Digital transformation, no doubt is changing our lives, be small things like no paper receipt for payroll or no telephone directory in every home; highlights how things in our day to day life have changed due to this digital disruption. Digital transformation is here and it is here to stay. There is a pressing need for every CIO/CTO (and CFO & CEO as well) to have a defined strategy to deal with the digital barrage that is coming our way , it could be managing the social media savvy millennial, or building the mobile communication gateway for effective communication or automating the internal business processes or managing the headache of BYOD. In a nutshell digital transformation is reshaping how corporates work. Every aspect of work is being redefined: where we work, how we work, who we collaborate with.
Often most frequently asked question is, what to digitize? How digital transformation can help me to be more agile, to be more efficient? And is it easy to find the definite ROI of such program?
Transformation need not to be a big scale all the time. The small things can be transformational too. Google doing exactly what yahoo was doing but in a better and quicker way was transformational; WhatsApp redefining the way we communicate was transformational. In fact in a traditional organization, we need to think small and lead upto big as acceptance is a big criteria for failure or success in such kind of organizations. Change management in such organizations is sometimes bigger than the implementation or rollout of such strategic projects. You start small and establish an ROI and then take it big.
Let’s look at a very evident example of airline industry. In today’s time, most of the airlines have self-help kiosks; they offer boarding pass printing, passport scanning, seat selection etc., which is otherwise a core business process for any airline before the boarding. And this is quite successful as it automated the process to a great extent there by deriving a definite ROI. This is a classic example of dividing the organization in to different business processes and trying to automate to build the efficiency.
But, what could be a starting point?
- The top management must make a strategic decision for transformation.This is an important aspect of the digital journey. Sometimes, organizations would have too many competitive priorities and quite often this transformational journey takes the back seat. Only by highlighting digital transformation as an effort of paramount importance will the organization prioritize these efforts. It’s always wise idea to start with identifying a senior executive taking charge of this transformation program to spearhead these efforts.
- Starting point is Right now. There is a wide gap between digital capabilities and how companies operate and bridging this gap would yield tremendous amount of business benefit. While digital transformation is all about simplifying my current business processes, but it doesn’t mean that such transformation will take place quickly and easily. Digital transformation requires rethinking one’s entire business, step-by-step, from the ground up, over time.
- One small step at a time. Successful digital transformation is not a one-and-done effort. Rather, it requires a flexible mindset and an organizational structure that allows the company to respond to digital trends. As such, digital transformation is an ongoing process. Adopt, “think small” philosophy.
- Start with the pain points. A careful analysis of organization’s current operations compared with a digital ideal can provide some insight for the most significant barriers to begin working on.
- Effective Change Management.Once the digital transformation journey is decided; it is extremely important to have effective change management; by involving all the stakeholders and brainstorming on the ideas. This might lead to change in the business process or certain rules to be re-written, however it is extremely important to keep the focus towards making organization agile and drive towards the business benefits.
Becoming a digital enterprise requires fundamentally changing the way you run your business and there cannot be a blanket strategy for digital transformation across organizations. We need to encourage disruptions – who knows which mind houses the next Google or Amazon?