How to crack the code of digital transformation

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Digital Transformation (DTx) is probably the most overused phrase in business today and it is fast approaching peak buzzword status. I recently attended an event where it was used in nearly every sentence and sometimes even twice in certain sentences. The frequency of its use began to grate by the end.

The term, and the process however, is here to stay until either all activities are digitised or until its accepted that DTx isn’t just the next shiny thing, rather a constant state in which every organisation should now be well and truly entrenched in.

As consumers we are so used to living in the DTx age; we shop online and via apps, work virtually and communicate through smart devices. So it’s no surprise that people want the same experience in a business environment. This expectation is driving businesses to look for disruptive technologies that create efficiencies and allow them to engage with their customers in deeper way.

However, despite the seemingly never ending conversation surrounding DTx, many still haven’t cracked it and more astoundingly, some seem to think the process is already finished. According to an April, 2018 Forrester report entitled “The Sorry State Of Digital Transformation In 2018”[1], the analyst firm found that out of the nearly 1,600 business and IT decision makers it surveyed; 21% of firms think their transformation is done and dusted. Another 15% are investigating or not transforming at all, and of those that are investigating DTx, their level of investment and scope of transformation are still mostly small.

One reason that many may be talking more about DTx, as opposed to actually putting the processes into practise, could be put down to businesses not really knowing where to start. Traditional businesses are being put under significant pressure from those “born in the cloud”. This is seeing the commercial gearing around physical location and infrastructure changing, meaning the demand to transform has never been greater.

We are seeing that many have started on the DTx path, however a key part to cracking the code of digital transformation is not transforming for the sake of it. Rather, businesses need to truly understand not only their needs, but also the needs of their customers as well as which projects are going to deliver the most amount of value in a reasonable amount of time. DTx investments are the most successful when key stakeholders can start to see the benefits come to fruition.

The route to successful transition through DTx will be when organisations truly understand their customers, what they need and what motivates them, before investing in technology. This means organisations need to engage with their customers, suppliers and business partners, and with this understanding a business can manufacture an innovative and creative solution that will allow them to survive the DTx revolution and for some lead the way.

Tim Cook is a Director – Digital Transformation at Colt Technology Services

[1] Forrester’s The Sorry State Of Digital Transformation In 2018

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