by Raman Mehta

A 3-step guide to digital transformation

Nov 03, 2017
Digital TransformationIT Leadership

Business leaders need to proactively define and execute on the digital roadmap so their organizations are not caught in the digital crossfire.

futuristic user interface - smart city - digital transformation
Credit: Thinkstock

Digital disruption is just not linear or accelerated growth; it is about exponential growth. On the flip side If you do not embrace digital – you will be extinct.

Digital disruption is more than adding digital technologies. It is about harnessing the power of technologies to develop new products, services and experiences that were not possible before. It is about empowering your employees with actionable prescriptive & predictive business intelligence at the point of performance that is role based and secure. It is about making IT invisible where the infrastructure is elastic, self-healing and self-service enabled. It is about providing modern collaboration tools that enable unified communication and minimize the dependence on traditional emails.

It is about bringing people, process, technology and tools together where design and manufacturing engineers can digitally share the relevant product and bill of material information that promotes reuse, and shortens cycle time while improving product quality.

Digital transformation needs to be part of the organization’s DNA. It is about change management where the organization’s DNA is altered at every level to become a fully digitally transformed business – not just a digitally wrapped business.

Putting a mobile front end and providing touchpads to your sales force and not digitalizing the back-end processes will do more harm than good. It will give you a false sense of security and complacency – both could derail your digital transformation.

The business leaders need to proactively define and execute on the digital roadmap so their organizations are not caught in the digital crossfire. Ask any cab driver if you don’t take my word for it – decades old taxi businesses are fearing extinction from the likes of Uber and Lyft.

Being digital is different than being digitally transformed. Becoming digital is a first step where your systems of record are digital, and technology is becoming increasing part of the business.

Being digitally transformed is when technology is an integral part of the business and your systems of record start to transform to systems of intelligence and finally to systems of outcomes. It requires a holistic approach where you think of both internal and external eco-system as a whole. Creating digital twins for your assets and products is a great first step but the game changer is when you all aspects of your organization from customer service, field service and supply chain are digitally threaded across digital twins.

The CIOs can lead the digital transformation with a three-step process of being energized, engaged and innovative.

1. For IT to become an enabler of growth engine, we need to become more energized as a team

IT teams need to upgrade the skills and learn new tools that were not available to us due to years of under investment. We need to invest in some of the modern integration tools, in-house mobile application development, machine learning and deep learning to send a clear message that we are serious about skills enhancements.

2. Have increased engagement with business community

We have a unique opportunity to standardize and optimize our processes driven with modern IT platforms and ERP tools. The engagement will be a two-way street where IT shows quick wins to establish credibility and get to have an equal voice on data quality issues, customization reductions and project prioritizations.

3. Build an agile, secure and scalable foundation to enable product innovations

Every organization needs to increase both the quantity and quality of their innovations. Companies like Amazon, Airbnb, Netflix have disrupted established business models with the brute force of their digital savviness. There are multiple similar startups in each industry that have low entry barriers and can take a swing at your industry in a heartbeat.

To be a digital disrupter, you need to embrace and following trends and stay in the path of the success

Artificial intelligence & machine learning, for sure. Every business is becoming an algorithm-based business. On the plant floor, we want to use predictive analytics and new deep-learning algorithms to predict failures. New AI tools can detect and self-heal problems in a way that couldn’t be done before.

We are bringing Artificial Intelligence in our infrastructure improvement initiatives. The laptop users will have self-healing capabilities where they do not need to raise support tickets for the most common issues. The system will anticipate and fix problems. This will have a significant impact on user productivity.

Stay connected and stay personal – In the world taken over by things as in IoT; the customer experience across multiple touch points can enable brand loyalty like never before. The connected objects and locations can bring insights and customer intimacies that can open up whole new business models and customer loyalty.

Establishing diverse teams that bring design thinking capabilities on top of digital, big data and creative skills.  Design thinking has the amazing potential to create an impact on the organization culture and bring it closer to predict and exceed customer expectations.

In a sense, Digital transformation is foremost about the survival so the organization is able to outpace digital disruption and then thrive in a rapidly evolving business environment.

Let me leave you with a final thought

Netflix them before you get (Block)busted!