Technology is continuing to evolve, allowing organisations to embrace new business models, reach customers in fresh ways, and even create entirely new industries. Advances in areas such as cloud, social media, mobile and geo-spatial technologies, the Internet of Things, big data, and analytics are just some of the enablers of this change. Just as Amazon redefined the way people buy and read books, and Apple reinvented the way people shop for and listen to music, organisations can look to digital technology to transform the nature of their interaction with customers.
Customer expectations have shifted, and are shaped by the always-available, on-demand and simple-to-use services that have now become common place in our daily lives. Consumers across many markets are faced with more flexibility and choice than ever before. To survive and succeed in this environment, organisations must put the needs and desires of the customer at the centre of their product design, using technology to offer innovative solutions that:
- reach customers through multiple different channels
- offer flexibility on how and when products can be accessed
- where appropriate, use presence and location to help customers make informed decisions on what to buy or consume
- provide the requisite controls and security to give consumers confidence.
Through this digital disruption, the demarcation between IT and the business is disappearing. While digital transformation is about competitive advantage, execution of a digital strategy is critically dependent on delivery of reliable, flexible and simple IT services that can adapt rapidly to meet the changing needs of users. When striving to achieve business transformation through digital, there are a number of key considerations that organisations must address.
- Understand the customer. User stories defining the needs and expectations of the customer and a clear understanding of the value stream for the organisation’s products should be at the centre of any digital strategy.
- Develop a business-aligned digital strategy. Organisations must establish digital advocates and leadership among the executive team to drive digital strategy which should be a core component of the overall business strategy.
- Embed a culture that embraces change. The journey towards digital transformation will not simply depend on leadership from the executive team; it requires a shift in culture throughout the organisation. To capitalise on the opportunities available through digital transformation, organisations must adopt a new attitude to risk and empower staff to embrace change through agile ways of working.
- Establish an IT ecosystem. Large-scale, single vendor IT sourcing contracts often do not provide the level of flexibility required in the digital world. Similarly, it is not efficient or effective for organisations to build and manage IT systems internally to meet all business needs when there are low-cost, consumption-based services available that will achieve the same outcomes. To provide the most cost-effective and responsive service possible, organisations should establish an ecosystem with a combination of consumption-based, externally provided cloud services, private supplier managed services, and custom-developed niche services.
- Invest in strong foundations. On the back of a period of sustained constraints on IT budget following the financial crisis, many organisations find themselves with legacy infrastructure and systems that have lacked investment. Leading digital capabilities are dependent on reliable, Internet-class infrastructure and systems being in place. Organisations may need to invest in developing and making the transition to a platform-based architecture with appropriate levels of resilience and ability to scale to meet increased demands.
- Define a data structure. Digitisation requires a data structure that supports flexible and open access. But in this environment, it is critical that data privacy requirements are clearly defined and that appropriate controls are in place to protect sensitive information. The ability to deliver access to the right data at the right time, and to use analytics to make better informed decisions, are at the heart of creating opportunities for the business to reach new customers and open new markets.
Mason Advisory can help your organisation no matter where it is on its digital transformation journey.