Transformation…’A marked change in form, nature, or appearance.’ Oxford Dictionary
Transformation…’a complete change in the appearance or character of something or someone, especially so that that thing or person is improved.’ Cambridge Dictionary
Transformation…’In an organizational context, a process of profound and radical change that orients an organization in a new direction and takes it to an entirely different level of effectiveness. Unlike ‘turnaround’ (which implies incremental progress on the same place) transformation implies a basic change of character and little or no resemblance with the past configuration or structure.’ Business Dictionary
The concept of ‘Digital Transformation’ is debated by many and rightly so, transformation at its heart is not accomplished by Digital alone. It requires innovative thinking, strategic planning, education, change management and agility in the organisation to adapt. However what is often overlooked is that Digital solutions are the enabling factor for transformation. Similar to the industrial revolution which resulted in a shift from the home using hand tools and basic machines to special-purpose machinery, factories and mass production; Transformation requires digital. Digital is not a just technology but an enabling factor to delivering transformation, as McKinsey states in “What ‘digital really means”, ‘digital should be seen less as a thing and more a way of doing things. To help make this definition more concrete, we’ve broken it down into three attributes: creating value at the new frontiers of the business world, creating value in the processes that execute a vision of customer experiences, and building foundational capabilities that support the entire structure.’
So are we still executing Digital Transformation? Yes! The analogue to digital transition is still occurring in a lot of organisations as they move from paper-based to online…think of all the paperwork you still fill out, writing into tiny little boxes, resulting in a cramped hand. Or all those times you register and complete a form for one Government Department only to be told you need to do the same thing for another Department. And, what about the smart trolley’s at the supermarket…what happened to the future of shopping! I was going to pick an item off the shelf, scan it as I placed it into my trolley and finalise my bill whilst I exited the supermarket, no need to pull each item out of the trolley and scan each item. Instead we are still stuck with self-checkout, trying to juggle a trolley, scanning and packing into a tiny space and calling on a supervisor to assist when our items no longer fit in the bagging area and spill onto the floor. It is a great idea if you have a couple of non-bulky items but otherwise a nightmare! Not to mention the issues with theft!
Organisations have been successful in implementing bespoke digital applications and mobile apps however the end-to-end customer journey is still incomplete for most. More so, an organisations front of house presence may indicate a Digital presence but the backend is still far from finished. Transformation is about a complete change and thus Digital Transformation is still far from complete for many. Social media presences are now commonplace however the information that can be gathered and used to generate targeted brand awareness and growth with your customers is developing at a rapid pace…cross pollination of information from your facebook, twitter, linkedin, Instagram accounts is either timely or expensive. We all know those companies that either spam us daily to purchase their products or continue to contact us even though our tastes have changed, wasting time and budget! Alternatively, the opposite is true, we are desperate to be shown brand loyalty and not seen as just another dollar sign, yet we spend and spend our dollars with no reward insight. My favourite is the Survey…please take 20 minutes to complete a survey to develop your marketing information with no reward…we need to remember the consumer wants to know ‘What’s in it for me!”.
Although this only touches on a variety of topics and only scrapes the surface, it does provide a justification that Digital Transformation is still as important as when the term was first coined.
So what’s next?
Strategy drives Digital Transformation! To reach digital maturity there is still a lot of work to do internally and externally: from processes and procedures, to talent development, customer engagement and digital business models. This requires digital leadership from the top down and bottom up. Identifying what is working well, the gaps that have been uncovered from previous attempts to deliver “Digital Transformation” and innovative thinking to continually evolve. Linking this back to the statements by McKinsey we still have a long way to go until organisations are seen as “doing things” and delivering Digital Transformation.
We would love to hear your thoughts on Digital Transformation!