One of the most important things to understand about digital transformation is that the process itself is not a "one size fits all" affair. Think about it like this - part of what digital transformation allows you to do is better position your own company in a way that lets you continue to meet the needs of your ever-changing audience, regardless of what those needs happen to be at any given moment.
As every audience is a little bit different, why then would you think that there is one "correct" way to execute a digital transformation that works well for all companies at all sizes in all industries?
It's All About Mindset
Consider the fact that according to one recent IDC report, approximately 1/3rd of the top 20 firms in nearly every industry segment is expected to be disrupted by a new competitor within the next five years. A large part of this will have to do not with these competitor's ability to improve on an experience that was already there, but instead with the ways that they'll use technology to create something new and innovative in the first place.
Indeed, this is the necessary mindset that a company must adopt at the beginning of their digital transformation. Their number one goal must become capitalizing on technology to deliver an unmatched customer experience, no exceptions.
While it's true that digital transformation is not just about the customer-facing operations of a business, it's to see why they're perhaps THE most important driver there is. Without customers, even the strongest businesses will wither and die. Because of this, you can't spend on technology in an attempt to "convince" an audience that you're worth buying from. You need to spend on technology to transform yourself into the type of company that customers want to buy from in the first place.
The Framework of Digital Transformation
Although it's true that your own organization's digital transformation will be heavily influenced by a wide range of factors (including who you are, where you want to be and what challenges and demands you're expecting to face), there are a few common themes that will be present.
According to the experts at EnterprisersProject.com, these themes often include but are not limited to:
- Organizations identify a need to deliver a newer and better experience to their customers.
- Organizations need to better position themselves for operational agility, allowing them to respond to changing market and customer demands in the fastest and most efficient ways possible.
- Organizations need to enable their own workforces by getting rid of the legacy systems that are holding them back, shifting towards newer digital technologies that allow them to grow and become more efficient.
- Digital technology integration becomes no longer a recommendation but a requirement. Businesses of all types and sizes need to break down silos, connecting the disparate portions of an enterprise into the living, breathing whole that it must be in the modern era.
The common denominator across all of these points is the fact that digital transformation - any digital transformation - must be motivated by a desire to deliver better experiences to both customers and employees by using technology to get a better understanding of their decisions and behaviors.
It's not about implementing solutions for the sake of it. It's about choosing those solutions that bring people, systems and data together. It's about both acknowledging that digital activity can no longer exist in separate pockets of a business and, at the end of the day, finally doing something about it.
Building the Bridge to Tomorrow, Today
The digital transformation that a small business goes through will likely take a vastly different shape from that of a large enterprise, which itself will be different from that of a government organization, etc. Remember that this process is all about agility and malleability - ideas that begin to take hold much sooner in a digital transformation than most people seem to realize.
In our next piece of the topic of digital transformation, we'll take a closer look at what this process looks like for each of these markets - including how they're different and the few common ideas (like those outlined above) that always remain the same.