Digitization is a global trend that has the potential to drive essential shifts in how firms and enterprises operate, moreover how value is delivered to customers. In today’s world, digitalization is integrated into most aspects of society, including business operations, governmental activities, healthcare, media, science, and education. However, many businesses have significant opportunities to digitize in line with their central purpose that are yet to be realized. In seizing the opportunity to digitize strategically, businesses also can significantly evolve the go to business model.
For established firms mastering digitalization is often about implementing a capability for future technology applications that enable an increasingly streamlined enterprise with a redoubled focus on quality of customer experience. For early stage ventures the business model shift can be made from day 1 removing the barriers of legacy systems.
Why digitize to stay ahead of the curve?
Before delving into the 7 key steps businesses can leverage to digitize themselves, let’s quickly explore how strategic digitisation can help firms thrive within the marketplace.
Organizations that digitize strategically typically experience a high correlation between customer satisfaction and digitization success. Given customer experience is the lifeblood of business, it’s crucial to understand the subtle nature of customer experience and satisfaction to appreciate the ‘memorable human moments and the areas that can be digitized’ as part of driving winning strategies for marketplace success.
ENHANCED ORGANISATIONAL EFFECTIVENESS
Enhanced effectiveness is a significant driver for digitization. Businesses are reducing manual interventions. Consequently, effective technology operations become a crucial organizational foundation. When manual processes are replaced electronically, the technology platform has the opportunity to be repositioned in line with evolving marketplace requirements.
Digitization executed correctly has the customer absolutely at the centre of both what is digitized and how digitization occurs. Customer experience drives a direct correlation with advocacy and value-based margins driving profitable business growth. Naturally the correlation combines with enhanced motivation of employees within the organization centered on purpose, and ultimately the capacity to redefine the operational model for profitable growth.
7 key steps to ensure your business stays ahead of the digitization curve
Let’s understand the 7 steps which can help businesses accelerate their digitization efforts.
BE CLEAR ON THE BUSINESS YOU ARE IN
Knowing the purpose of your business and ensuring the c-suite remain aligned is essential to ensure the digitization sits well with the core capabilities of the firm. Creating value in an aligned way, remaining coherent in the marketplace and enables standout is iterative. Success requires continued monitoring to ensure long-term sustainability and marketplace endurance.
LEAD THE FOCUS ON CUSTOMER VALUE AND EXPERIENCE
Digitization typically refers to the re-coding of most elements of the customer experience (relationship management, service delivery, and engagement). Invest in organizational capability enabling clarity target value pools and future proof digitization models at an early stage.
IDENTIFY YOUR DIGITAL GAP
There are a variety of core areas to focus on within digitization, from customer experience, service line alignment and legacy estate simplification through to customer, employee interfaces and data management capability. Detailed assessments are available to support in accelerating through the gap assessment. Asking the right questions remains essential before segmenting activity in line with business plan and locking down commitments.
As part of identifying the digital gap, ensure you devote sufficient time and expertise in understanding back-office systems. Once you understand the legacy estate, take the opportunity to clean up and simplify technology operations!
CREATE A CLEAR PLAN ALIGNED TO A COMMITTED TRAJECTORY AGREED YOUR LEADERSHIP TEAM
How you create the plan is as important as what is included within the plan. Development of a coherent and realistic yet audacious plan is an art, requiring careful interjection of conversations and an assessment of team chemistry together with the capability of the leadership team to be effective through the digital transition.
MAKING YOUR DATA DIGITAL
Managing your digital data saves time and cost. All critical business data is available in real-time on a mobile device, you and your employees access it any time from virtually everywhere. Build for the next generation operational model.
Effectively held data also ensures regulatory compliance standards are met and centralized management of data security. Digitally stored documents optimize your expenses. Less paper, less office space, and less resources to maintain physical document management.
THINK “PLATFORM” AND INVEST TIME – PREPARE THE IT INFRASTRUCTURE
Without a proper IT infrastructure in place, a firm is likely to face challenges and uncertainty in digitizing. It is crucial to ensure that the enterprise has a robust technological foundation and takes time to prepare pivotal IT infrastructure.
Accelerating technologies include network connectivity information security features, and infrastructure bandwidth – invest at an early stage in core infrastructure to ensure capability uplift provides an effective digitisation foundation.
Choosing, maintaining, and introducing the right software, processes and systems to your business can have a transformative effect on your ability to be productive, efficient and effective at work.
UPSKILL YOUR WORKFORCE
Your people are key to digitizing effectively. For digitalization to be routine in the way of working there will be a significant deepening in skills ranging from collaboration to enterprise leadership, technology expertise of course at the base. To leverage enterprise digital transformation effectively; the workforce also needs to clearly understand digital trends like data science, machine learning, distinct from AI. Upskilling the workforce also creates motivation within the firm and a recognition of investment in the core assets of the business.
Way Forward: Essential Guidance for CXOs
If you follow the seven key steps outlined here this will ensure that you are able to harness the benefits of digitization including a pivotal uplift in customer experience, Enhanced organizational effectiveness and as a result enhanced performance! Each firm’s journey of digitization is unique and there are always organizational barriers to work though for the digitization to become part for the organizational DNA, as such digitisation experts are often called in.
Here are some additional tips to ensure as smooth a digitization path as possible:
- Be prepared to harness diversity of views in a positive way, particularly embrace views within the leadership team as you embark on the digitization journey
- Be prepared to manage a spectrum of expectations for measuring ROI, it’s an art to deliver to a science. Whilst most are aware, only the industry’s leaders truly execute this view.
- How you collaborate internally and externally is integral to digital transformation – ensure you have sufficient investment in collaboration, stay religious to the routines that underpin the digital journey en route!
- Understanding what business challenges are being solved.to ensure anxiety over new technology is addressed, acute leadership focus on the external view is required at pivotal moments.
Remember in today’s world, CEOs and C-Suite Executives are necessitated to invest in a digitization strategy, to make a move to adopt the technology. Having invested in the digitization strategy, ensuing its successful implementation is crucial and requires careful attention of the c-suite to deliver the results for customers, clients, colleagues, and shareholders.
About the author
Dax is a lead global authority on entrepreneurial c-suite leadership. CEO, of Global Transform, Dax is a renowned Woman in Technology, accomplished keynote speaker and societal voice. Listed within the Global CIO 100, Cranfield School of Management 100 Women to Watch, CREA Global Awards Winner for Entrepreneurship, named Top 100 Most Influential Women in Leadership, March8 Magazine, and Top 10 Most Influential Business Leaders, CXO Outlook Magazine.
Dax has significant expertise in leading global COO and CIO functions, a board advisor and member of the Forbes Technology Council. As a Chartered Banker and Associate of the London Institute of Banking and Finance, Dax also holds an economics degree from Cambridge and MBA, Alumna of Cranfield Business School and Harvard Business School, Dax is recognized for her philanthropic activities, as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. Author Amazon Best Seller (US): The Entrepreneurial Quotient.