What does it mean to transform a business digitally?

by Oct 1, 2019Digital Strategy, Digital Workplace0 comments

Digital transformation is what happens to companies as they implement new and innovative methods of doing business based on technological advances. The implemented changes fundamentally affect the status quo through digital tools. More often, these digital tools involve introducing not only new technologies but also potential behavioural changes to replace or improve existing systems and processes. A digital transformation is not a “solution” or “product” that you can buy but affects everything that comes into contact with your workforce through IT in their respective industries.

Do you feel the absence (or malfunction) of the technology rather than its benefits? 

Our modern world is digital, and we expect nothing more than complete efficiency from technology. Smartphones have all the data you need and more for the highest productivity 24 hours a day. You have in the palm of your hand word-processing tools, calendars, smart home notifications, public transportation schedules, grocery delivery and weather reports. 

We usually become aware of technology only when it is suddenly no longer present or functioning. An example of this lack of presence, you are at a toll booth where you must pay cash because there are no digital means of payment. Another example is when the technology for conference calls fails, again. These are just a few reasons why companies need to invest in technologies that meet both customers, consumers and employee demands. 

Clouds, mobile apps, and various as-a-service offerings require new types of storage, analytics, automation, and management. One innovation leads to the next: new technologies lead to process improvements and in turn, to better products and services. And then customers always demand further enhancements because they are already too used to individual experiences in their everyday lives

You can imagine this as follows:

  • Products such as paper records in filing cabinets are now just bits and bytes in cloud containers. Merely the idea of a filing cabinet today abstract, software-defined object. Technology made obsolete the physical filing cabinet. I guess a good question is “why do we still use the term file”?
  • Guest rooms have replaced services such as hotel stays and rental cars, and drivers are ordered today with their smartphones.
  • Processes such as waterfall workflows have evolved into DevOps practices with iterative teams.

Integration of the digital transformation

The positive (and negative) of digital transformation is that there is no one patent solution. Changing how we work with technology depends mostly on how we are currently dealing with technology.

Where do you stand personally? Do you still rely on traditional monolithic software stacks? Do your developers already work with public cloud environments, but are they struggling with porting apps in their own company? Are your business units able to make their own technology decisions instead of having to wait for applications to pass the IT approval process? Is your organization open to BYOA (bring your own apps or shadow IT)? Wherever you are currently, that’s exactly where your starting point is.

Many consulting practices regard your location in digital transformation as a maturity score. At Hella Creative, we do not view it as maturity; rather, we see it as a point in a journey. This journey does not necessarily have a start and an end just varying levels of complexity.

Since not everyone starts at the same point, there are no universally applicable frameworks, playbooks or roadmaps for the digital transformation. Your organization may need to rethink its current software, development methodologies, business processes and employee-relevant responsibilities (governance). Or, if your architecture already forms a good foundation, maybe add new features.

Digital transformation or its implementation is not a quick action but a long-term strategy. It must integrate long-term behavioural, cultural and technological changes to ensure continued organizational and business success. Digital transformation does not have to mean that your business processes are interrupted or revolutionized. Digital transformation must be organic and gradual. After all, iterative progress is progress. Hella Creative takes an Agile approach to transformation consulting and actioning your digital roadmap. The goal must be to learn to react flexibly to changes before the market makes such demands. The market inevitably will make those demands. Whether you operate a law firm or print newspapers, there is no business that is safe from disruption.