The Road to Digital
Much has been said about the criticality of IT in today’s business world. It is hard to imagine an organization that does not leverage constantly evolving technology. Businesses are extending themselves with ease and agility into areas, which at one stage were regarded as non-core. At the same time, customer profiles are changing. With easy access to information and ability to compare, customers are seeking to get the best possible deal thereby squeezing margins. Customers are collaborating and expressing their opinions online, which in turn is influencing buying decisions. Customer loyalty is hard to come by and this has forced businesses to rethink their market approach and reinvent their businesses to align with the new digital reality, which goes beyond IT.
Given the dynamic nature of the digital era, it is imperative for firms to constantly update their platforms. While the SMAC stack (social, mobile, analytics, cloud) and Internet of Things (IoT) are being talked about extensively, enterprise adoption necessitates a strategic approach for improving customer experience. To effectively respond to the new market dynamics, businesses are beginning to think about ways to broaden their ecosystems and revenue streams, while becoming more agile and responsive. Omni-channel payment systems are the order of the day, while proximity based marketing platforms are increasingly being used for publishing promotional offers to customers. These are just two examples of the prevalence of mobility in enhancing customer experience. Similarly, social media is impacting all businesses and has moved beyond being merely a marketing and customer service tool. It is an integral part of a business’s strategy. Hashtag banking, social insurance services, recruitment among others, have enabled social technology to derive tangible benefits to the customers. On the other hand, analytical tools can now measure abstracts like customer loyalty and employee engagement. Cloud computing and virtualization is eschewing the need for investment in huge data centres.
Today technology offerings are more strategic in nature, and necessitate a distinct consulting approach along with the need for new and differently trained personnel. It is the need of the hour to develop integrated capabilities and a business centric approach to solving customers’ problems.
DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION – BEST PRACTICES
Some Do’s and Don’ts for businesses embarking on digital transformation
Make IT a critical component of the business: The IT department should evolve from being a support organization receiving and executing orders from the rest of the organization. The CIO will do well to ensure that IT assumes an important role in key business decisions.
Have a clear sight of the goal of your organization: Quite often, digital goals are limited to the user’s digital experience. But it is more important to plan digital transformation with objectives that are a result of a more holistic approach. Think more in terms of how going digital will reduce cost and improve productivity.
Stay on top of innovation: Innovation, though an oft misused word, is still a necessity. It always helps to keep tabs on the pulse of the market and start moving fast. Like they always say, it is good to fail fast, but there should be no scope for being just a follower.
Hire new talent with new skills: A key component of any digital transformation initiative is having the right team on board. Data scientists, researchers, social experts, cloud architects among others are some the most important roles a company needs to be looking to fill.
Be fast and flexible: It is important not to straightjacket ourselves into roles and processes as defined by technology. Be flexible, use a combination of management tools and techniques and work faster. This is indeed the characteristic of the digital world.