Making the Case for Digital Transformation with Business Drivers
by Jim Sinur
It’s a common fear that emerging technologies are just looking to land in the business and get “forced fit”in the organization without the total cost of ownership considered. But taking a look at the business drivers when it comes to Digital Transformation can make a compelling case for going digital.
To see if there is a real fit for emerging technologies, let’s look at seven major issues that businesses are facing:
We are in a period of uncertainty. Competitors can pop up and dominate with a new business model enabled by technology. We certainly have shifting patterns and contexts. Digital capabilities such as predictive analytics, simulation, and cognitive assists can help navigate this uncertainty. Organizations can leverage digital in scenario planning successfully and there are emerging case studies to prove it.
Organizations are generally arranged by division of labor, which creates pools of specialty that speak in their own languages and are driven by their focused goals. This creates the need for meetings and emails flying through the organization to solve issues for customers, partners, and other departments. On top this disfunction, new products and services are getting more features and options to manage with policies and rules. Digital can help with its aim to follow customer journeys with processes and collaborations that are driven by customer goals. In addition, digital affords better and more visible work management and collaborations that can easily support change across the organizational stove pipes. Granted, new digital technologies bring their own set of new complexities, but the trade-off favors digital.
Increased Need for Speed
The speed of response for making changes, creating new products, and responding to operational problems is increasing at a very fast rate today. Organizations that can respond quickly with the right answer will outcompete their competitors. Digital can help because it makes changes quickly due to easy change features that are aimed at low level developers and business pros. In addition, digital promotes composition over creation, but when new code is needed, development environments are visually driven. Since signal and event patterns are measured in real-time, digital gets to the issues quicker.
Lack of Educated and Skilled Workers
People’s skill sets are certainly changing to incorporate a much wider repertoire and a much higher level mastery of skills. This means that organizations’ cherished staffs might have to be augmented. Digital can help by augmenting human skills to enable a nice balanced response of a mixture of human and machine learning / cognition to solve business issues. In addition, digital can respond to the increasing costs of low skilled labor by replacing them with robots.
The need for visibility into processes and their ability to accomplish results in a most compliant manner is only growing exponentially. Organizations are having to balance many compliance programs simultaneously. This is on top of the customer demands for progress of their outcomes. Digital gives fantastic visibility through dashboards and score cards, but through work / process management, compliance can be enforced through process audits and inline rules /constraints.
Reduced Organizational Lifespans
It is not secret that companies are becoming extinct at faster rates today. Nobody wants to be “uberized” in months nor does an organization want its edge marginalized slowly. Digital can help create new business models and experiment with them at the maximum, but it can also help add advantage over time to stay in – or even dominate – the game.
Emerging Technical Opportunities
By definition, digital is creating a constant flow of new technologies and new technology combinations. The trick is to figure out the risk of each of these technologies and consider them in your organizations tolerance for risk.
We can debate forever if business drives technology or if technology drives business. While there is probably an interplay of both, I am in the camp of solving high priority business problems with appropriate technology. Although complexities such as timing, priority, and getting ahead of the curve instead of chasing it are all challenges that can arise, the case is clearly weighted heavily for Digital Transformation, so get ready to invest in digital.