Time To Nurture A Digital Culture

By Apoorv Srivastava, Director Global Services CIO, BT

Apoorv Srivastava, Director Global Services CIO, BTThe future of any industry will be digital, that’s not a myth anymore. Digital transformation is on the radar of many organizations. The industry sectors might have been slowly realizing the impact of digital technology which was earlier protected by regulation, nature of business and uncertainty of threats because of security. But the pressure is mounting each day.

But digital technologies have evolved from the earlier sketchy era of 3D printing, VR/AR limited to few sectors and industries to Blockchain, IOT( Internet of Things), automation and robotics to cryptocurrencies covering almost every industry vertical.

Leveraging digital technologies is indispensable in this century and is more than just a good business—it’s crucial to staying relevant and profitable. Digital transformation is imperative for all businesses, from the small to the enterprise. Companies lagging in this area risk losing ground to newer entrants and business models that are poised to disrupt markets with innovative products and services.

The most discernible industries disrupted by digital are music, retailing, media, and travel, but the paradigm is apparent in traditional industries such as banking, agriculture, energy, healthcare, industrial goods, and manufacturing.

For any industry, speed is of the essence. Digital transformation closes the gap between what digital customers already expect and what analog businesses actually deliver. Appreciating digital transformation must be the pursuit of any industry to retaliate digitalization.

Finding ways to react to and shape digital disruption should be on the agenda of every member of the

Leadership team Digitalization is no longer just an add-on feature to existing channels or products and services. Instead, many aspects of the customer experience are digital by default, as should be the processes that are involved. Some opine how digital technology will transform pieces of the business, but find it harder to envisage how the entire value chain and business model might change.

They, therefore, content themselves with investing in a new sales channel, launching a service app, or automating a few processes. At other carriers, executives believe a transformation will not be completed on their watch, because the magnitude of change required will leave no part of the organization untouched and could take up to a decade. So why speculate on the uncertainty of future and risk cannibalizing existing profits or alienating distributors when they face more pressing issues, such as regulatory compliance?

A growing number of executives are substantially resurfacing digitalization. They are acquainted that digital technology can significantly improve the performance of their current business. They know that first-movers have the advantage to precede their competitors in the digital compass. The organization governance is well aware of the fact that Enterprise-wide digital transformation requires leadership, regardless of how it is organized and as long as the holistic approach towards the goals with the edges in mind prevails over internal silos and de facto gaps between reality and perception. The digital transformation can give birth to entirely new business models that shake up sectors, deracinating, companies that fail to adapt. This list is not exhaustive and de facto the several mentioned aspects are connected and overlap. We do look at some less business-related ‘digital transformation’ phenomena and at so-called disruptions but the focus is on the business, which by definition means a holistic digital transformation view whereby aspects such as customer experience, technological evolutions, and innovation with a clear purpose, instead of a buzzword, are crucial elements.

The CXO foresee digital transformation in the integrated and connected sense which it requires can, among, others, touch upon the transformation of the following:

Define your Company’s digital vision

Leading digital companies test and refine products and strategies in close cooperation with customers at a dizzying pace. The traditional three- to five-year strategy and planning process is no longer effective. Agile innovations have successfully pioneered at companies such as Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Twitter. To set digital transformation on the right course of the company, one must space it at the core of its agenda, and understand the magnitude of the undertaking. It is not for the timorous, but for the CEOs zealous to make remarkable investments, and set clear, devout targets. Setting clear targets at the outset prevents back-sliding when the going gets tough. And also it imposes discipline on the process of deciding which initiatives to pursue maximum impact.

Win the hearts and Minds of your leadership team

Any transformation will be dead in the water if it does not have the commitment of the leadership team. But the CEO cannot simply sanction a digital transformation; he or she must communicate the vision of what needs to be achieved, and why, in order to demonstrate that digital is an unquestionable priority, make other leaders accountable, and make it harder to back-track. With the vision set, results are then achieved through relentless daily engagement. “There’s no way you can do digital transformation by halves.” The leadership team must be chirping in the ears the whole team as catalyst just CXOs alone cannot make it all the time Role modeling becomes imperative and often cannot be substituted.

Bring the Change leaders

The importance of securing a high caliber change team, often under a Transformation Director, cannot be overstated. A Transformation Director can prove invaluable in coordinating a transformation—avoiding duplication by devising a methodology for the redesign of customer journeys that can be replicated across the organization as digitization efforts are extended, for example. He or she can also ensure the appropriate technology and skills are in place, decide the sequence of the transformation, monitor progress against targets, and ensure that tactical day-to-day priorities get the attention they need. People leadership skills are essential and crucial too. Transformation is not just about tipping everything upside down, reinventing products, and disrupting value chains. It is partly about balancing old and new and integrating fresh talent with old, valued hands

Pilot the launch and accelerate

It is easy to launch change initiatives. It is hard to keep them afloat and spawn more. Often companies decide to fund several, assign people, even set up separate units. But then the initiatives dwindle continuing with the same old business model—at which executives wrongly infer there is no exigency as the market is not ready for the change. Although digital business transformation is not about digital technologies as such, it is clear that the adoption and opportunities of technologies under the umbrellas of social business, cloud, mobility, Big Data (analytics), cognitive computing and the Internet of Things and more will always speed up changes across society.

However, the real acceleration happens when the acceleration of innovation and transformation as such goes exponential. Such projects include customer services activities and the redesign of the process. Pilot Customers will be delighted, cost savings can be as high as 20 to 30 percent, and effectiveness, measured in return on investment, can rise by as much as five percentage points.

Nurture a digital culture and Upskilling

The debate about the responsibility over digital transformation as a whole and within specific functions and processes in that sense of genuine transformation is archaic, even if it needs to be held as Chief Digital Officers, CIOs and other CXOs all play a role. Here again, there is no ideal solution regarding responsibility: context does matter. We have touched upon how digital ways of working and thinking— fast, collaborative, empowered—will be the default mode of new recruits with digital skills. These methods also need to take hold across the organization, and now is the time to start nurturing them.

So much needs to change. A focus on customer needs rather than process and procedure, continuous customer feedback, comfort with testing and learning and hence with occasional failure, and collaboration—all are vital.

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