Making Digital Transformation Work--Focusing on Tangible Change.

Author:Nielsen-Marsh, Stuart
Position:DATABASE AND NETWORK INTELLIGENCE: RESEARCH
 
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Everyone is talking about digital transformation. And it seems as if they've been talking about it for a long time. It's true; it is a popular topic across industries and business of all sizes. Transformation is necessary in order for your business to remain relevant in a fastchanging landscape, stay competitive and retain your customers, while still being able to attract new ones. But when it comes to defining what it actually means, that's where you'll encounter the first hurdle. For some, digital transformation represents a very technically-orientated view of the world--using Office 365 to motivate your workforce, or moving servers off-premise and into the cloud. For others it is defined as a cultural transformation impacting the people within your organisation.

While emergent technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, bots, big data and Internet of Things (IoT), are disrupting all aspects of business and industry operations, embracing digital transformation requires a holistic approach to change that brings together all the elements and helps you re-engineer your business.

It's all about changes to technology, commercial and business strategies, the customer engagement approach, and perhaps most importantly cultural change. Importantly, digital transformation has to be driven from the top down. It is a leadership task that incorporates several critical components, including: creating a culture of digital transformation; accepting the idea of collaboration not competition; embracing fear (by providing strong leadership and having the right people); demonstrating value (this is as much about 'show' as it is 'tell'); respecting your ecosystem; and living agile.

Forget about the jargon; focus on the task

Digital transformation isn't a rebranding or marketing exercise (although that may be one component of any change); it's about re-engineering and rebuilding your business in the era of cloud, mobile, analytics and AI, all for the purpose of better interacting with your customers, who are themselves changing.

It isn't about moving to the cloud or embracing different technologies. Rather it is about enabling your business and your customers to be a part of the paradigm shift and benefit from the changing industry around them. Of course technology is behind this, supporting it, but it is not the sole focus of transformation initiatives.

You have to get the right culture and change programme in place to unlock the...

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