Digital technologies are revealing what works inside your company and what doesn’t. Companies can no longer survive on just hard work and hoping things will work out. Leaders will have to put the mental work into designing a company that learns and responds to constantly changing customer demands.
The global pandemic has accelerated growth for some companies and demise in others. Taking advantage of the opportunities offered by digital technologies has become a matter of life and death for organizations. Digital technologies have, and continue, to raise the bar. There are two aspects of repositioning your company for success.
Think of Technology as an Enabler for Your Business Strategy
Just because your employees are working from home does not make your organization digital. It’s not the same as being a digital company. There are two key areas of being a digital company: the first is digitizing your operations and the second is being digital.
Digitizing is having operational excellence by having end-to-end delivery that works flawlessly. Your customers can call you on the phone, connect with you online, or do things for themselves using an app on their cellphone. In an instant your able to anticipate your customer’s needs and address them in the moment they arise. You deliver better on what you’ve always done.
Being digital is about doing things for your customer that you could have never done before. Digital companies are positioned to deliver new customer value propositions. This a move beyond what you have offered in the past. What problems can you solve now for your customers that were never considered part of your mandate before.
Digitizing Involves Cleaning Inefficient Processes
Digitizing builds an operation core that allows seamlessness and visibility to your customers.
While becoming “digital” is still a challenge, Nordstrom’s digitizing efforts have really paid off (they were the first department store to start using apps in 2011). Nordstrom’s “digitizing” efforts put them in a stronger position, more than any other department store, to deal with uncertainties when the pandemic struck.
When developing your digital offering, the challenge is to solve the customer’s problem so completely that they can’t imagine life without it.
A good example of this is Amazon Prime. Customer’s sign-up for it. They pay for it every month, make use of some its benefits, and probably don’t think twice about it. Although Amazon wasn’t born digital (it started as an online bookseller), it has continuously been inspired by technology. They invented the online shopping cart. When Amazon saw what was possible with robotics it became so effective with warehouse management, they no longer restricted themselves to books. When they looked at what was happening with Social Media, they moved away from a few paid-for book reviews to everybody reviewing all the products and let people cherry pick the reviews they find most valuable.
Schneider Electric has provided electrical equipment for over a hundred years
It’s new, digitally-inspired offering, is an intelligent energy management solution called Eco-Struxure™ — an IoT-enabled, plug and play, open, interoperable platform that helps customers optimize their use of electric power all from a central dashboard on their computer screen. In addition to helping companies save money, the digital platform also delivers enhanced values around security, safety, and predictability (it can even predict and take actions to avoid brownouts).
Notice how both of these digital products provide new solutions based on customer insight. The digital offering is a response to your understanding of what’s possible and what your customer’s want.
Digital Offerings are Built on Digital Platforms
Two technology environments are necessary for full digital transformations. It starts with building onto a digital platform where reusable components are created to build your solution. They allow for rapid research and development. This is technology that invites trial and error. You can get rid of things quickly. It’s about experiments not major launches. But this digital platform is built on the cloud and is foundational to everything else. You gain customer insights, optimize processes, and manage your supply chain. This is the operational backbone of a digitized company. The second environment involves learning what your customer wants and being inspired enough by digital technology to offer new ways to deliver information-enriched customer solutions that are highly personalized. These two pipelines rely on one another for data in order to deliver the digital offering.
Mission Not Structure/Collaboration Not Hierarchy
Traditionally, to get something done, you turned to structure. The problem with structure is that it stabilizes in an environment where offerings are unpredictable. We have to identify and respond to emerging customer needs as they happen. It can’t be done effectively with matrixed hierarchal organization. It’s too slow.
Digital Transformation is a huge topic. We barely scraped the surface with this micro-blog. Business environments change rapidly and organizations have to position themselves as much as possible to change quickly as well. Being “adaptable” will be the most important quality for a company to develop. You learn something. You adapt. Your customer needs something different now, you adapt. The question of how to design your company is slippery because it is constantly evolving. It’s learning process of figure out what works.
All of these things can be challenging. IronOrbit can at least set you up on firm reliable ground so that you can reach higher, experiment, and take risks all without losing your balance.