Tips for Prioritizing Digital Transformation

Robert Lescano, VP of Solutions, DMI
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Robert Lescano, VP of Solutions, DMI

Robert Lescano, VP of Solutions, DMI

PricewaterhouseCoopers recently surveyed CEOs and found that 86 percent of them consider digital transformation their first priority. Formerly the sole purview of CIOs, digital strategy has taken on a greater significance in the life—even the survival—of organizations today.

That’s because digital transformation is more than a catchphrase; it is fundamentally about enabling your business to develop new models to create disruption by quickly transforming products and services, empowering employees and optimizing operations to compete, lead and grow in your market. It’s not just a trend but rather a reality business leaders need to understand and harness.

Executives are always in search of competitive advantages and, if done correctly, that is what digital transformation achieves. Business leaders are looking for ways to improve customer engagement and connection through investing in emerging technologies such as Internet of Things (IoT), self-service analytics, smart machines and sensors, virtual reality, digital agents, bots, and language and speech recognition. These, and many other technologies, are blurring the lines between physical products and virtual experiences, which is creating intense pressure on IT organizations to accelerate bringing these technologies and solutions to market.

Mandates are flying at IT teams from all sides; they are told they must be more nimble, innovative, collaborative, iterative, and cloud- and mobile-ready. There’s a push for greater emphasis on business value and quicker impact. Reducing costs and resources on legacy applications or platforms is critical to allow for more time and investment dollars to focus on newer business solutions that will deliver higher impact and ROI.

Industrial Revolution 4.0?

There is an unprecedented volume of opportunities for business innovation arising from the vast increase in newer emerging technologies. This is generating a significant inflection point, perhaps even the next industrial revolution.

Think about how a top-tier manufacturer reduces cost by adding sensors to every one of their thousands of engines to blend data sets and predict engine performance at any time, anywhere in the world. Or how a world-renowned soccer team with 500 million global fans bridges the gap between the fans at a stadium watching a game versus the fans watching the game on TV via an innovative mobile app. How do they do it? It’s about data, knowing the customer and enabling the employee with technology.

As companies are becoming market leaders by developing new mobile offerings and implementing digital business models that transform a given industry, disruption has become the new normal.

What Data Reveals

A recent IDC study indicated that in 2015, the world created 10 zettabytes of data and projected that in 2025, the number will be 180 zettabytes. Access to information is becoming a commodity. Enabling the right information at the right time to the right people via the right device is the real challenge. To solve this, companies must determine how to assemble, organize, structure, analyze and compute available data while identifying the right end-user audiences, such as customers, employees, consumers, dealers and suppliers.

Therefore, a company’s strategic differentiator will be its ability to empower business users, senior executives, CEOs, COOs and other audiences with business-essential content. Designing such a predictable analytics environment for these types of audiences is vastly different than designing one just for IT or a subset of business users. Without question, this is a complex path to navigate; companies that can find their way will surface at the top of their industry.

Taking on this new paradigm requires a much deeper understanding of customers. This isn’t a quick project but rather a lifecycle that starts with establishing a 360-degree view of each customer. By leveraging data, a stronger picture of a customer’s buying behavior and preferences comes to light. This data can lead to the delivery of personalized experience that customers have come to demand. Incorporating best-in-class CRM tools means sales and marketing teams can perform at the highest level. Approaching all brand interactions via your web site, app and other mobile tools with the customer experience in mind begins to elevate customer engagement.

The Need for Speed

The key to leveraging digital transformation as a market differentiator is timeliness. Businesses are racing to be first to market to introduce disruptive solutions. According to an HP survey, agile work styles are trending toward the norm. The 2015-16 survey of over 600 professionals states that some 90 percent report working in some form of an agile environment to release products into the market at a much faster pace. By leveraging an agile-based approach to development of new technology solutions, businesses can become more nimble and push iterative versions of solutions into the market faster.

Employees as a Differentiator

Enabling increasingly mobile employees to do more is often a forgotten competitive advantage. From cloud technology that enables mobile workers to access the tools they need to collaboration platforms for global teams, businesses must equip teams with the ability to work from anywhere on any device. Consider this: a study by Statista states that by 2017, the total number of mobile phone users will rise to 4.77 billion.

Eighty percent of organizations see a big gap between current and future workforce capabilities, according to The McKinsey Global Institute. Add to this the fact that there will be a shortage of 40 million skilled workers globally by 2020. Organizations need to reimagine human resources by leveraging newer technologies that enable better access to company information and collaboration tools to dramatically increase intra-organization learning. Centralizing and simplifying the most frequently used content will accelerate actions and decisions anywhere, on any device.

The Journey Begins Now

Organizations make the most of the opportunities that digital transformation presents by creating a strategy that takes into account data, customer engagement initiatives, the opportunity for greater efficiency and employee upskilling. A consulting partner can be of great assistance in this process, lending insight into the digital world to help you avoid the numerous pitfalls and false starts that are possible along the path to digital transformation.

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