Beyond digital transformation: Where does business go next?
How a holistic approach can ensure you’re really innovating with technology
Digitising an organisation is a huge undertaking and a journey rather than a destination, but once the wheels are turning on digital projects how does a business continue to grow beyond that?
Every company needs to constantly change and innovate to survive and grow; and the wider facets of business – customers, company culture, employees, industry neighbours – can underpin and drive long-term success. To truly innovate, businesses must keep their eyes on their purpose and ensure that every area of their business is working effectively in pursuit of those priorities.
A holistic strategy is vital to success – this means not just thinking about how all areas of your business come together, but how your organisation fits into the wider ecosystem including industry and society across all business stakeholders. Especially after the events of the last year, which have shifted objectives and goals across the board, organisations should consider how they want to operate going forward, what they have to offer and how technology can support their goals. With a real purpose, you can ensure the longevity of your organisation, build a greater future through innovation, and have a sustainable impact on the world.
Be a leader, not a follower
By now, most organisations will have undergone some type of purpose-driven digital transformation to keep up, especially in the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic. Digital transformations can often be a rushed effort to adopt the latest systems and platforms, without a strategic focus that ensure that it’s the right technology or that you’re working towards a clearly defined goal.
A lot of the time, organisations are simply looking at what their competitors are doing in a bid to stay relevant. While it’s important to look outwards as well as inwards, just trying to stay in line with the competition isn’t enough. Research from business consultancy TCS identified two groups of businesses ‘digital leaders’ and ‘digital followers’. What sets the two groups apart is the revenue they generated from digital and how prepared and confident they felt in the digital landscape. Leaders generated 63% of their revenue from their digital offerings, compared to just 38% of revenue for followers. Most digital leaders fell into the category of ‘digital renovators’ rather than disruptors, in other words, organisations who had gone through a digital transformation rather than been fully immersed in the digital world from day one. Compared to the followers, these digital leaders felt more prepared to compete not just with direct competitors, but digital competitors outside of their sector.
To ensure you’re really staying ahead of the curve, perhaps the most important thing for any organisation is to find its purpose. Organisations need to understand what their vision is, whether that’s making a positive community impact, sharing knowledge, or using technology to create a unique product offering.
Put your customers first
Businesses live and die by the experiences of their customers, so it’s vital that you prioritise customer experiences in your digital transformation efforts. Not only is competition fierce in many areas, but the digital age has given customers more of a voice and influence through reviews and social media. As organisations embrace new technology that allows for greater personalisation and convenience, customer expectations have also risen.
It is therefore vital that you ensure you examine your current customer experiences and ways that you could transform these with technology. Better use of customer and industry data is usually a crucial starting point for this, which may require investments in technology such as AI-powered data analytics. This can help you get to know your customers in more detail than ever before, which means you can be there every step of the way with a personalised approach throughout their entire buying journey.
Ensure your vision is ingrained in your culture
It takes all areas of an organisation to enable a successful digital transformation initiative and make a real impact. If teams within your organisation work in silos and changes are enforced without taking into consideration the impact on all aspects of your organisation, then you’re at best making your life difficult and at worst setting your digital transformation initiative up for failure.
Make it clear what your goals are across your entire organisation and ensure that you are supporting both teams and individual staff in the journey. Just as the people who spend with your organisation are vital to its success, so are those who work within your company’s walls (or virtual walls if remote working trends continue).
This may mean considering how you can continue your transformation efforts while incorporating some of the cultural shifts of the last year, such as empowering employees to work remotely or on the move. If your strategies are both benefiting your business and those who work for it, then you are putting yourself in a far stronger position to innovate. No business is an island Instead of staying laser-focused on your own company issues, it is critical to look beyond that to identify new opportunities across external organisations. This can help drive wider transformation throughout your industry. This can even apply across multiple industries and the wider society by adopting purpose-led ecosystems as an operating model. This means truly transforming aspects of how you partner with vendors and deliver value to your customers and/or clients’ lives or business. For example, many industry, infrastructure and even societal transformations involving the Internet of Things will require collaboration between technology companies, data companies and product manufacturers. Take, for instance, revolutionising the automotive industry to help create smarter and more environmentally friendly transport through autonomous and electric vehicles. For this, multiple industries and organisations will need to come together to each play their unique role in the ecosystem: the AI company creating the smart technology, the car manufacturer, those supporting the charging infrastructure and all those mapped to the vehicle sales and repair.
The events of the last year have accelerated some of the efforts of organisations embracing a more collaborative approach. As the pandemic unfolded, we saw companies evolve their business, working with different partners and vendors as well as the community to pull together and pool resources to produce the greatest good. By continuing to embrace this approach, we can create more knowledge, drive transformation, and deliver greater innovation with increased value across wider business and society. If you need help with your digital transformation journey across the ecosystem, TCS has the contextual knowledge and consulting expertise to help you unlock value through a purpose-led strategy.
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