Digital transformation is strategic transformation, but with the goal of using technology to remove business constraints caused by people and legacy business processes to achieve growth. Your company will likely have to rethink its whole approach. Moreover, it is more about people and processes than IT investments. Lastly, digital transformation is about setting up your business to win in the market for many years to come, all while providing flexibility to ownership and employees alike.
Digital transformation will push people out of their comfort zone even more so than a typical strategic transformation because it forces the business to use a whole new skill set. It will be hard for former rock stars to deliver the same value as individual contributors because what is valued will change. Insights and analytics beat gut instincts in this new world. Furthermore, you and your management team will need to nurture innovation and creativity in a way that challenges old command and control cultures often present in legacy businesses. Therefore, most firm’s fail in digital transformations because they are not prepared for the fact that what creates value will change as the environment changes. Further, modern business writing is not being truthful about the hard choices needed for success in 2019. We all want to build creative teams, but we’re not all willing to suffer for them.
You might be thinking it’s time to beef up the IT budget at this point, but that’s not necessarily the case. There are plenty of solutions out there for little to no investment because of the proliferation of the XaaS (X as a Service) model. Even enterprise level solutions can be had with no major capital expenditures. For instance, on premise share drives are slowly going the way of the dinosaurs because Box, Dropbox, AWS, G Suite, Azure, and other cloud-based providers are allowing document sharing with versioning and world class security features. This allows you and your best people to work from the office, the home, or Costa Rica if you are so inclined! The companies that are successfully changing are not looking for silver bullets though, they are weaving new technology into their existing processes to make them more robust, accessible, and reliable.
Digital transformation then means combining technology strengthened processes that scale with a team that can excel in a decentralized organization.
The results of your digital transformation efforts will take some time to see, think more flywheel than combustion engine. New habits and technology will create small wins that encourage the team to continue pushing the envelope to create larger wins. For instance, your team might pick up a new piece of customer insight from playing with their CRM data. Maybe the received wisdom was that your customers are price shoppers, but the data shows the highest retention rates have a high correlation to on time-in full deliveries than having the lowest price in your system for your products. This insight convinces you to invest more company time in inventory management leading to an increase in on time performance. Then your marketing team starts positioning itself as the market leader in on time delivery and the conversion rate ticks up. Soon, your company picks up a reputation for being a challenging place to work that rewards innovation and you see a higher level of talent for job postings. Now your team is improved, your services improved, and your position in the market is improved, all from one insight picked up from combing through your data.
The time to consider a digital transformation is now if you want to grow your business. Even fortune 500 companies often turn to consulting firms, like Bloom Advisory Group, to guide their digital transformation journey due to the challenges involved. A guide helps make sure that the investments are appropriate to the industry and competition, and that the challenge of people management is adequately addressed. Digital transformation firms like Bloom and Clarkston go one step further through the design and implementation of marketing and sales programs that take advantage of new digital capabilities. Further, consultants will work with clients long term to make sure that their virtuous cycles are fully realized, and their competitive advantage is constantly mapped to market data.