‘Digital transformation’, a phrase that we think must have seamlessly crept into the structure of organizations considering how phenomenally it has been shrinking the world and steering it towards the echelons of creative communication, has been dealing with its own share of speed bumps.
With parallel platforms rapidly and simultaneously evolving into something new, Companies are having a tough time holding on to the rule book they have followed since decades.
Today, with the incredible power stored in this one word ‘technology’, we have reached an era of shifting values, complex decision making, and new more real-time engagement expectations.
In essence, these shifts are bringing about Digital Darwinism.
“Digital Darwinism is the evolution of consumer behavior when society and technology evolve faster than your ability to adapt.” – Brian Solis
The answer to this challenging trend is ‘Digital transformation’. It does not just mean spending more on technology, but adopting an all-encompassing strategy to make the best out of a more aware market by means of unprecedented ideas and tools of technology. As lucrative as it sounds, corporates have a tough time bringing about this transformation.
- The lack of urgency: Digital transformation is not the solution to one particular problem and does not promise one particular result. It is more like changing the nature of organization than one particular vertical. As a result, the management, especially that of a successful business does not see the reason for such a significant transformation. This might invariably have something to do with the age of the management members. Youngsters are generally more accepting of new revolutionary ways while the aged ones repel change.
An exemplary case is that of Nestle wherein the traditional management adapted to the present environment and in spite of already doing well in its business, adopted CRM, B2B tools, real time interactions across departments with the help of digital technology.
After failing multiple times in order to become an important provider of mobile processors, including turning down the opportunity to provide chips for the original iPhone, Intel surely has recognized the sense of urgency in cultural as well as digital transformation. Among the steps Intel took to improve communications were adding 220 video conferencing rooms, electronic white boarding, and adding search functions to its SharePoint implementation. All company employees are now on an internal social network. Intel has also set up teams based on accounts, not internal departments.
- Rigid corporate cultures: Digital transformation is no set formula and thus there needs to be a lot of agility in a digital transformation plan. Any digital transformation will involve a fair few attempts and even more failures.
As a result, unless businesses provide a culture in which their employees can explore without fear of not producing sanguine figures, they will be unlikely to survive in the digital age.
To support this kind of culture, business leaders should encourage a digital-first mindset throughout their entire organizations, trickling down across every department. Once this open culture is in place, they should then step back and let the ideas develop organically from within.
Uber cabs for example, has been able to disrupt the entire market for it wasn’t rigid and based its entire business on a mobile app and real time tracking.
- The crucial support of key stakeholders. It’s difficult to transform a large company into one that embraces all of the changes that digital technology brings. Even though the shift to digital affects all customer functions, most departments or individuals don’t make coping with digital disruption a high priority. Digital leaders struggle mightily to get departmental support for the digital road map; thirty-eight percent report that gaining the support of executives and other key business leaders is one of their main obstacles to achieving digital excellence. The need here is to unlearn first and let the understanding seep in that ‘What took us here won’t get us there’. A highly profitable brand might eventually plummet if it does not know how to unlearn the past trends and adopt new ones.
- The cost of innovation: Digital media, once strategically embraced by the organization, turns out to be more fruitful than costly, yet the initial stages of investment need patience and a sagacious mind to plan. To distinguish themselves within the increasingly crowded online space, businesses have to invest in providing high quality and original customer experiences. As a result, those that do not invest in innovation will quickly fall behind.
- Budget Allocation: This point comes as an extension to the previous point. While a corporation may be wary of investing in innovation, even the willingness to spend does necessarily steer one towards the right path. Digital is new and unproven. It requires experimentation. ROI is difficult to identify. This creates a void that sometimes even the most careful and insightful budget allocators can’t fill.
The essence of Digital transformation is not confined to one particular industry.
Airbnb, Uber, HotelCo (one of the world’s 10 largest hospitality companies), Alibaba, Nike, all these brands and many more have committed their strategy to digital and reaped incredible results. Clearly, digital transformation is not confined to one particular industry, neither is it confined to one particular section of the organization. Be it CRM, internal communication, advertising, PR, B2B management the infusion of digital is everywhere and growing incessantly.