Digital transformation: an analysis

Today, A.T. Kearney, a management consultancy firm, released results from a survey carried out at its Digital Business Forum earlier this month.

The results, from 100 c-suite executives across Europe, basically showed that while digital transformation represents a huge opportunity for growth, the results are generally not being felt.

Digital transformation will be the game changer for a range of industries. It is the next faze of industrial revolution.

In light of its significance, Ramyani Basu, principal at A.T. Kearney, has provided Information Age with analysis on some of the key the findings of the survey.

Over half of European C-suite executives say digital innovation has not delivered high business impact at their organisation

Survey results: the impact of digital innovation
Survey results: the impact of digital innovation

It is not surprising that over half of executives believe digital innovation has not delivered high business impact.

Frequently corporations believe that digital is merely a new channel, and are unclear what they can expect.

However, when companies put the customer right at the centre of their digital innovation, and use digital technologies to create wow-experiences for them, we see over and over again that high impact is the result.

Businesses frequently set up “digital” as a project, but this setup cannot deliver high business impact.

>See also: Rising to digital transformation’s challenge

Digital technologies fundamentally change how companies go to market, what they go to market with, and how they organise themselves internally.

For digital technologies to deliver high impact, the whole organistion needs to be taken along, and needs to buy into this new way of thinking.

Ashok Vaswani (CEO Barclays UK) commented recently at A.T. Kearney’s Digital Business Forum in London, “Everything we do is digital!”

Until this digital mindset is reflected within an organisation, companies won’t see the full impact of their digital investments. Barclays was the first bank to launch a banking app.

Acceptance was very low at the start, and only took off after Barclays trained their staff, and explained how the banking app would deliver value to their customers.

Once branch staff could explain how the app works, and saw value in it, did it become the success it is today.

Over and over, I see 5 reasons why corporations don’t see their digital projects delivering high business impact.

It’s usually because:

i) A lack of understanding that ‘digital’ is not just another channel.

ii) Vaguely formulated or unrealistic expectations.

iii) Not putting the customer at the centre of the initiative.

iv) Running the initiative as a standalone project.

v) Not investing time and effort to prepare the whole organisation for this new way of thinking.

The potential to catalyse growth is seen as the leading driver of digital innovation

Survey results: the most significant business outcome from digital innovation
Survey results: the most significant business outcome from digital innovation

The majority of executives see the impact of digital innovation in customer acquisition, increased revenues and enhanced brand image.

Technology has given consumers more choice, but it has also made them more demanding. For this reason the customer needs to be at the centre of digital innovation. However, organisations must not lose sight of the bottom line, and how digital technologies can drive the cost efficiencies.

>See also: 5 questions to ask during a digital transformation

As companies leverage digital technologies, there is an element of channels starting to cannibalise each other.

This is particularly apparent in retail and banking, where omni-channel customers already have a number of different routes to connect.

I have seen many executives struggling with this cannibalisation and seeing it very unfavourably. I strongly believe that companies have to reflect the way how consumers operate, which is “on the move”, “instant”, and expecting “full transparency”.

The more connection points a company can offer, the easier it is for the customer to connect. It is better to cannibalise your own channels before someone else does.

Integrating new technologies and an unsupportive corporate culture are the top challenges for diffusion of digital innovation

Survey results: the top 2 challenges companies face when integrating digital innovation
Survey results: the top 2 challenges companies face when integrating digital innovation

Companies that believe integrating new technologies into established (legacy) infrastructure is their key challenge in digital innovation have started from the wrong angle.

Digital technologies are not here to fix something that does not work. Digital technologies allow companies to fundamentally rethink what they go to market with, how they go to market and who to go with.

>See also: The digital transformation jungle survival guide

I frequently work with companies that have “down-selected” and prioritised digital initiatives, and now struggle to implement ten to fifteen digital priorities in the next twelve months.

It is definitely a challenging task to stay on top of the multitude of digital technologies such as AI, biometrics, quantum computing, robotics, but once again, companies need to start with the customer at the centre.

How can digital technologies benefit the customer journey, how can they help create wow-experiences? And we are not talking about a new app, or a new product feature.

With digital technologies, we can ask fundamental questions such as “How can we provide customer access to our services 24/7”, “How can we foresee what customers want need in three months’ time”, “What are the key events in a customer’s life and how can we be there”?

It is crucial to be bold when it comes to setting the roadmap for the future, because from a technological point-of-view, the answer to all questions is always “Yes, this can be done!”

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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...

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