Digital transformation- It's real and it's happening

This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.

Digital transformation is real. Even though the top leaders of the company are convinced and see this transformation more as a threat and an opportunity for change. It is employees who are in two minds and see this whole digital transformation as a farce and nothing else.

Many employees feel they are paid to do a job not to change it. There has been enough history of surviving of so-called big initiatives in the past that failed big time and never saw the face of reality. Digital transformation may seem like another irrelevant hyped fad but the impact it's having on the market should never be neglected.

Successful digital transformation starts at the top of the company. It is the topmost layer of executives in a company who are responsible for strategizing and creating the future goals for a company. It is up to them to create a convincing vision for future and communicate it across the organization. Once the vision is shown and the plans are set, the people at middle and lower levels can work hard and put in their efforts to make this vision a reality.

Managers should redesign the processes, workers should find out different ways to get the work done and everyone can explore new ways to materialize the desired vision. A simple mandate is just not enough to tap the true potential of a digital revolution instead a revolution like this should be led to bring real change.

This digital vision is still not prevalent among the top guns of different companies and businesses. And it's alarming because Digital transformation is rapidly reshaping companies and industries. The top leaders need to understand digital revolution is in its initial stages and they need to adapt to the changes that are happening. If not they would become irrelevant with passage of time.

An inspiring digital vision is the founding stone for a successful digital transformation. Though leaders are waking up to the impact, very few among them have acted and made a strategy for a digital future. Being a business leader, to create a digital vision you need to focus on your business, not the technology. Technology removes obstacles and increases your capabilities. Focus on how you can enhance the experience of your customers, streamline your operations or transform your business models.

Your goal should be to be transformative. Your digital vision should be specific enough to give employees a clear direction at the same time giving them enough flexibility to innovate upon it. Have big dreams and ask your employees to make those dreams a reality for you. It is not a mundane task rather crafting a vision is indeed a journey that you should take as a leader.

You need to plant the seed at the top and then engage all people at different levels to make the vision alive. Once the vision is alive, nurture it and see it grow and materialize.

Where should you focus your digital vision? A digital vision takes one of these three perspectives:

  1. Rebuilding customer experience
  2. Rebuilding operations
  3. Rebuilding business models

The approach you take should reflect your capabilities as an organization, the need of your customers and the nature of competition in your industry.

Let's go through this three perspectives individually:

  • Rebuilding customer experience

Several organizations began their digital transformation by re-envisioning the way they interact with customers. They want to make themselves easier to work with and have a desire to be smarter in how they sell to their customers.

Some companies aim to transform their relationships with their customers trying to give them a holistic omni-channel experience.

Some companies aim to be smarter in serving their customers through better analytics.

Some companies incorporate digital tools that might help them learn from customer behavior.

and finally, there are some companies who are broadening their visions beyond bettering customer experiences to actually changing the lives of their customers.

  • Rebuilding operations

Organizations whose profits are closely related to the performance of their core operations often start with re-envisioning their operations.

Rebuilding operations would include making the process more efficient, transparent, visible and increasing the decision making speed to manage the problem of silos.

It would help in managing business real time and on a demand-driven basis.

Operational visions are useful for business that sell largely to other businesses.

Redefining operations by taking advantage of the increased amount of data, advanced analytics and modern technology to make the operations faster and smoother is what rebuilding operations is all about.

  • Rebuilding business models

When you combine the above two perspectives i.e. rebuilding customer experience and operations, you re-envision your business model. The new vision may elongate the current business model or may change it completely.

Some companies take a defensive approach to re-envision the models. These companies are often under threat and need to focus on their long-term survival. In this case, they go for a rapid change. They go for quick redesigning of their business models.

There are some companies who are fortunate enough not to face a crisis and they take a more offensive approach. They focus more on the opportunity that has the potential of becoming a new, digitally empowered business model.

At the end,

There is no single best way to express a vision for digital transformation. There is no particular formula, you need to sort it out on your own. To visualize and craft a vision, you need to see your strengths, your employees, and traits that can evolve over time.

You need to identify the benefits you want and how the end looks like. How will you engage your customers, employees, and investors are some questions you need to ask yourself.

Connect with me on LinkedIn