Adaptability and resilience are business advantages even in the best of times. When things get tough, they can mean the difference between thriving, surviving or struggling. The recent crisis proves that digital transformation is foundational to success in a changing world. It has enabled organisations to:
Digitally transforming your business only matters if it helps your people achieve more, using their talent, intellect and imagination to the fullest.
With people at the centre, digital transformation builds trust and engagement. For example, hybrid and remote work are probably here to stay, but voice and video meetings are merely functional requirements. People-centric transformation means going beyond function, with tools that support morale, wellbeing and cultural cohesion.
Whether it’s expanded hours, new digital services, delivery and kerbside pickup or virtual medical care, organisations have adapted to customer needs with lightning speed. Those customers aren’t going to give up new conveniences.
The same digital technologies that organisations used to respond in a crisis can also help them recover the stability to look forward strategically – and to reimagine how they can outperform expectations tomorrow.
Even today, many organisations treat technology, data and business as separate activities that only come together when they have to. This inhibits digital transformation, which brings all three elements together.
On a deeper level, it requires that technology and business decisions become one. Every new initiative or project seeks to solve challenges with digital innovation. Every technology decision relates to a business goal. Breaking down silos between these aspects of the business strengthens the business as a whole.
Data is everywhere. What you can do with it depends on how easy it is to access and explore. Traditionally, data was tightly woven into the application it served. Using it anywhere else was tough and you were limited to the tools in the app.
Cloud databases now make it a lot easier to move data around or copy it to a secure central location. Smart business intelligence tools query data from several systems in one view. You can ask questions in everyday language to get new answers and fresh insights.
None of this exploration affects the original application. By starting with small experiments, you can figure out which data matters most to your goals (or discover new ones) and invest to push further in the right direction.
Transformation sounds big, but the most successful efforts start small and build. It’s no longer necessary to ‘finish’ a technology initiative before getting value from it. In fact, the earlier customers and employees can get their hands on a digital innovation, the better.
Expect first attempts to fall short. Start with a hypothesis, test it and learn from the results. Value will accrue much faster when real people are providing feedback on real experiences, compared to a process that emphasises perfecting the digital solution behind the scenes.
AI, the cloud and big data have the potential to redefine boundaries in many ways. An open-source mindset takes hold. Organisations that once competed become partners. APIs turn one company’s data by-products into another’s business gold. Companies in formerly unrelated industries unite to create entirely new endeavours.
Competition isn’t going away. But it also shouldn’t get in the way. Why settle for the zero-sum game when you can go for a win-win instead? As with most dimensions of digital transformation, it’s as much about the mindset as the technology. The idea of defending corporate borders at all costs is giving way to openness, transparency and cooperation.
Consumers are increasingly choosing companies that align to their values as much as their budgets and tastes. If you can do all of the above, so much the better. Purpose-driven digital transformation supports positive business, social and environmental outcomes.
For example, predictive maintenance can reduce emissions and waste, cut costs and deliver better customer experiences. Cloud technology uses less energy than traditional data centres and can provide secure, open access to data around the world. It’s possible to do well and do good at the same time.
The resilience afforded by digital transformation can help companies weather change, recover quickly and move forward with confidence. The easiest way to make it real is to learn from those who have gone before. However, technology is only one part of the picture. Purpose, people, culture and mindset matter just as much. With an iterative approach, an orientation to partnership and a commitment to ethics and sustainability, you can achieve dramatic results with minimal risk.
MAPiTek is here to support your journey with our experience, tools and platforms.
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