The two words – Digital Transformation – are perhaps the most used word today, in almost any kind of business. A simple search of the words “digital transformation” yielded 889 million search results on google. Top Management, executives, managers and the whole organization is trying to ensure digital transformation for the company. I myself have been providing digital consultancy to clients for over 20 years and yet I have always struggled and wondered as to what do these terms really indicate.
In trying to make sense of this all, I discovered that this term is best understood if broken down into two separate words – Digital and Transformation. A deep understanding of these two words could perhaps revel a simpler definition of what digital transformation is all about.
A search for the definition of “transformation” shows up as a an act, process, or instance of transforming or being transformed . So why do organizations need to transform? Are they not happy with where they are? In fact, many organizations who feel that their process, products and services have been delivering exceptional company performance, as shown in the financial results, may wonder why they need to transform. Nothing could be further from the truth than this state of mind.
The fact is that even before the pandemic, new and disruptive technologies have been entering the workplace which have enabled new business to innovate and thrive in the digital world.
The iPod bought the end of the Sony Walkman. The smart phone has made camera film a collector’s item. Ride sharing, food ordering apps have completely revolutionized the way we act and function today. The new changes have delt a death blow to many organizations who were in a mind frame of not thinking about transformation. 2 out of 3 companies may not be in existence in the next five years, if they have not geared up to the modern day challenge.
However, before we get away too far, lets remember that transformation has a purpose and that purpose is to provide exceptional value to their customer and here the term customer can include their buyers, stakeholder, vendors, employees and whosoever is in any way effected by the business of the organization. Also, let us not take the term transformation in its literal sense because to transform means to change from one state to another. So, a change has an end but in today’s evolving world we must be in a state of continuous transformation. The top management including its C suit executives, has to have a clear strategy for continuous change with the goal of delivering exceptional value to its customers in an effort to staying ahead of its competition. Transformation is no longer optional.
Now let’s move to the second term in this conundrum and that is the word Digital. As soon as we hear the word Digital, we immediately relate this to words like the Internet, 5g, Blockchain, NFT, Big Data, Machine learning, AI, Automation, Computing, Data science and similar related words. There is no doubt that in the last 20-25 years we have seen so many new digital technologies been unleashed on to us and those who have mastered these new technologies have created newly successful companies which have left the old timers behind in their stride. These new technologies have made it possible to innovate very sophisticated products in much smaller time frames than before. The future of the Meta verse is not too far behind where new technologies such as virtual collaboration tools may mean the end of the ride sharing companies.
Now having placed the two words on their own, we are perhaps in a situation where we can perhaps come up with a joint definition for the word’s Digital transformation. I guess then it would be fair to say that Digital transformation is an impetus for the creation of exceptional customer value by creating a significant and continuous change that leverages today’s modern technology, process, data and culture to create this value.
Any organization that wants to stay relevant, needs to understand and use modern digital technologies to innovate and bring about significant change to their current way of doing business and internal process so that this creates a more than exceptional value to the customers. This change needs to happen and can happen only when there is a complete change in the culture of the organization and a belief of “we have always done it this way’ needs to give way to mindset of continuous innovation in every process, using technology, with the goal of delivering exceptional value to customers.