Hey, DigiTrans!

Get to know Digital Transformation!

What? What does Digital Transformation mean for my business?

Digital Transformation (or digitrans) could mean everything for your business depending on the challenges you are facing and your strategic vision, but there is no doubt it could help to mobilise that vision more completely and rapidly.

Your business is the sum total of your business model, your operations and functions, your people and processes, your communication channels and your customer experience, the latter of which is growing in importance because the customers can give a report and running commentary of their experience of your brand experiences through several touchpoints.

Digitrans is essentially about finding and utilising new or additional ways to get your value proposition to your customer, get more of their disposable income out of their pockets, ideally beyond the sums or percentages allocated for that commodity or service.

How can you get more out of the same products using new delivery channels while minimising the complexity of final handoffs responsibility and finally reducing the risk of a break with brand values, process and quality assurance? These are some core questions digital transformation can help you to answer from companies recognised as the right people to help you do just that.

Ideally, these processes should get you economies of scale and efficiencies but they may not always do so and that should be acceptable because transformation should deliver business over and above the volume that may otherwise have been realised through understanding the customer and we do this through data.

While you may be thinking about the large transformation pieces, your digital journey should start with a solid online presence that seeks to exploit new technologies in a way that delights your customers – think experiences – like opportunities to utilise Augmented or Virtual Reality (AR/VR) on or through your websites – websites that are powerful and go beyond the informational and are part of your long term digital strategy. Yes, there must be a focus on excellent aesthetics and it must incorporate your sharp and scintillating branding, but it should go beyond branding to function and fitness for uncovering and delivering the needs of the customer.

Operational, Capability and Culture Paradigm Shifts

Digitalisation encompasses a shift from native desktop apps and infrastructure accessed, hosted and delivered through the cloud, with the associated training that would be required. The cloud base opens up opportunities that would not have existed prior. Digitalisation also opens up a whole new mining world for your data – analytics has truly come into own with insights and instructive aspects and decision making rendered easier by the capability to shore up, shape and interpret data, with the right tools, of which there is a proliferation. A structured review based on requirements and proof of concepts should be employed to help make the decisions and improve competitive positioning.

The allure of AI and IoT is increasingly validated by the fact that they no longer present the epic investment profiles they did just a few years ago, and so they are more accessible. Corporate culture paradigm shifts are under review in many areas, not least for rendering viable innovation ecosystems and this should take into account the mind-set elasticity required for transformation as a whole. Legacy systems present a challenge but integration or replacement through new software development from people who really know what they are doing and who create ‘fit’ software, can help to bridge the literal gap that exists between what obtained in the past and the future your business deserves.

Mobile working, file sharing and collaboration tools that enhance co-operation also allow timely, productive and efficient and transparent processes to reduce duplication and increase access to colleagues and stakeholders, Taken together, these processes represent a massive change in the ways of working and all promise increase in productivity.

Why? Reasons to undertake Digital Transformation

Established companies are undertaking business transformation programmes increasingly, and these should incorporate strategies for digital transformation and the business cases should be not be considered complete unless and until digitrans is embedded through all change deliverables and target operating models.

You get on-tap, direct, true to touch access to your consumers and the ability to reach and influence them through several touch-points, so the CX Remodel that your company should undertake as part of its transformation begins with digitrans.

Risk IT response and review improvements and implementation of redundancy to promote robustness of systems, for example, the adoption of cloud computing, are a  primary dependency for digital transformation, as is enhanced security due to operating through the cloud and improved controls in operational protocols.

The biggest ‘why’ of course, loops back to your brand. Everything that gives your business power, life and increases capability and ease of accessibility for your customers and supplier improves your brand indisputably.

How? Considerations for implementing digital

The ‘how’ of digital transformation is mostly rooted in technologies which enable and create these new channels and the access and capability to make things happen. Digitrans will not answer the long term wisdom of the any strategies adopted but will reflect those strategy decisions in terms of what is prioritised; it cannot prove or authenticate the direction of the business. That is a brand purpose query but it would certainly help you find new ways to deliver the value you currently provide and help you find and assess new and suitable opportunities.

External pressure and internal exhortations to adopt digitrans are valid but it must be borne in mind that an exercise of this kind, should form an integral part of transformation strategies as a whole and focus on the embedded capability to change and adopt new ways of working and associated tools because current technologies and tools will be eclipsed all too soon by even newer tools and technology. Therefore the primary purpose and objective of transformation and in particular the digital transformation facet must be to enhance and increase the ability to adapt to, implement and promulgate change. This is increasingly true in the marketing function too, which has seen for example, Heinz bypass the traditional middleman supermarkets and go direct to customer (D2C). The behavioural implications of how brands are using technology and digital transformation has been accelerated by COVID19.

The quest for digital transformation will not be a one-off project. It is the implementation of a mind-set and systems, procedures and outward-looking position and adaptive processes that will mean that an organisation that wants to be and remain competitive will take on an attitude of constant learning, change readiness and capability, imbibing and extracting relevant value from ongoing technical change to solutionise both old and pre-existing challenges as well as new challenges.

As such it is complex to put in that listening and responsive capability and it should be connected to every part of your organisation. This process will overhaul your operations status quo to digital operations and all readiness will be in the context of digital.

Sounds disruptive? Business can only disrupt outwardly after it has disrupted internally. It sounds complex because it is and painful because it almost certainly will be, as all transformation initiatives are, but the reason to do it is the same as for all transformation initiatives – because you change or you atrophy, slowly and ungracefully. You slowly lose the capability to compete on the same trends because your competitors and contenders with digitrans in their DNA, who are by virtue of being new perhaps leaner, more agile and naturally more responsive to change, will increasingly challenge your very right and ability to exist.

 

When?

What’s wrong with right now?

Ultimately, the race is on and technology moves at dizzying speeds. The urgency to adopt the most operationally powerful has never been greater. But it has to be right, you need to know what you want out of it, which means you must have clarity on just what is possible and available, dependent on constraints. The data doesn’t lie – the implementation of digitrans at scale has been sketchy so it makes sense to plan, phase and map each piece to a strategic initiative against a realistic timeline that works for your people as well as for your bottom line.

Chinenye Ikwuemesi
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