reach this situation? When can senior leaders say they’ve completed or achieved the digital transformation, or what’s the next phase?”
In 2018, Gartner coined digital transformations next phase as “Continuous Next.” Gartner believes Continuous Next should focus on the capabilities needed to keep up with continuous change driven by technology. Continuous Next is a formula for success in a world that is constantly changing — through and beyond digital transformation.
Most business experts agree digital transformation is a continuous process. It’s impossible for companies to complete transformation or claim they have completed the transformation process. The logic? Technology constantly changes while impacting everything around it from our geopolitical spectrum, the environment, to changes within society.
Now is the time to start your digital transformation. It’s time to act as if your competitors and your customers (the next generation) are already gearing up for the post-digital era.
For more on how you can be sure your digital transformation efforts are focused in the right direction, and how you can successfully prepare your business for the future of digital commerce, contact us today.