The press and social media is awash with articles about Digital Transformation but what does it really mean and how can you prepare?
Let’s firstly set the scene. The context for this accelerating change is clearly technology, ranging from IoT, to robotics and Artificial Intelligence. This recent podcast sheds more light on these exciting developments. The image above was taken during my recent visit to the Robot exhibition at London’s Science Museum – highly recommended!
Turning the clock back 2 years, Forrester and Accenture reported on the dawning of the “Age of the Customer,” in which technology and economic forces put the smart-phone enabled customer firmly in control, as they interact with organisations to buy goods, apply for jobs, demand better customer service and much more besides. “These businesses, hoping to understand and serve customers in a global and digital economy, are almost universally undergoing digital transformation, which involves realigning and investing in new technology and business models with a specific focus on the customer experience.” 1
This is echoed in a 2017 report from Econsultancy and Adobe which states that: “Customer experience is regarded as the primary way for organisations to differentiate themselves from competitors in 2017,” but goes on to warn that “…data capabilities aren’t developing fast enough.” 2
In similar vein, IDC’s reputable market intelligence now predicts that by 2020, 50% of the Global 2000 will see much of their business depend on their ability to create digitally-enhanced products, services and experiences. “This expansion of Digital Transformation at a macroeconomic scale signals a new, Digital Transformation (DX) economy.” 3
Thriving in this new economy will be dependent on a number of key factors:
- Mindset: successful organisations will be those where teams evolve into – and successfully attract – ‘digital natives’ who in turn demonstrate the right behaviours.
- This requires re-training and re-skilling. A fundamental question is then whether the L&D and/or HR teams have the right skills to drive this change.
- Management teams – essentially the C-suite – will need to invest to empower their teams with the right tools to deliver the experiences which customers will demand. This in itself requires sound analysis and decision-making, given the plethora of tools flooding the market.
- This investment and decision-making requires collaboration; no longer can the CEO, CTO, CMO and HRD sit alone in their ivory towers. Which leads me neatly to point 5.
- Blindly following the advice above could lead to an organisation losing control and being driven by market forces. A clear medium and long term business strategy is still an essential pre-requisite for success.
Looking back over the past two years, with point 5 in mind, our digital transformation advice has focused not on standalone, vanity metrics of digital success, but on the strategic outcomes such as a successful Stock Exchange listing, achieved in part by PR/social-media led thought leadership, profile and credibility.
In summary it’s fair to say that we’ve only touched the tip of the iceberg. Time will tell in terms of how organisations adapt and either succeed or fail. One thing is certain; the pace of change is accelerating fast so act quickly.
I’d be really interested to hear your views, concerns and advice.
- Digital Transformation In The Age Of The Customer – A Forrester Consulting Thought Leadership Paper Commissioned By Accenture Interactive, October 2015.
- Digital Intelligence Briefing 2017 Digital Trends – Econsultancy in association with Adobe.
- IDC Whitepaper: Excellence in the Digital Transformation Economy: A Blueprint for Success.