Being a CEO of a startup is the most exhilarating yet challenging of roles and everyday brings new learning… here are some of the hats you’ll have to wear when you are in that chair
The increasing diffusion of digital technologies is changing our everyday lives; businesses across industries are experiencing quick-changing demands. Technological megatrends today have created conditions ripe enough for a revolution. Welcome to Industrial Revolution 4.0!
THE ADVENT OF THE DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION
Digital Transformation or DT will look different for every company; it can be hard to pinpoint a definition that applies to all. However, in general terms, DT could be defined as the integration of digital technology into all areas of a business. It improves processes and productivity, delivers better customer and employee experiences, manages business risk, and controls costs. This results in fundamental changes – how businesses operate and how they provide value to customers. However, it’s a cultural change as well that requires organizations to continually challenge the status quo. This would often mean drifting away from traditional business processes that companies were built upon in favor of relatively new practices and the new normal of today’s world.
Improving customer experience has become a significant goal in the present times and thus a crucial part of digital transformation. This digital disruption impels companies to change; it is all about digital “FOMO” (Fear Of Missing Out).
TO DIGITALIZE OR NOT TO DIGITALIZE
There are several reasons a business may take on Digital Transformation. By far, the most likely reason is – to go digital has now become synonymous with survival. Therefore, every company, whether homegrown or corporate, needs to accelerate and innovate effectively and strategically, thereby gearing you up to meet the changing market requirements and business needs.
The greatest challenge for digital transformation is identifying and harnessing continuously evolving, cutting-edge technologies to unlock new revenues, business models, and markets. In the wake of the still ongoing pandemic, an organization’s ability to quickly adapt to market pressures, supply chain disruptions, and rapidly changing customer expectations has become critical. This relates to seamless customer experience which is the most important discriminating factor for how a business will perform. There are an immensely popular wide range of technologies such as SaaS, Mobile, Robotics, IoT (Internet of things), Virtual Reality (VR), increasing in number and prevalence, shaping and defining the Digital Transformation of companies. And businesses must embrace these technologies and understand that they are the source pushing multiple advantages. It is a strong belief that Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) will be the key technologies that will propel organizations through Digital Transformation. By automating tasks, companies are better able to free human capital to focus on more interesting aspects of businesses. Implementing smarter and more compatible business processes with AI will allow humans to focus on more important conceptual, challenging and creative aspects. In the work environment, AI will allow us to work more efficiently, reduce human errors, and automate processes. With assisted intelligence in place, such as Chatbots and Natural Language Processing (NLP) tools, one can simulate human conversation, answer questions or personalize learning experiences.
It is human intelligence that has set the ball in motion for the entire process, and thus, they continue to be indispensable in the digitalized world. One would not deny that change affects people dramatically. It’s our natural instinct to want things to stay as they are. The way we respond and relate to change varies from person to person, so it can be hard to get an objective answer from a subject about how they feel about a changing and significantly more digital environment. Many people would rather not admit openly when they are uncomfortable with new technology. As inhabitants of an ever-evolving world, we do not want to be perceived as ‘backward’ or ‘passive’. Instead, we want to be seen as progressive, innovative, and capable.
THE NEW DIGITAL NORMAL
The industrial revolution 4.0 is complex for companies – big or small. There are primarily four types of digital transformations –
- Process transformation
- Business model transformation
- Domain transformation
- Cultural transformation
This multi-dimensional nature of digital transformation, therefore, must involve various teams in an organization to collaborate and adopt the change successfully, leaving more value on the table. Although IT will play an essential role in driving the digital transformation strategy; it is the responsibility of everyone to adapt and implement the massive changes that come along with digital transformation. For this reason, digital transformation is interpreted more as a people issue.
While the world is talking about this technological shift, an important aspect is the benefits of a successful digital transformation strategy. Well!! The key benefits could be improved customer engagement, improved digital traffic, increased agility, improved customer experience, better employee engagement, better data insights, to name only a few.
YOUR FRIEND IN THE DIGITAL AGE
The subject and expertise of Digital Transformation is critical and is basically leadership-driven. Technology and Data are not the core requirements alone. If we want to take a reasonable leap, then it has to be people-centric first. The technological shift worked for many organizations because their leaders went back to basics and focused on changing the mindset of its valuable people as well as the organizational culture and processes before they decided what digital tools could be adopted. What the members envision is to be a part of the organization’s future to drive the technology, not the other way around.
Just implementing the technology isn’t enough. The newly adopted technology has to tightly hold hands with the Key Performance Indicators, customer insights in tandem with the effectiveness of the business processes. Only then can we say that we have successfully transformed to the new normal.
“The future is closer than you think. You can pay attention now or watch the transformation happen right in front of your eyes”. -Nicky Verd (Africa’s Digital Transformation Maverick)