When we refer to Digital transformation today, the word digital and technology appears everywhere. However, the organization strategy is still paramount. Only when the organization strategy is clear then we can look into the Digital Transformation.
Any digital transformation that focuses solely on technology will ultimately fail. Any successful transformation today, must involve looking into the current business model. It is no longer a departmental activity. Gone are the days whereby we were looking into digitalising the Human Resource Department, the CRM or Accounting software. Even the big debate on whether it should be Cloud; is largely settled. Furthermore, Digital Transformation must never be about just making a process more automated, faster or efficient. Sometimes the question should be, do we even need to upgrade that process at all.
There are 5 key question which most business owners should ask before undertaking any digital transformation to ensure they are proceeding in the right direction.
1. Will the business (industry or product) still be around in 5 or 10 years?
Answer this question with honestly and with the latest information available, get someone to play devil’s advocate. Recently I was asked to assist a car exhaust manufacturer to look into Digital Transformation of their business. My first reaction was isn’t the electric motor and batteries becoming the norm. If the entire business needs to change, isn’t it better to invest the money in a new business then upgrading the old?
2. If the business is still relevant, which part of the business will have significant changes?
Very few businesses will be left un-touch in 5 years. Most business especially those considered to be the middleman such as distributors, retailers etc will most likely face significant changes to their business model. The answer to this question will have a significant impact to the new strategy
3. What is my value proposition for the business or product?
Be extremely clear what differentiates your business from the competitors and it must be something that adds value to the customer, not easily replicated by competition and it is within your control. Strategy will be to retain and enhance this value proposition
4. Who will be my customers and how I interact with them?
A significant part of most digital transformation is how we can reach and market to our targeted customers. It will need an entirely different customer interaction and retention strategy.
5. Whatever outcome we derive, is it sustainable?
The triple bottom line is a significant consideration that requires our attention. We must protect our society, economy and finance. Any organization strategy that is purely financial will ultimately not be sustainable for all.
To be successful, digital transformation requires a solid strategy by top management that meets the needs of the customer in the foreseeable future. It will involve the inter-relationship of technology, people, and process hence resulting in Culture Change and most likely a whole new business. Welcome to Digital Transformation in a VUCA environment