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Become a Learning Organisation through Digital Transformation
December 15, 2017
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Consumer behaviour, needs and wants are changing. Faster than ever before. The acceleration of technological innovation is forming new ways to connect. New ways to live our lives. New ways to shop. New ways to do business. And the creation of new markets. In this article, we explore this brave new world, the risks it poses, and the great opportunities that await those that implement successful digital transformation…

The digital age has propelled many businesses into a preputial state of uncertainty. Disruption is the new normal – and businesses need to become used to being disrupted. The only certainty is change. In this new world, there are great opportunities. There is also a great risk. Extinction. And it has already seen the downfall of previously untouchable brands, such as HMV, Blockbuster and Kodak – brands that failed to mobilise their business capabilities to meet changing consumer needs.

So what is digital transformation?

As “digital” slowly seeps into every corner of every industry, embracing it’s true meaning and market impact becomes a critical factor for both survival and success. As a result, the allusive concept of digital transformation is often masqueraded as the panacea to all business ills.

Quite simply, digital transformation means using technology to:

  • Deliver consumer utility – evolve products and services to meet new consumer needs and improve brand experiences to better serve the consumer.
  • Future-proof your organisation – craft adaptive business models which embrace the opportunities created by change in condensed time frames, cementing a firm market position. Today and tomorrow.
  • Enhance operating models – reduce costs, increase efficiency and improve sustainability.
  • Improve the precision of strategic decision-making – harnessing rich, actionable business intelligence and insight.
  • Empower people – reduce silos and increase value from collaboration.

But wait. Before you dive into digital transformation, tread carefully…

If executed correctly, digital transformation can deliver unparalleled business and consumer value. However, proceed with caution - many incremental technology projects operate under the facade of “digital transformation” without a holistic, strategic vision and roadmap to deliver their promises.

Such initiatives, which are often simply an effort to hold the coat tails of the digital first movers, in the end, fail both the business and the consumer. And worst of all, bring doubt and disillusion around the overall positive impact that true digital transformation can potentially deliver for the business.

Although often executed with the best intentions, such an approach simply intensifies the race towards the edge of the cliff. Or in other words, accelerates the path to extinction.

One thing to remember: THE crucial motivation behind your digital transformation

During a time of such complexity and dynamic change, it’s crucial to remember why other businesses are, and why you should consider, engaging in such a programme of digital transformation.

Two simple words: the consumer – both internal and external.

Four key things you must consider before embarking on digital transformation

Here are four important points to consider before embarking on a programme of digital transformation:

  • Understand “Why”.
  • Appraise the opportunities and the challenges.
  • Redefine the value proposition.
  • Craft the vision, strategy and roadmap.

1.0 Understand “Why”

Before considering the how – or even whether you should embark on a programme of digital transformation – it’s imperative to start with the “why”.

The reasons for digital transformation must be the right ones – a harmonious balance of consumer and business value. Digital transformation should always be about people.

Technology is simply the means. It is not an end in itself.

Tech is simply the “how”, but people will always remain the “why”. The organisation of the future is the learning organisation, exceeding the wants and needs of both the people it employees and the customers it serves.

2.0 Appraise the opportunities and challenges

Where to start? Simple. Knowledge is power and without it you’re flying blind through unchartered territory. When considering a programme of transformation, no matter the scale, it’s imperative to begin with balanced, transparent business insight.

Such insight should permeate every component of the business, from consumer behaviour to business processes, both internal and external. It’s an approach we call “digital diagnosis” – the foundation of the business case for digital transformation.

3.0 Redefine the value proposition

Once you understand the “why” and have armed yourself with an indication of the opportunities and risks, it’s time to ask the big questions. To critique the very essence of the value your products and services deliver to your consumers. To understand the relevance and resonance of your value proposition. Today and tomorrow. Against the very real context of the digital age and the velocity of changing consumer behaviour.

To earn a place at the table in this new world, businesses must examine the unique intersection which is created at the point where business capabilities, culture and values meets consumer needs and wants. Then you must use this insight to reimagine and redefine the value proposition of your business.

Attempting to craft the future of the business by any other means – such as simply following the actions of your competitors – only perpetuates the chances of extinction.

4.0 Craft the vision, strategy and roadmap

The first three steps above form the critical foundation on which to build a truly transformational vision, strategy and roadmap which is clear and cohesive. Such a programme of change should be conducted with a clear mission. One to enable, serve, excite and empower the people within the organisation and the consumers it serves, aligned and supported all the way from the board to the shop floor.

The potential result?

Your business will be in a better position to begin designing compelling and relevant consumer products and brand experiences which deliver true utility, business efficiency, profitability and sustainability. Crafting the learning organisation of tomorrow, facilitating collaboration, fostering innovation and empowering impactful action whilst automating processes to create efficiency.

Four ways we can help you achieve digital transformation

1.0 Shift the focus on to what counts: people

Through consumer-centricity and design thinking we challenge the status quo. Through insight, empathy and intuition, we empower your people. We help you identify and address the barriers to transformation. We craft integrated propositions which place your consumer, and their needs, at the very heart. The result? You become more responsive to new consumer behaviour, new markets and new challenges.

2.0 Clarify the case for digital transformation

We support and mentor your management team, helping to clarify the case for change and enabling you to present the right analysis and interpretation to the C-suite team.

3.0 Understand the barriers to change

Drawing on our extensive client-side experience, we’ll help you understand what the real barriers to change are. And how you can break through them to achieve transformation.

4.0 Develop a transformative vision and strategy

We'll help you cultivate a vision. An acceleration roadmap. One that can help you drive digital transformation throughout every level of your business. One that can inspire and empower your people to drive change.

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