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Long Term Transition, Not Long Term Tradition: The Secret to Digital Transformation

20/06/2017 by Nandip Aulak

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It seems odd that while 88% of businesses are undergoing some kind of digital transformation[1], only 25%[2] of them have a clear understanding of their digital transformation journey. So what's driving so many businesses to pursue digital with such recklessness?


Broadly speaking, the reason is simply the unprecedented rate of change in digital solutions and services. As we ride the digital tidal wave, consumers and employees change their expectations, demanding more, faster. New competition is designed with digital change in mind, providing flexible and competitive challenges.

Full digital maturity has shown to provide 26% more profitability for organisations, as well as 9% more growth[3]. Finally, the traditional trade-off between cost, efficiency and innovation has diminished to the point of being near-negligible.

And that word "tradition" is part of one of the biggest challenges businesses face when attempting to undertake a digital transformation.

Challenges

You've likely heard this everywhere, but it's worth repeating - the biggest challenge to digital transformation is changing your business culture. Organisations need to be agile. A digital transformation represents a fundamental shift in any business infrastructure, meaning that culture change needs happen in all stakeholders, from the board downwards. Everyone needs to be on board and prepared to think differently for a successful transformation to take place.

Not only that, once your digital transformation starts delivering results, you need to make sure that your stakeholders are finding new ways to work to avoid squandering the gains from digital transformation. New insights and data are the fuel that powers the digital revolution, so accurate collection and interpretation of that data is how you can really capitalise on the benefits of your digital transformation.

Only 29% of companies have comprehensive digital transformation strategies in place[4]. This means that many businesses lack a clear understanding of what their goals are when it comes to digital transformation. Often times, but not always, you'll be overhauling your IT infrastructure to facilitate a move to a digital platform. Going digital for digital's sake can prove to be a costly investment that no one in your organisation knows how to get a return on.

Solutions

Successful digital transformation is the result of a shared desire throughout an organisation, where everyone contributes to the process together. This is the culture you need to be cultivating in your organisation.

Without executive support and leadership, culture cannot mature or adapt. That's why it's important to hire talent that isn't just technically savvy, but has the ability to innovate and join the dots in new ways.

You need people who can embrace a digital-driven culture, in fact, 71% of digitally maturing companies attract talent based on their digital vision[5] This is especially true when the case for digital transformation is not partnered with a clear goal. That’s what’s necessary to progress and earn relevance in a digital economy. But data can help you define clear, actionable goals.

71% of digitally maturing companies  attract new talent based on their digital vision

To make the most of a digital transformation, you need to make the most of the data now available to you. Departments need to understand what they can measure with advanced analytical tools and then how they can use that measurement to optimise their operations. You need to be driven by specific goals, not by data.

Big data should be the tool to define a goal and help you reach it, not be a goal itself. It is very important to be able to define what is actionable, what you can action and how you can begin to infer data trends over time.

Big data has presented companies with new opportunities to learn more about their customers and their business processes, enabling them not only to personalise products and services, but also to change their ways of working to provide better value and increase business productivity.

The Secret To Success?

Alex Candeland, Client Engagement Manager here at Montash, has worked with Blue Chip companies and SMEs alike supporting digital transformations. In his experience, the businesses who perform the most successful digital transformations are those who don’t necessarily create a single programme but an ongoing attitude, environment and methodology to drive digital innovation.

Some of the best examples of this has been to create innovation ‘hubs’ or digital functions within the business, which can manage a portfolio of projects designed  to help drive the culture needed for change.

Of course, included in this is the need to hunt out the best talent on the market, the people that think about future and can sell this non-tangible dream to the business – people that can create a culture, a platform and a new ‘tradition’ for IT.

Organisations undergoing digital transformation are each, in their own ways, creating new processes, forming new business models and teams, and investing in new technologies to work in ways that are more relevant to the fast-paced environment of today’s markets. In doing so, they’re leveraging digital transformation to become more customer-centric and more human, and they're renewing their culture for a new generation of customers and employees.

Digital transformation presents a huge number of opportunities for businesses, but you need the right people and the right attitude in place in order to avoid the more costly pitfalls.


[1] https://www.prophet.com/thinking/2014/07/the-2014-state-of-digital-transformation/

[2] http://www.information-age.com/study-finds-businesses-have-two-years-get-digital-transformation-bag-or-lose-out-123461445/

[3] https://www.inc.digital/

[4] http://www.cms-connected.com/News-Archive/January-2017/How-to-Develop-a-Digital-Strategy-and-Roadmap

[5] http://consulting.qa.com/blog/2016/digital-transformation-101

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