Most companies know they must adapt and evolve to compete in a digital economy. Yet the very mention of the term «digital transformation» creates fear and apprehension among the most seasoned managers and business leaders.
Technology has enabled consumers to become more mobile, social and continually connected than ever before. This in turn has transformed how they interact and connect with each other and with products, services and businesses. Changes in how people communicate, connect, and discover are carrying incredible implications for businesses and just about anything where people are involved.
It’s not so much that technology is part of our everyday life or that technology is relentless in its barrage on humanity. The real threat and opportunity in technology’s disruption lies in the evolution of customer and employee behavior, values, and expectations. Companies are faced with a quandary as they invest resources and budgets in current technology and business strategies versus that of the unknown in how those investments align, or don’t, with market and behavior shifts.
Digital transformation is creating spectacular new opportunities for innovation. But it is also accelerating «Digital Darwinism» — the disruption of businesses and entire industries as they fail to adapt to new customer and competitive environments. It’s an era where technology and society are evolving faster than businesses can naturally adapt. This sets the stage for a new era of leadership, a new generation of business models, charging behind a mantra of «adapt or die».
There’s no doubt that the notion of digital transformation can be daunting — but it doesn’t have to be. By systematically understanding gaps across critical levers for competing in a digital economy, managers can begin to understand how to identify, prioritize and appropriately resource digital transformation initiatives.
Digital transformation is also not about a digital department and a mobile strategist won’t save your organization. It is not the role of any additional unit to take a company from irrelevance to leadership. It’s a philosophy that all must adopt.
Successful digital transformation is based on a common set of elements. Each is a lever you can use to initiate and drive digital transformation in your organizations. Leaders diagnose the potential value of existing corporate assets and build a transformative vision for the future. Then, invest in skills and initiatives to make the vision a reality. Fundamental to the transformation is effective communication and governance to ensure that your firm is moving in the right direction. These elements work together in an iterative approach — constantly communicating and listening to re-envision and further implement new types of digital transformation.