End-to-End Digital Transformation

As I wrote in a prior post, Digital Transformation is more than just ‘putting lipstick on a pig’ it is about ‘fixing the whole darn pig’.

So how does one examine an organization and figure out what needs digital transformation?

Digitally Transforming a company means digitally enabling, automating, accelerating, integrating, while leveraging big-data and artificial intelligence (AI) to make a firm more efficient, smarter, better, and faster.

I suggest breaking out client organizations into four-layers. From the outside-in, the layers are as follows:

  1. Customer Layer: This is everything in an organization that is customer facing. From a digital perspective this tends to be websites, mobile, applications, tools, calculators, portals, etc. The customer layer is the layer that is most often focused on, and is typically handled by the marketing organization. Your pure digital agency tends to solely focus on the customer layer. This layer should be able to build amazing web properties that are easy to use, highly intuitive, and drive user adoption. BTW, this layer is the ‘lipstick’ that is referred to above. I recommend focusing on websites that are functional and integrated with other layers (i.e. ‘do something’) versus purely marketing sites.
  2. Employee & Channel Layer: This layer focuses on enabling internal employees and your channel & network partners. This layer often includes Intranet, Employee Applications & Tools, Decisioning & Reporting Systems, Field Sales Enabelement Solutions, and much more. This is the area that is undergoing massive digital transformation. Companies need employees to be smarter, faster, nimbler, and most importantly, they need to make every employee as good as their best employee. In terms of driving growth for our clients focusing on the Employee & Channel Layer is having the largest and fastest impact.
  3. Operations Layer: This layer focuses on the back-end processes and systems of an organization. Digitally Transforming the Operations Layer often means automating processes, creating real-time, straight-through processes, connecting legacy systems with each-other and with newer decisioning and Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems. In terms of driving rapid cost reductions, while accelerating an organizations ability to do business, this layer is having the largest and fastest impact.
  4. Dev Ops & Infrastructure Layer: This Layer focuses on data, how it is stored, secured, accessed, managed, and leveraged. Most Digital Transformation work that falls under this layer tends to be around hosting, transitioning to the cloud, connecting systems and creating singular sources of trusted data. This layer enables the scalable, fully integrated, connected, smart, AI driven organization.

To fully Digitally Transform an organization all four layers must be transformed and fully integrated in real-time. While few organizations ever need to go this far, those that do, are realizing tremendous financial benefits.

How does a firm get started in Digital Transformation?

I suggest you follow one simple rule: “Don’t try to eat the elephant in one bite; eat it one bite at a time”. You might just find that after a few bites you have realized the benefits you require and don’t need (for now) to continue. Secondly, I emphasize that every bite MUST drive real value for the organization, and quickly. I don’t subscribe to the ‘foundation building’ projects that add no value but supposedly set you up for future value…I believe that Digital Transformation can, and is being done, where value is continuously realized.

If you want to learn more, feel free to contact me at: LTepperman@k2digital.com