Digital transformation through alignment

Innovate! Reinvent! Transform!

You’ve heard this new rally cry for every business of every size, everywhere. The business press loves to tout the new “unicorns;” aka, unprofitable start-up companies with billion dollar valuations using crazy amounts of venture capital.

This is forcing rock solid “legacy” businesses to digitally reinvent before they get disrupted and marginalized by investors, partners, and customers.

While most leadership teams have gotten the message, few have figured out how to do it. Some notable and successful examples are Adobe, Cisco, IBM, Deloitte, and GE. Granted all 5 have strong digital chops, they also made seismic shifts in business models, customer relations, and operational excellence. More.

These companies were early to embrace the digital-internet-mobile-software revolution and engaged on 3 fronts:

1) Consumer experiences and interactions

2) Technology and data knowledge, integration, and management

3) Business models that focused on customer marketing fundamentals like product, price, promotion and distribution

Critical to successful digital innovation is a need to coordinate:

> How can you get the leadership and innovation teams across the entire enterprise to know the same things about how the business currently creates value and makes money.

> How can everyone share knowledge using the same vocabulary and concepts to establish consistent understanding of strategy, goals, and objectives.

Unlike typical innovation programs that focus on productivity and new products/services, digital transformation requires a solid understanding of the technology itself, how it operates and how it integrates.

Part and parcel with this is how the data flows, how it is structured and how to maintain quality. In today’s data rich environment, customer information available from hundreds of sources is staggering in volume, quality and diversity.

Companies like Uber and Airbnb have rich profiles of both the customer and their suppliers to facilitate the proper match for maximum value and satisfaction; most legacy companies do not.

Twenty years ago, it was ERP and CRM, maybe some DAM and e-commerce transaction systems. Companies favored either a branding and a tiered distribution system while others established direct relationships.

These lines have merged: every company needs a branded relationship with every prospect and customer.

For example, Unilever, one of the largest FMCGs companies in the world bought Dollar Shave Club for $1 billion in order to learn DTC practices and globally grow a proven disruptors against two huge entrenched companies (Gillette/P&G and Schick/Edgewell).

For a company to succeed at digital transformation, it must truly understand its business requirements first. Only from this platform is it possible to understand and inform the technology requirements. With these technology requirements it is possible to make systems operational. With operational success come consumer attraction, sales demand and ROI.

Read more in the series:

Digital Transformation and Business Bones

That Doggone Digital Transformation

Why Abstraction leads Strategy for Digital Transformation

Contact me to continue the conversation.

Larry W. Smith

Twitter: @lwsmith10011