Socrates defined the change many thousand years ago as:
“The secret of the change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” Going digital requires a shift in mindset and behavior.
Simply put, knowing your strengths, capabilities and weaknesses in meeting your customer needs and experience, are key for choosing the right digital strategy. It can be pivotal for your success or failure in the digital transformation journey. A straightforward concept but still not easy to execute.
The widespread adoption of digital technologies across all industries has gone beyond the hype and is now mainstream and a reality with a global scale. The confluence of digital technologies has created so called connected digital ecosystems that have made their way into the fabric of our daily lives and our economy as well. The net effect is a digital economy beneficial for all parties, enterprises as well as people, who are the end consumers of the digital services.
Digital advancements have changed the meaning and usage of time, physical space we live and work in, content of interest, as well as the meaning and use of information in a scale that new behaviour, needs and expectations have arisen across both enterprises and customers alike. Customers not only want their new needs to be served but also have an influence on when, what, how, and where. Digital technologies have enabled people, enterprises and markets to meet, share and collaborate in real-time through new business models and new ways of working.
Massive changes in customer behaviour equally demand huge changes from enterprises and organisations to accommodate digital savvy customers’ needs and expectations. In this regard, some enterprises have been successful with disruption to produce that digital effect craved by their customers, and other enterprises totally failed in their digital transformation journey.
Both successful and unsuccessful enterprises in digital transformation have access to the same digital technologies but they are getting different results. This indicates that a shiny technology or an app added to a complex IT landscape where business is still conducted in an old-fashioned way is not enough. The successful companies with digital disruptors' mindset do not adopt technologies to do old things in new ways. They internalize technologies so that they can find new things to do, and this is what makes them successful. Digital becomes embedded in the organisation’s DNA.
Another observation made here is that individual technologies, on their own, are no guarantee of results or success. It is the confluence of technologies put in the right business context, with laser focus on customer needs that will yield results and create digital disruption.
Deloitte, in their survey for 2019 trends* confirms this as follows:
Macro technology forces at work – Instead of exploring major technology trends individually, organizations will explore how technologies can work symbiotically to drive transformational business change.
Using the confluence of digital technologies, digital disruptors build a digital bridge into their products and services so that they can constantly influence and refresh customer experience even with very dull products and services. Nike is a very good example of how they enhanced the customer experience of their main product that is training shoes and built the digital bridge to it. The latest digital product from Nike is “Nike Adapt BB” smart shoes aimed for basketball players and senses the tension needed by the foot and adjusts the shoes accordingly to keep the foot snug. Basically, they elevated the customer experience for athletes and got rid of shoelaces.
Adopting a digital disruptor mindset will require a shift in thinking and behaviour and re-evaluating the approach for the new problem statement. The new problem statement is not about our ability or capacity to create a product or offer a service, as we know we can, but rather our ability to understand the new customer needs and behaviour in light of digital disruptions happening in our industry and whether we can offer the new customer experience that our competitors coming in the shape of small companies and start-ups, with minimum infrastructure cost and capital investment but offering better products and services than us.
Organizations that have understood their current capabilities, weaknesses and strengths, and their customer needs and experience before embarking on their digital transformation journeys, will have a better chance to navigate through the ocean of possibilities created by digital technologies.
The questions that you need to answer in preparation for this journey are:
Have you re-evaluated your vision to see where you stand in the digital ecosystem? What is your new role in the digital ecosystem?What are your strengths and capabilities to meet digital disruption? What is your starting point for the transformation journey?How do you measure your digital impact? How do you know the chosen digital strategy is the right one for you etc?
Digital disruption will be as vital and crucial to your business in the coming century as railways, highways, and airways were to businesses in the last century. In summary, know your strengths and capabilities, identify your customers’ needs, create a heat-map for your current gaps to meet customer needs, and then choose the right digital strategy that can fulfill your vision, which should be about simply meeting customer needs and providing the experience they are craving for.