This week, we cover the four key areas of any successful digital transformation, highlighting innovative examples. Undoubtedly, keeping an open-minded approach and plenty of preparation will go a long way to ensuring that a company’s digital transformation has the right foundation to truly transform its business and ways of working.
What is a digital transformation?
Digital transformations are programmes of change. Organisations embark on transformations to redefine their business processes and culture, enhancing their existing experience. Clients often focus on the tech, forgetting about the people driving and executing digital transformations. While legacy systems and inefficient operations present significant barriers to any transformation, people are just as important. Our Senior, Business Consultant, Scott Massingham wrote a great piece on this topic, which you can find here.
1. Business process transformation
As the term suggests, a business process transformation is focused on an organisation’s actions. This type of transformation is ideal for any radical updates, helping integrate new technologies and improve operations with new systems.
Are you upgrading systems or working with legacy tech? It’s important that you not only identify the goals of the transformation but also the causes driving the need.
In any process transformation, new processes and ways of working should be introduced to small teams initially. Additionally, this process should be monitored and adjusted to ensure it is successful across the organisation. Workflows are another vital aspect. Create the best scenario workflow with diagramming tools which detail all the human and system tasks that need to be considered.
Example: Nike’s app
Nike blended digital experiences with its in-store processes to engage its customers with its Nike store app. This innovative app allows customers to scan anything they want to try on with QR codes. This not only saves time but also delivers a better experience, turning customers’ smartphones into portals to physical stores. Consequently, this allows customers to scan and go, boosting digital engagement.
2. Business-model transformation
In financial services and banking, business-model transformations have greater significance for incumbents, who are pursuing digital-led strategies. Neobanks and FinTechs have changed the way customers access products and services. As a result, incumbents in banking, insurance and other areas are pushed to redefine their offerings. Data insights and analytics can drive new, innovative business models, allowing companies to retain and attract customers. Many financial service models are making the leap to platform business models.
While most industries favour a ‘dominant’ business model, leveraging a new technology allows businesses to overturn this model and transform the industry. Ultimately, the goal of business-model transformations is to help businesses reinvent or enhance their current offering to stay ahead of the competition.
Example: Netflix’s evolution
Most people will be familiar with popular transformations like Netflix’s transition from a video rental company to a global streaming service. In 1998, the company began renting out DVDs by mail. It decided to transform its pay-for-use model into a subscription model. When the company transitioned to a streaming service, it forever changed how people consume their favourite programmes and films. Amazon Prime launched in 2006. However, Netflix is still a leader with more than 220 million subscribers.
3. Domain transformation
FinTech companies have blurred the boundaries between technology companies and financial service providers. Many incumbents do not always recognise the opportunity present to redefine their products and services. In particular, the partner ecosystem of open banking allows collaboration-driven innovation. These new technologies help redefine products and services to create new value.
Domain transformations present new, promising opportunities. Nonetheless, it’s important that an organisation’s core business is not put at risk. Businesses should enhance their existing capabilities to complement their core business.
Example: Amazon’s web services
A well-known example of domain transformation is Amazon Web Services (AWS). As one of the largest cloud computing and infrastructure service providers, AWS is a leader in this space. Previously, Microsoft and IBM dominated the sector. Amazon extended its massive storage capabilities to growing businesses and startups in the Amazon family. From there, the retailer moved into the cloud space confidently. According to Statista, it is among the largest hyperscale cloud providers. These services are an ‘important revenue earner’ for the company.
4. Cultural transformations
People often assume that technology is the hardest aspect of any transformation project. However, this is not always true. Getting teams to understand and embrace change is perhaps the most challenging aspect. In cultural transformations, delegation, boldness, and action are encouraged. As a result, collaboration is essential for ensuring the transformation’s success and a shift in thinking.
Whether companies are addressing the overspending of leadership or trying to take a more empathetic approach, cultural transformations champion or redefine culture from the inside out. Consequently, this improves a business’s customer relationships and market position.
Example: Salesforce’s 1-1-1 model
Salesforce championed cultural transformation with its community giveback programs. Its 1-1-1 model encouraged companies to donate 1% of their yearly equity, 1% of their products and 1% of their employees to community volunteer projects. According to Salesforce, it has given over $240 million in grants and 3.5 million hours of community service and provided product donations for more than 39,000 non-profits and educational institutions. In summary, Salesforce’s programs have significantly shaped other organisations, helping give back to local communities.
Successful digital transformations look beyond the technology, examining people and processes. They also embrace operations and innovative business models to deliver true, enduring value in a competitive market. Consequently, better customer experience and expanded products and services are the real outcomes.
Lastly, no matter the area of digital transformation, data is still an important aspect to help measure success.
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