Nigel Adams is a thought leader in operational excellence and has led large, multi-award winning teams spread across many countries. He’s also the author of Match Fit For Transformation – Realising The Potential Of Everyday Heroes. In this guest post, Adams highlights the dangers for those putting off their own digital transformations…
There has been an enormous amount of research on digital transformation accompanied by some compelling statistics – 69 per cent of the money invested has been wasted, it’s the number one rated risk, it’s the number one issue keeping CEOs awake at night, 65 per cent of CEOs are feeling overwhelmed by digital, success rates below 30 per cent and many more. This is reason enough to avoid digital transformation at all costs.
Unfortunately that’s not an option. One of the more interesting white papers I’ve read recently offered a new perspective. In Accenture’s 2019 view on the post-digital world, the basic premise is that digital no longer offers the potential to drive competitive advantage, it has been relegated to the status of table stakes.
This should be a source of great concern for all those organisations still struggling to get their executive teams aligned or wrestling with legacy processes and technology or bemoaning the high price of digital talent. Whatever is holding you back, the degree of urgency has reached a new level.
There are a number of factors driving this perspective.
The Pace of Innovation
Some 94 per cent of executives surveyed stated that the pace of innovation has accelerated rapidly over the last three years, and significantly so for 45 per cent of respondents. With so much investment and so much effort focused in essentially the same direction, the assumption is there will be a point of convergence when organisations have the same technical capabilities. Digital is then just a ticket to the game.
Customer expectations are being shaped by the digital natives: Amazon, Uber, Netflix etc. Customers now expect the same experience from their bank, their utility provider, their health care providers, their government agencies and any other providers they interact with. If they don’t get that experience not only do they vote with their feet, but they air their grievances on social media for all to see.
Digital Natives are not only finding ever more innovative ways to enhance the customer experience, they are also finding new ways to monetise it. Their ability to interact with massive data lakes in real time using AI and complex predictive analytics is proving to be particularly lucrative. Organisations still struggling to get a single view of their customers or grappling with the intricacies of data quality and integrity are being left behind.
It’s not just the customer experience that is being shaped by the digital natives. The employee experience is also subject to the same pressure. Manual, repetitive processes with elongated lead times are not what employees with prior work experience at Google and Facebook. signed up for. Attracting and retaining talent in a legacy environment is becoming more and more challenging.
Needless to say, there is a productivity benefit. It’s not just about cutting costs. An employee’s ability to get far more done, with far less effort supported by a raft of digital technologies enables an organisation to scale rapidly without hiring an army of new recruits.
You Need To Care
The Accenture article gives the example that it took 12 years for the mobile phone to reach 50 million users and Pokémon GO just 17 days. It doesn’t matter which perspective you take, your operating environment will be digital very soon, if it isn’t already. Your customers expect it, your people expect it, your shareholders expect it. Prioritisation with urgency is the order of the day.
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