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The seven levers of digital transformation

Organisations that embark on digital transformation projects often run into difficulties. Following the seven principles of digital transformation will help them reap the benefits of digital technology

Research from BT and the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) has revealed that nearly 40% of CEOs currently have digital transformation at the top of their agenda, with a quarter of them personally leading their company’s transformation programme. Despite this, the vast majority (86%) have encountered challenges in delivering and implementing transformation strategies across their organisation.

Digital transformation should not be viewed as the pursuit of emerging technologies. This overlooks the importance of employee buy-in, struggles to achieve partner and supplier engagement, and fails to offer a seamless customer experience.

To succeed in their digital transformation journey, organisations should consider the following seven levers of change. This will help to reduce the number of failed projects and carefully guide investment decisions which, in turn, create new services and products to seal customer loyalty.

1 Business process

It is vital to have a non-siloed and connected business process to ensure the enterprise as a whole is able to make the best, most informed decisions about efficiency gains, customer insights, or a strategy to deliver the products and services that customers want. Without this, it is a challenge to adopt emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), bots and machine learning.

2 Customer engagement

We live in the age of empowered customers. It is more important than ever to provide a consistently great experience to remain profitable and competitive. However, customer insight cannot be gleaned by simply conducting a quarterly survey. It is about getting consistent, tangible feedback around the customer’s perceptions, motivations and expectations to offer maximum impact for the business. This is the only way to build the products and services that customers want.

3 Product and service digitisation

The best product and service providers understand the value of continuous learning. This involves gathering data via connected processes and developing a deep understanding of the customer’s reality, in order to separate their short-term preferences from their persistent needs. Digitisation to improve the availability of a product or service is a necessity if businesses want to improve the relationship with their customers.

4 IT and delivery transformation

Operational and information technology supports the overall business objectives – efficiency gains, cost reduction and generating revenue, for example. The rate of change for business processes can vary within a sector, geography or between the core and edge of the business. This demands the creation of a hybrid process to achieve greater agility in technology delivery and customer engagement that is unique to the business.

5 Organisational culture

Effective digital transformation with long-term gains for the business needs to be believed and implemented by every single employee with understanding and enthusiasm. “Culture eats strategy for breakfast,” as the well-worn phrase goes. Progressive organisations will inspire the need to create a different growth path, and design a structure for teams to innovate, scale and structure.

6 Strategy

The best strategies encourage hard value chain configuration choices, but they also identify the common priorities that produce value for the customer and profitability for the enterprise. Organisations will need to consider the basic assumptions behind their configuration choices and adopt a model that employs policy-based governance to hold decision- makers accountable.

7 Ecosystem and business model

Businesses will need to consider the wider economic context in which they are operating. Working with partners enables collaboration that actually helps to increase customer retention and collective growth – this is key to survival in today’s digital world.

Ultimately, the seven levels identified here are symbiotic pillars that feed off each other and amplify the effects of each other. Technology is merely the glue that binds them. To build a future-ready organisation, consider each lever and invest equitably, and see the exponential impact of digitisation unfold.

The Open Group London event and member meeting will take place on 16-19 April, 2018. Computer Weekly readers can save 20% on non-member fees by using promotion code LON184-CW.

This was last published in April 2018

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