There’s a lot of talk about the need for Digital Transformation across many industries – from small business right up to government. Unfortunately there’s not a lot of clarity on what digital transformation actually entails so there is still plenty of confusion as to what it means.

Over the next two blogs we’ll explore the topic of digital transformation, providing some examples of where it is done well and  where it is done not so well. 

So, what is digital transformation?

Many businesses equate digital transformation with the concept of “going paperless” and aim for a point where an online form is used for data capture.

But that’s as far as they go. The data is often sent through to a fulfilment team in an electronic format before being manually entered in. In extreme cases, the web form is actually printed out and the data manually entered into a system. Digital, yes. Transformative, no.  

Digital transformation is not just about implementing technology.

Digital transformation is the transformation of business and organisational activities, processes, competencies and models to fully leverage the changes and opportunities of a mix of emerging technologies in a strategic and prioritised way in order to deliver benefit to an organisation. It means doing things differently in an increasingly connected world — using new mindsets, skillsets, technologies and data to benefit people, society and the economy (adapted from I-Scoop and NZ Government).

This means is that just removing paper from the process isn’t going far enough.

Sounds great, but how important is it?

The implementation of digital technology can alter the balance of power between customers and companies. While customers gain the power of information and choice, digital technology dramatically will improve the efficiencies and therefore the economies of business.

Put simply Digital innovators rewrite the rules of business by making it easy to do business and be in business. Recent surveys show that 87% of companies believe that digital transformation is a competitive advantage.

However, 85% of companies also feel that they have a limited time to react before they fall behind their competitors (there’s an interesting conversation to explore in this stat which we’ll look at in a future blog. 

And the most interesting thing is that it doesn’t result in  job losses – A 2018 survey found that companies aren’t loosing as many jobs as expected. in fact, 37 percent of companies said digital transformation helped them create new jobs, and another 30 percent said it had no change at all. 

So how important is it? If you want to be around in the next 10 years, you’re digital strategy will give you a better chance of being there. 

Is digital transformation just the realm of tech startups and big businesses?

Just as digital transformation is not just about technology it is also not just about companies in technological industries or the tech startup scene. This is an often made mistake that can be partially explained because “usual suspects” indeed are “disruptively” using digital technologies to alter existing models and markets and get a lot of attention as a result.

Uber is one example of a startup that used digital technologies to disrupt an incumbent market, but there are many examples out there – from the disrupted to the disrupter. 

However, it’s a mistake to just look at all these tech companies out there that we keep showing as examples of digital transformation. While some have indeed been ‘disruptive’ in the sense of forcing bigger players to adapt or die it’s easy to overestimate them, certainly when comparing with the organizations that have been successful at digital transformation in ‘less sexy’ but sometimes far more challenging and interesting areas.

The reality is that digital transformation leaders can be found in virtually all industries, like being able to renew your passport online

Digital transformation done wrong

Here’s a recent example of where we saw a company go digital, but without the transformation.

Are you on the right track?

Why not book a free conversation with us today. We can sit down and explore your business to understand what you’re going to need to do to use technology to transform your business. 

That’s all for this week

Next week we cover off why it’s important that your systems talk to each other, and explore why it wasn’t Netflix that killed blockbuster

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