Digital Transformation – How Enterprises can Transform to Avoid Disruption

Robby Gupta

On 21st March 2006, the world witnessed its first tweet. Ten years later, 100 million active users login every day. On 15th January 2009, Twitter broke the news of a US Airways flight that crashed landed on the Hudson River, changing the role and landscape of traditional media. Did Evan Williams, Biz Stone and Jack Dorsey predict this meteoric rise? Maybe they did, we can all but speculate! But surely, they were open to the idea of digital transformation.

What is Digital Transformation?

Digital Transformation (DX) is the fundamental change or impact seen from the application of digital technology in a business environment. Many choose to believe that digital transformation is focused towards technology, [it is] in fact a strategic business transformation centered around customer experience.

Digital transformation does not make just for good business – it is crucial to stay profitable and relevant. While the essence of digital transformation is to impact real-world businesses through digital reality, its pertinence relies heavily on its framework. The framework for digital transformation can be vaguely represented as:

-Operational Agility

-Workforce Enablement

-Culture and Leadership

-Digital Technology Integration

-Customer Experience

Organizations should be flexible in their operations while enabling the workforce to perform better. However, the prevalence of legacy systems is, as many analysts confirm, the sole reason why organizations fail miserably while trying to adapt to digital transformation. Glass ceilings of culture and legacy must be broken to pave way for newer business strategies.

Digital Transformation in Enterprises

Netflix is possibly the best story to explain DX’s importance. To survive in the global market place, a company needs to disrupt the market. This is a sure shot way of getting a strong market foothold. It took Netflix less than a decade to make Blockbuster irrelevant. Blockbuster failed to innovate. The company never looked beyond their existing business strategy.

Blockbuster, which was a leading enterprise in the movie rental sphere, was upended by the start-up that was disruptive. Enterprises stand to lose the most if they do not adapt to digital transformation.

But there are two sides of every coin. In fact, there are many failed stories of enterprises which tried to implement digital transformation.

In fact, it is estimated that about 66% to 84% projects fail due to the lack of a clear cut strategy.

So it is highly important that you create a flawless and crisp strategy before you start undertaking the project.

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Here are five most essential steps for digital transformation in enterprises:

1. Assess: For any enterprise, being completely sure about their digital transformation strategy prior to its execution is imperative. Hence the first step towards DX for any company should be to assess their current market situation. While assessing, it is advisable for enterprises to align their key stakeholders with the DX strategy. During this process, teams should be formed to develop, deploy, integrate and manage DX processes. The crux of this activity should be to innovate as much as possible and renovate what can be.

2. Big Data & Analytics: Checking your Analytics is one of the most important steps in your journey towards DX. Through Analytics, you can tremendously improve the usage of your current applications such as CRM, Business Intelligence etc.

In fact, a survey from Forbes Insights reported that 91% of companies have seen revenue increases due to the use of data and analytics.

In addition to analytics, you can always rely on Big Data to gain powerful insights and make strategic long term decisions.

Using information from Big Data & Analytics is extremely crucial in your journey towards DX. You can make meaningful decisions to maximize ROI and minimize costs.

3. Cloud: Almost all applications that are needed for digitalization are based in a cloud environment. Nearly everything stored is a cloud is self-service which is an important aspect in DX. A cloud environment will be a big push in your digital journey as a hassle-free integration of all the latest business is now possible in a common architecture.

If you are worried about retaining your privacy, but still want to relish the benefits of cloud computing, you can always opt for a hybrid environment. Through hybrid cloud computing, you can undertake digital business initiatives in a much quicker and cheaper way.

4. Build the right team: In the current enterprise scenario, most organizations haven’t yet involved or worse built a cross functional team to implement and develop a strategy for DX. For your DX to be successful you need to continuously adapt and develop an enterprise wide approach.

In the same survey by Forbes Insights, it was reported that IT is the only function that is considered the most prepared for DX with over 53% of respondents deeming them ready.

It is highly essential to building a cross functional team (even if small) which includes the best talents of both IT and business to close the gap between your business needs and technical opportunities.

5. DevOps: If you want a meaningful and serious digital transformation in your organization, you need to be agile, fast and perform round the clock in delivering your software. Through DevOps, you can accelerate the delivery of your high-quality software and increase collaboration between your teams.

As a matter of fact, almost 81% of enterprises today use DevOps techniques.

DevOps help you in delivering new software at break neck speeds and thereby increasing your overall reputation and revenue.

6. Acknowledge: The very nature of DX is to upset convention. Enterprises run on many conventions, most of which would have been set by founding members. However, the consequences of not adapting are prodigious, as demonstrated by the case study above. The leadership’s aim should be to convince naysayers to adopt the strategy and steer the ship into less turbulent and uncertain waters.

7. Adapt: Upon assessment, enterprises should focus on defining success metrics for technologies and processes, which will be used during DX, and outline the benefits of their strategic initiatives in quantifiable terms. DX requires a robust communication path and precise orchestration across all the teams involved. Collaboration is crucial for the entire process to be a success.

8. Evaluate: While experimenting with business strategies that are in-line with the enterprise’s digital transformation, the need for evaluation is high. There could be certain processes that work better if they are automated, but Janice from sales thinks she can do the job faster and be efficient. Evaluation is a must for processes to better strategize for the enterprise.

9. Connect: Many organizations fail at this step. They strategize, adapt to the change, bring out better products and services but fail to communicate with the end-user. For an enterprise, knowing what works and what does not is pivotal. Being agile is profitable!

10. Measure, analyze and improve! Digital Transformation is all about continuously improving the process throughout the journey. While most enterprises today embraced the shift to digital, only a few try to improvise consistently. But in order to improve in the right areas, you need to dig deep and measure the performances of various applications.

There are a lot of tools in all the major public clouds which convert the semi structured results of customer faced applications to results which your SQL analytics software can handle.

The converted results can then be updated with the existing SQL data and more powerful insights can be obtained. With these insights, you can always check and analyze the required information and make necessary changes or improvements continuously.

Considering digital transformation in your enterprise? Assess yourself with these questions before taking a final call.

1) Do I need a digital upgrade or a complete digital transformation?

2) Can I set up an extremely efficient cross functional team?

3) Are you passionate about leading the digital transformation team?

4) Is my team empowered to act?

5) Are all my teams ready to collaborate across various functions?  

Digital Transformation is not just a few individuals managing information technology or a few analysts deciphering data and strategizing differently. It is a way to enable individuals to work efficiently and a means to drive enterprises away from legacy thinking and towards innovation and creativity. It affects all levels of an organization and not just structures and strategies.

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about the author

Robby Gupta

Robby Gupta is the head of US operations for TechJini, Inc. He has had varied experiences working in New York, Cupertino, and Bangalore with packaged & amp; custom web and mobile app development for an assortment of industries. His current focus is Immersive Technologies, IoT, AI bots and their applications in the digital enterprise.