Antarpreet Singh, Director - Digital Learning, Indian School of Business, 0
“Every business is a Digital business”. I often start my talks on Digital Transformation with this comment. “How can every business be digital”, the participants invariably ask me. We (especially the digital immigrants) are conditioned to think, that there are two types of businesses - digital and non-digital (brick & mortar) and that both are quite different. I support my argument with a view that all businesses in today’s world are digital with the only difference, that there are some which sell digital technology and the others, which consume technology. So the two models - “Digital as a business” and “Digital in the business”. We can better understand this by having a look at the top companies in the world (by way of market capitalization). The current rankings show that 5 out of these top 6 companies are sellers of Digital technologies (Digital as a business). The 6th is an oil and gas company which consumes digital technology for business enablement (Digital in the business). This shows how strongly Digital technologies have disrupted the business landscape. As we talk of Digital Transformation of a business, it’s in context of both the models– companies which sell technology and others which consume technology for enabling their businesses.
Let us look at the foundation of a Digital Transformation in an organization. The foundation rests on two pillars – Digitalization and Digitization. The two terms are being interchangeably used in the industry. These two terms(like the two sides of a coin) co-exist and go hand in hand but are distinct and different. Digitalization is all about direction and effectiveness (doing right things). It centres around a “Digital Strategy” which provides a transformation road map for the business. We must keep in mind that Digitalization is not merely focused on technology – it’s all about leading a change thru judicious man machine (people & technology) collaboration. A well-rounded Digital Transformation program in an enterprise will entail:
a) Good alignment with the business road map
b) Judicious selection of Digital and Artificial Intelligence technologies (in synch with the requirements of a business)
c) A well-rounded change management program (enabled by strong leadership)
Digitization on the other hand is a transactional approach – it’s tactical. The major focus of Digitization is to enhance efficiency of processes – thru a judicious man-machine collaboration (which includes different degrees
a) Fulfilment of needs (as promised by the seller/ solution provider)
b) Seller organization being flexible to the changing needs of the customer
c) Delightful experience during the entire journey (over entire life cycle)
Digital transformation is thus not about technology alone - it is all about crafting a recipe, which has a right blend of digitalization and digitization with an ultimate focus to provide superior connected experiences
A successful Digital Transformation program facilitates optimizing interactions with customers during the entire life cycle thru a “data driven approach”. The optimization refers to fulfilment, flexibility to changing needs/change requests and delighting the customers during the entire life cycle (journey with the organization). It must be kept in mind at all times, that organization’s journey does not end with the customer acquiring a solution. It rather extends over the entire life cycle (understanding customer needs to sales, support post sales, repeat sales and so on). The digital technology acts as a great enabler in the entire process of engagement between an organization and its customers. As we talk of connected customer experiences, we should not lose sight of crafting superior employee and partner experiences as well - over their entire life cycles. These experiences are directly related to the capability of a business to provide delightful CX (Customer Experience).
Digital Transformation is thus not about technology alone – it is all about crafting a recipe, which has a right blend of Digitalization and Digitization with an ultimate focus to provide superior connected experiences. There is an old age adage which says that “there are no short cuts to success”. In a similar fashion, there are no short cuts to a “successful Digital Transformation program”. The “Digital Transformation Recipe” has to be crafted by an enterprise based on its unique business requirements with an eye on providing superior connected experiences to its customers, employees and partners.
There is no one way – every organization has to craft its own recipe, for success.