Analysts continue to compile reports about it, competitive enterprises strive for it, and customers have come to expect it. Everyone is buzzing about digital, and it isn’t going to stop anytime soon. Pushing forward with digital initiatives seems like a crucial investment to get ahead of, or even keep up with, competitors.
But before any enterprise can identify their roadmap for digital transformation, it is crucial to define what the ideal end-state looks like. What does it mean to be a “digital enterprise?”
Digital enterprises get ahead because they understand their customers, pulling insights from every point of interaction, and increasingly, the world of connected devices opened up by the Internet of Things.
The days of three year product cycles are gone - digital customers' preferences change quickly, but a digital enterprise is never limited by the choices made yesterday. Digital enterprises stay ahead because they are agile, and can take advantage of new opportunities to drive value for their customers or constituents.
An enterprise is not “digital” because it has certain devices, applications, or platforms. Platforms and tools don’t jump out of the box and transform outcomes. Technology is not the destination - it is the vehicle that can get you somewhere. You still need a vision of where you’re going, and a map to guide you.
The prospect of transforming an enterprise is daunting, and frankly cannot be accomplished in one go. Transformations need to take place over a long period of time. But there is a difference between having a vision and seeing results as you go after it, one step at a time, and making one-off, isolated investments with no end vision in mind. Companies that apply Band-Aid digital without a plan end up with silos and wasted investment.
If you know exactly what your customers will want in one, five, and ten years, and can redesign your business from the ground up to deliver that better than your competitors through the channels of the day, congratulations, you don’t need digital transformation. You are set. But for the enterprises without a psychic at the helm, digital transformation is the only safeguard against major industry shifts and changing customer expectations. Digital doesn’t mean predicting the future. It means being ready, no matter what it holds.
That onboarding process that loses customers you spent thousands to engage? That hole that you’re throwing money into to support legacy systems? That data that you say you’ll figure out how to use later? Those are problems you are going to want to address, sooner rather than later. Technology can solve these problems, but the investment is worth so much more if you treat your existing challenges as the starting point of your digital transformation.
And as for the dreamers who already had transformation on the mind – we like the way you think. We hope to have the opportunity to work with you soon.