Transformation of entities, businesses, processes and the means of communication into fully automated, digital and interconnected environment.
Think about the businesses, processes, employees engagements and customers relationship a couple of decades ago. Business communication, record and data management was mostly paper based or by telephones, mails and memos. Processes and operations were mostly based on human effort or heavy machinery. Customer engagements were through direct calls, visits, on shop selling or direct paper feedback in complaint boxes/testimonial books.
Then there came a tremendous advancement in IT and Networking Communication in late 20’s, and then just after that came the emergence of digital and smart devices, innovative computation techniques and advancement in variety of software and application development. These changes helped the transformation of paper and traditional work processes to a fully computer based, automated and smartly connected digital mediums. From here on came the variety of terminologies after digits and digital, i.e. digitization, digitalisation and digital transformation. Wikipedia defines “Digital Transformation” as:
“Digitization is the process of converting information from a physical format into a digital one. When this process is leveraged to improve business processes, it is called digitalisation. The results of this process are called digital transformation.”
Pillars of Digital Transformation
In order to understand the digital transformation process, we will discuss three (03) organisational pillars briefly which constituent the building blocks of a business. Executives and business leaders have to look forward to these key areas of their enterprises if they are looking to transform digitally.
a) Transforming Customer Experience
b) Transforming Operational Process
c) Transforming Business Model
Each pillars have three elements that makes the building blocks of digital transformation.
Elements of Digital Transformation
Recent studies Opinion & Analysis by George Westerman, Didier Bonnet, and Andrew McAfee revealed that currently some companies have transformed few of these elements digitally, few are still in the middle of it, some haven’t started yet and some are just planing to transform. But there are not too many examples of businesses who have 100% transformed digitally.
a ) Transforming Customer Experience
The three building blocks with which companies are transforming customer experience are, customer understanding, top-line growth and customer touch points.
1. Customer Understanding
Companies are using digital media to understand the customer behaviors, demographics and their buying patterns. They use google and social media analytics to understand customer interests, likes, dislikes, their problems and issues to solve and to develop their customized offerings. They are using different social media platform to brainstorm the customers. They are making different groups, communities to interact and understand the consumer behaviors that helps to re-postion and re-price their offering.
2. Top Line Growth
Apart from social and digital media, companies are using customized software like CRM, to enhance the customer relationship and to manage key accounts. They are using customer purchasing data to make more personalized offering to their loyal customers. Some companies are using concept stores to enhance customer experience. They are developing digital plugins to simplify the buying process, also integrating customers purchasing date to provide customized offers and to provide better customer services.
3. Customer Touch Points
Now companies are using digital mediums to understand and enhance customer touch points. Many are linking apps to their personal profiles to provide SMS, social media and instant messaging options to understand their preferences and feedback. For example a bank is using twitter account to handle customer complaints and also providing the the digital platforms to solve their problems quickly avoiding physical visits. From their feedback they can analyse the emotional patterns of the clients very well to tailor their offers and services.
b) Transforming the Operational Process
Companies are transforming the operational process through process digitization, worker enablement and performance management, as they are aware of the significance of digitization on operations.
1. Process Digitization
Companies are installing, automated plants, security and safety systems; decreasing the human factor in their processes. For example, New State (http://newstate.io/) aiming to transform the entities and organisations digitally through their software and IT support services. Is also using digital platforms like Atlassian Trello (https://trello.com) to manage the projects, Airtable (https://airtable.com/) to organize the internal management and HR processes. Airtable is also helping them to control R&D and marketing planning process by enhancing the focus on innovation and ideas. They are using WaveApp (https://next.waveapps.com) for small scale accounts and finance management.
2. Worker Enablement
Now companies are using digital platforms to empower employee engagement process in decision making. Companies are also giving options to their employees to work from home if it suites them, its no longer their job requirement to stick to a office chairs. For example, New State is providing their game developers, digital marketers and graphics designers this facility. New State uses Slack (https://app.slack.com) for internal communication and remote stand-ups. They are using Behance (https://www.behance.net/newstateofficial) to showcase their creative side. Employees are now in a better position to provide their feedback by vertical and parallel communication through these platforms to enhance the decision making process.
3. Performance Management
Due to transactional process, and digital platform usage in different organisational processes. The management can better and quickly control the performance on the basis of real-time data rather than decisions made on assumptions. Their digital transformation actually enhanced the strategy and decision making process from a few top managers, to almost all stakeholders, i.e. from 16 team leads to 300 employees.
C) Transforming the Business Model
Apart from modifying the operational process, the companies are focusing on digital modification to their businesses. They are not only considering how functions work but also concerning how functions interact with one another, the creation of new digital models and global digitization. We will look into each of the these pillars one by one.
1. Digital Modification of Business
Managers and policy makers now realize that if they want to stay relevant in current business environment, they need to transform the way they conduct business. For example, we all very well know that grocery stores are using online platforms to reach the masses to present their offerings. Souq (https://uae.souq.com) now Amazon (https://www.amazon.ae) is a well know example of a modified trading business. New State (see http://newstate.io/ for their service offerings) is a software development company building online and e-commerce web and business applications to help companies reach their target audience globally.
2. New Digital Business
Careem (https://drive.careem.com) and Uber (https://www.uber.com) are the examples of new digital businesses providing earning opportunities to individuals and also making ease in traveling for passengers, adding value to public transportation system. Now, companies are introducing digital products that are complementing the traditional products. For example, some gyms have started using timers and GPS systems for tracking the workout process of individuals, helping them to control their routine and workout activities.
3. Digital Globalization
Alibaba (https://alibaba.com) is not only providing a platform to manufacturers and exporters to find their buyers but also has integrated payment method to make ease in the buying process via “Alipay”, a digital platform to perform their selling functions not only locally but also globally. Companies are using digital communication systems and digitally modified techniques to carry out their operational, HR, buying/selling, tech development, customer support and even manufacturing process globally, with addition of sticking to their key functional areas locally. We have example of MTBC (https://mtbc.com/), a healthcare IT company that provides electronic health record software and technology based medical billing in US and across the globe operates from Pakistan.
Role of software development companies in digital transformation
Thousands of software development companies are providing their remote services, IT products and services to help entities and businesses to transform their operations digitally. Companies like Netsol (https://netsoltech.com), IndiaNIC (https://www.indianic.com) and Fingent (https://www.fingent.com/) are well known globally. For example New State (http://newstate.io/) strives to make the world eco-friendly, energy efficient and prosperous through sustainable solutions using digitization as a vessel to meet the ends. It is providing e-commerce, artificial intelligence, internet of things (IOT), blockchain, artificial intelligence (IA), enterprise resource planners (ERP), customers relationship management (CRM), big data, cloud computing and digital media platform products/service.
It depends solely upon the leadership’s decisions that would eventually decide which part of the company needs to be transformed digitally. Priorities are important, and no company we have gone through is transforming all nine areas all at once. They have either set their focus on the customer relationship management, process digitization or modification of the business model. But the best-managed firms are constantly identifying new ways to redefine the way they work in this new digital era.
Digital Marker I Entrepreneur I ICT Project Handler I Sales/Supply Chain Management I Socio-Political Activist
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