Looking at digital transformation through a different lens

Published 9/19/2016 by Gordon Wilson, Chief Executive Officer, Advanced

A survey earlier this year  by Russell Reynolds Associates of more than 2,000 C-level executives across 15 industries found that roughly 50 per cent expect their industry to be moderately or massively disrupted by digital in the next 12 months. The question being asked by chief executives around the world is therefore not if digital disruption will occur, but what it means for their business. 

In many cases, digital disruption is seen as a negative thing, literally tearing through existing processes and, as the terms spells out, ‘disrupt’ the business. For many, it also appears to cause anxiety and is seen to be costly. But that’s arguably a very negative way of looking at things. There’s no denying that the digital era is changing the expectations of customers, partners and employees; the way they want to engage and the services they demand. But rather than being seen as a major roadblock, digital transformation can actually enable businesses to advance their competitive position, reduce inefficiencies and improve performance by unlocking the potential of employees.

However, seeing digital as an opportunity for transformation requires a change of mindset. It requires looking at things through a different lens, re-imagining your business in terms of the impact digital can have on transforming the customer experience, the workforce and operations.  Consider it, if you like, as an opportunity to make a fresh start and to adapt to these new market conditions in a more responsive, productive and successful way… 

The questions businesses therefore need to be asking themselves are; 

  • What’s the opportunity?
  • How do we respond to this effectively?
  • What are the opportunities if we succeed? 

Struggling to know where to begin? Many companies have focused business transformation efforts on IT and business processes but as always, change needs to start with people: your employees, your leaders, and your customers.  

The workforce:

By neglecting digital workforce transformation, companies are failing to build the capabilities that they will need for their employees to succeed in the new digital era. Digital transformation affords the opportunity for businesses to use technology to improve efficiency by reimagining processes, to provide the right tools so that employees operate at their full potential, enabling them to become more agile and responsive. For example, a simple expenses app means that the tedious process of managing expenses is automated – saving time for the employee as well as manager. 

Leaders:

In turn, company leaders can gain control of this optimum workforce by having a data-driven view of the business. This requires the ability to collect and analyse vast amounts of structured and unstructured information; opportunities afforded by digital technologies, and to use those insights to inform business decisions and take action in real time.  If they have one view of the business and its processes, how much quicker can decisions be made and what significant inefficiencies and disagreements can be avoided?  

The customer experience:

Today’s customer demands new ways of discovery when trying, exploring, adopting, and being social about your products and services so it’s vital that you connect and engage with them via the channels they want and expect. Reimagine transforming the service you deliver to your customers, making a positive impact on their experience with you and driving their satisfaction and loyalty. By shifting focus to your customer and their journey, you can begin to align your technical capabilities to directly address your customer’s pains, needs, and desired outcomes.

Transforming customer experience transforms your whole value chain, so by better supporting your customers, you’ll also change how your workforce interacts with partners, and each other. By evolving your workforce in this way you’ll also streamline your operations, innovating as you find ways to do things better, faster, and cheaper.

Forget disruption.  With the right tools, digital transformation is an enabler to reimagine your business: providing the opportunity to become more efficient, grow and prosper. It’s an opportunity for businesses to identify the changes needed, from an informed position, and work out those priorities which will have the biggest impact, putting people and technology at the heart of their organisation for the betterment of all.  And that’s not looking at things through a rose-tinted lens, that’s the truth.

 

Gordon Wilson, CEO, Advanced

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