10 Things You Need to Know About Digital Transformation | Featured Image

10 Things You Need to Know About Digital Transformation

Digital Transfomration

Digital transformation isn’t just a phase or a buzzword. Business leaders are now fast waking up to the important role technology is set to play in their growth strategies, with the latest report from Gartner showing a rise in the number of CEOs ranking IT as a priority – “The IT-related area rose from 19% mentioning it as a priority for 2016/2017 to 31% in 2017/2018.”[i] The recent explosion of connected devices and platforms, for example, has made it imperative for companies to quickly adapt their products, services and processes, and move towards the digital world. This, naturally, requires transformation of some kind.

However, the reality is that digital transformation will require some tough choices to ensure your business isn’t dragged along or left behind. But we all know that change is not easy. You might be thinking how do you start transforming? Does it have to cost lots of money? Or perhaps you’re experiencing resistance to change. What’s the problem with doing things the ‘old’ way anyway? Here are ten considerations that that will help companies on their digital transformation journey.

Digital transformation will change your business, but focussing on the right level of change is key

New digital technologies should be seen as an enabler for better, more seamless and streamlined business operations that make your business competitive – driving growth. Focusing on where digital transformation can deliver the most benefits and add the most value in your quest for growth should be where you begin the change process.

Technology investment is crucial to growth but just because the technology is new, doesn’t mean it’s right for you

Sometimes less is more. The right use of technology can radically improve your business, but the deployment of technology for technology’s sake can be self-defeating. Being open to the transformative impact of new technologies is the most important consideration for companies around the world.

Consider where your company is on its digital transformation journey

Growing your technology platform doesn’t necessarily mean your business will grow too. Sometimes it’s better to have fewer solutions than more, but it can be challenging for business managers to keep on top of the latest tech trends and new solutions being launched in the market.

Many competing technologies profess to drive digital transformation, however, the utility of solutions depend on the stage your company is at in the transformation journey. From mobile sales and field services, to wireless sales counters and warehouses, to advanced inventory management – different solutions provide new ways to reduce costs, improve the customer experience, and improve the bottom line.

Not everyone in your company will feel comfortable with digital transformation

Society and technology are changing more quickly than most companies can adapt. From enterprise resource planning (ERP) to cloud computing, new tools, platforms, and channels are creating unprecedented opportunities to connect with customers and improve internal processes—but only for the businesses agile enough to transform and adapt to these new digital realities.

Even so, there’s no single roadmap for digital transformation and the path is different for every company and industry. However, there must be attempts to get employee buy-in from the start. This requires a commitment to digital technology from the boardroom to all levels of staff. You should have leaders with the right mind-set and motivation to lead the digital transformation process.

It’s no good having data if you don’t know what it means

Firms that undergo a true digital transformation programme put data and information at the heart of their technology focused business models. Many are shocked to see just how much information they had but were not utilising properly. The new data landscape provides you with unique opportunities to turn data into insights – the fuel for any digital transformation journey – with real-time updates providing opportunities for better business decision making.

In fact, Forrester Research has found that more than 70% of decision-makers report planned or current initiatives to encourage more data-driven decisions, making unlocking the value of integrated business data critical to success in today’s modern distribution marketplace.

Digital transformation won’t grow your profits overnight – embrace change as part of a wider growth strategy with measurable goals

Change is a constant in today’s dynamic marketplace, but it’s important to be realistic about what you can achieve in a short time. A recent survey we sponsored, highlighted how high-growth companies embrace change. Seventy-six per cent of high-growth companies prefer constant innovation to business stability, while only 49% of low-growth companies do so. In an age where innovation is driven by rising customer expectations, growing companies have distinct short-term goals that embrace innovation and business change as part of a wider transformation journey for growth.

Digital transformation should make your business more adaptable but it won’t make you immune to competition

It has never been more important for business leaders to carry the torch for digital transformation, but the most important factor is making sure digital potential is translated into competitive advantage. This requires top executives to champion the deployment of flexible, digital technologies that change the way they engage with their customers.

As Gartner rightly states, “technology shapes business strategy, but market, political and financial factors prevail.”[ii] Nevertheless, embracing the right technology brings people together, allows businesses to land and expand into new geographic locations with minimum resources, and makes the product development lifecycle more responsive to consumer demand than ever before. 

It takes more than just digital technology to encourage collaboration across departments and divisions

To begin digital transformation, you need to look at your business from the inside out – consider the tools and systems you use, what works well, what doesn’t and ways these can be improved. But when technology is heralded above all else, there becomes an even greater disconnect between employees and the challenges that their business is trying to solve.

There might be isolated investments that are doing very well, but they’re still isolated. New solutions must be an enabler aligned with a bigger mission – to evolve internal processes, structure and culture, or to match the evolution in customers’ behaviour. Consider how you communicate both internally and externally, the strengths and weaknesses of your staff and if their skills are fit for purpose. Do you need staff with more digital skills and will you need to recruit them throughout the process?

Your customers don’t think about your digital transformation, but they do expect it to happen

The digital trends that are impacting every part of business operations will not slow down, and it’s the same playing field for all of your competitors, and every start-up that’s gunning for a piece of your world. Your customers expect that you are embracing digital transformation because they are doing so, and they need you to join them on the journey. 

You can talk the talk, but make sure you walk the walk

To make digital transformation happen, high-growth companies don’t just pay lip service to ideas such as new technology and innovation – they back them up with investment. The growth survey we did, found that in the coming year, 88% of high-growth companies are planning significant investments in technology and innovation, while only 49% of slow-growth companies are doing so.

Digital transformation is different for every business. While some manufacturers will have more challenges than others, and while some will also embrace more technologies than others, being aware of the ten considerations above will be helpful to every business that is embarking – or has already embarked on – this journey.

[i] Gartner, 2017 CEO Survey: CIOs Must Scale Up Digital Business (March 2017)

[ii] Gartner, 2017 CEO Survey: CIOs Must Scale Up Digital Business (March 2017)

About the Author:

Sabby Gill, EVP, Epicor Software

Sabby Gill brings more than 20 years of international sales, operations and enterprise software industry experience to Epicor. In the role of executive vice president (EVP), International, Gill is responsible for operations including sales, professional services, and field marketing, with a focus on accelerating company growth throughout Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA) and Asia Pacific (APAC).

Prior to Epicor, Gill was senior vice president of International Sales for IGT, a gaming technology company. He has also held executive management roles with leading technology companies including HP, CA Technologies, Oracle, PeopleSoft (acquired by Oracle), and DEC.


If you want to share this article the reference to Sabby Gill and The HR Tech Weekly® blog is obligatory.

Are CEO’s Missing out on Big Data’s Big Picture?

Big data allows marketing and production strategists to see where their efforts are succeeding and where they need some work. With big data analytics, every move you make for your company can be backed by data and analytics. While every business venture involves some level of risk, with big data, that risk gets infinitesimally small, thanks to information and insights on market trends, customer behaviour, and more.

Unfortunately, however, many CEOs seem to think that big data is available to all of their employees as soon as it’s available to them. In one survey, nearly half of all CEOs polled thought that this information was disseminated quickly and that all of their employees had the information they needed to do their jobs. In the same survey, just a little over a quarter of employees responded in agreement.

Great Leadership Drives Big Data

In entirely too many cases, CEOs look at big data as something that spreads in real-time and that will just magically get to everyone who needs it in their companies. That’s not the case, though. Not all employees have access to the same data collection and analytics tools, and without the right data analysis and data science, all of that data does little to help anyone anyway.

In the same study that we mentioned above, of businesses with high-performing data-driven marketing strategies, 63% had initiatives launched by their own corporate leaders. Plus, over 40% of those companies also had centralized departments for data and analytics. The corporate leadership in these businesses understood that simply introducing a new tool to their companies’ marketing teams wouldn’t do much for them. They also needed to implement the leadership and structure necessary to make those tools effective.

Great leaders see big data for what it is – a tool. If they do not already have a digital strategy – including digital marketing and production teams, as well as a full team for data collection, analytics, data science, and information distribution – then they make the moves to put the right people in the right places with the best tools for the job.

Vision, Data-Driven Strategy, and Leadership Must Fit Together

CEOs should see vision, data-driven strategy, and leadership as a three-legged chair. Without any one of the legs, the chair falls down. Thus, to succeed a company needs a strong corporate vision. The corporate leadership must have this vision in mind at all times when making changes to strategy, implementing new tools and technology, and approaching big data analytics.

At the same time, marketing and production strategies must be data-driven, and that means that the employees who create and apply these strategies must have full access to all of the findings of the data collection and analysis team. They must be able to make their strategic decisions based directly on collected data on the market, customer behaviour, and other factors.

To do all this, leadership has to be in place to organize all of strategic initiatives and to ensure that all employees have everything they need to do their jobs and move new strategies forward.

Have you implemented a digital strategy for your business? What’s changed since you’ve embraced your strategy, and what are your recommendations for strategy and data-driven technology for business owners and executives like yourself?

Let us know what you think and how you’ve used your digital strategy to set your business apart from the the competition.

To learn more about the world of Entrepreneurship & Data Science follow Bob Nieme on Twitter or connect with him on Linkedin

CEO at O2MC I/O Prescriptive Computing

 

Connect with author Ronald van Loon to learn more about the possibilities of Big Data

Co-author, Director at Adversitement

 

 


Source: Are CEO’s Missing out on Big Data’s Big Picture?

How Strategy – Not Technology – Is the Real Driver for Digital Transformation

Business owners and executives today know the power of social media, mobile technology, cloud computing, and analytics. If you pay attention, however, you will notice that truly mature and successful digital businesses do not jump at every new technological tool or platform.

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Ronald van Loon, Director at Adversitement

While they do not sit and wait for months or years to create social media pages or to take advantage of new analytical services, they do approach every piece of technology that they use with a solid strategy. Why? Marketing, production, and brand management require concrete planning to be effective and coherent. Implementing new technology without a set strategy is a recipe for failure – or, at the very least, for ineffective use of an otherwise powerful tool.

The Importance of Digital Strategy and Vision

To make the most use out of the technologies and tools available to your business today, you must have a coherent and cohesive digital strategy. Companies that have good digital strategies are said to be “digitally mature” and are more likely to embrace the most strategic technologies as they are developed, rather than casting about, trying everything, and failing to use most of it to their advantage.

A good digital strategy is born out of a vision for the company. Savvy leaders will understand that they must first envision the form they want their business to take, the presence they want it to have online and in the physical world, and the brand tone and voice they will use to engage with customers across all media. This is the basis for a strong strategy that will carry you through software and hardware updates, new tools, social media platforms, and much more.

Technology Gives You Analytics – Strategy Shows You How to Use Them

Now, we are not saying that technology is unimportant. In fact, without data streams and analytics, you would have a much more difficult time collecting the information you need on your customers, website traffic, and the market in general. Without analytical tools like these, you would have a much harder time finding the data to make your next strategic move.

How Strategy – Not Technology – Is the Real Driver for Digital Transformation

However, you might think of your analytics and data streams as the tools to fix your car and your strategy as your mechanic’s knowledge and experience. You could have all of the tools necessary to change the struts on your wheels, replace the alternator, or do anything else to repair your car, but those tools will do nothing for you if you don’t have the knowledge and experience necessary to perform those jobs.

With a solid strategy, you’ll have a guide for how to use the tools that technology gives you. You’ll see how your business can embrace these tools and platforms, how it will change and evolve, and how to continue to use them in the future as they become a part of your business. Without strategy, you might get lucky and choose the right platform, the right analytics tools, and the right interpretations of the data in front of you…but it’s highly unlikely.

Businesses that put strategy before technology and then use that strategy to embrace and fully utilize that technology show a digital maturity that will drive them into the future and help them to maintain sustainable growth and success.

Have you implemented a digital strategy for your business? What’s changed since you’ve embraced your strategy, and what are your recommendations for strategy and data-driven technology for business owners and executives like yourself?

Let us know what you think and how you’ve used your digital strategy to set your business apart from the competition.

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Source: How Strategy – Not Technology – Is the Real Driver for Digital Transformation | Ronald van Loon | LinkedIn