We are in an era where the digital capabilities of your business, in addition to being excellent at your core products/services, are going to make or break your business. According to a study conducted by the growth and strategy consulting firm Innosight, a staggering number of current companies on the S&P 500 will be replaced by new ones by 2027. The main reason is going to be their lack of understanding of digital technologies for their business.
With the constantly connected generation of users, it is essential for organizations to interact and engage with customers through digital channels. It is not just enough to be able to attract a customer and make an initial sale. What is even more critical is how you are going to be able to engage with the customer after the first sale. The digital capabilities of your business in interacting with and engaging customers are going to help you sustain and differentiate yourself in your industry.
Once you’ve understood the importance of digital business and have decided to take action, it is essential to have clear goals before you start taking steps to transform your business to digital capabilities. The industry refers to the series of steps taken towards this transformation as Digital Transformation. There are three kinds of opportunities with Digital Transformations:
- Make your business operations more efficient
- Transform your operations and add more value to customers through better engagement
- Find new business models with digital avenues
You need to decide upfront what your goals are in order to achieve the expected results. Here are some keys to navigate the challenges you will encounter once you set clear goals and set off the Digital Transformation journey:
- Create a cross-functional team of people with a passion for driving change. No matter which area of the business they come from, common traits they will have are a keen ability to observe current practices, identify shortcomings in the existing methods, have ideas to either transform current practices or establish entirely new ones. Usually, these people have multiple interests even though they play a specific role in their current job.
- Get buy-in from each of the functional areas to get either part of their time (or full time) to participate in innovation activities.
- Develop a culture of product development as opposed to treating everything as a project. The culture of product development is a topic by itself for another time. It merely means you don’t need to aim for the best at first. Focus on continuous improvement throughout the life of the product.
- Embrace Agile and DevOps methodologies to quickly see ideas in action. Be quick to prototype and iterate as necessary. Also, do not hesitate to toss out an idea if it doesn’t seem like a viable one.
- Experiment with UX/UI paradigms and emerging technologies and frameworks such as Angular, React, and Vue.js.
- Don’t be too constrained by your existing technology landscape. Be bold and try out new architectural styles, containers, public cloud infrastructure, Serverless functions, scalable databases NoSQL and NewSQL databases such as CosmosDB, Couchbase, MongoDb, Google Spanner, and CockroachDB.
- Packaged solutions and COTS applications may not be the solution for this kind of innovation. You want to have a team that is capable of quickly developing and iterating custom applications as necessary.
- If you don’t have those development skills, find a reliable development partner who can get you off the ground and into rhythm quickly. Remember, agility is essential here, and you don’t want to get bogged down in contract negotiations with large vendors. Niche vendors are probably your best bet for this kind of activities.
Where are you in your digital business transformation journey?
Rao Chejarla is a visionary technology leader who helps businesses achieve their Digital Business and Digital Transformation ambition through innovative technology solutions. He is the founder and CEO of Expeed Software and has over 25 years of leadership and hands-on experience in providing solutions to energy/utilities, healthcare, retail, banking, insurance, and manufacturing sectors.