Why Digital Transformation?
A Convergence of Change
The fourth industrial revolution is bringing about a convergence of change that is impacts every facet of how we all do what we do. The well-documented explosion of data, democratization of technology, drive for automation and ubiquitous access is changing everything about how we interact with and what we expect from each other and the organizations with whom we do business.
Demographics are shifting, preferences are changing, markets are expanding and all are fighting for a stagnating dollar amid exploding costs for education and healthcare.
Perhaps most importantly, we are uncovering new insights into how decisions are made and actions taken. New insights that will have significant impact on all facets of business in the years ahead.
Organizations built up in the 80s and 90s when distribution and scale drove growth, can no longer keep pace with the demands of today. People, across the organization, are now being asked to be creative, critical thinkers, consume a steady stream of data, collaborate in all new ways and take risks as they've never done before.
The answer isn't new software, new people or new marketing initiatives. There isn't a secret to making it happen. Instead, we all must get busy creating new ways to plan, do, engage, measure and value. In other words, a digital transformation.
It isn't simple, easy or quick, but it is do-able. And who has a choice?
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Digital - More Than A Department To Add
The anytime, anywhere, everything access we all now have is changing the way we connect, engage, consume, work and transact. Whether it is new products, new communications strategies or operational enhancements, digital is now the space in which much of the action will occur, not only for customers but also for employees, vendors and partners. Currently viewed by too many as a communication tactic, a technology to deploy or a department to add. Instead "digital" is the path to making how we communicate, the products and services we offer and the way in which we work more friction-free, engaging and valuable for all. Not as simple as spending more in the digital channel or adding a new piece of software, it takes new thinking and new ways to measure and value to move digital from a tactical element to a strategic endeavor.
Explosion of Data
Concurrent and in part because of the digitization of the world, the role, value and risks associated to data are exploding. Data is fast becoming the currency for sustaining existing and creating new value for employees, customers, retailers, vendor and partners. As the volume, velocity and variety continues to grow, so too do the challenges of its veracity. Organizations and the people within them are being asked to wrestle control of ever growing and more disparate data and to securely and responsibly turn that data into repeatable and measurable value. Whether to effectively deploy a digitally-driven strategy, expand and enhance insights, meet the needs of increasingly demanding distribution network, engage employees and provide them with the tools they need for success or securely and responsibly deliver the expected customer experience, an advanced data competency across the organization is a foundation to the future.
Always Connected, The Individual Is Now In Control
They want what they want when they want it and they know they can have it. Ubiquitous access to everything, a desire for experiences over acquisition and an easy availability of everything is forever changing the expectations customers have for the organizations with whom they do business. Regardless of business to business or business to customer or business to employee, all are overwhelmed with information, continuously creating filters and becoming harder to reach. To remain competitive, organizations must make use of insights, technology and data to better understand and meet the needs (and demands) of today's customers, employees, suppliers and partners.
There Is Much We Don't Know
But what we do know tells us how much needs to be different about how we work, the ways we seek to understand and how we influence. Because of the work in the field of behavioral economics, we now recognize how much we don't know about human behavior and our inability to predict future actions, define rationale for current actions or accurately recall the actions of the past. We now know that we don't always act in our own best interests, we can be easily distracted, logic is often absent until post decision rationale is necessary and barriers and biases get in the way more than we know. With far reaching implications to the way we collect information, design products, services and programs and plan and implement communications, these new insights are poised to impact every strategy in every department across every organization.
Never Ending Technology
As the marketing technology landscape from chiefmartec.com demonstrates, there is an ever growing list of technology options to enable, enhance and automate nearly every corner of the organization. This overwhelming amount exists not only for marketing, but also for ad tech, for business intelligence, for IoT, for human resources and every need in between. As organizations and the people who work within them attempt to consume this steady stream of new by bolting it on and adding it to the existing way of doing business, many are finding that instead of delivering quick fixes and promised solutions, technology is creating new challenges, frustrations and risks.
More Than Data, People and Technology
The exponential growth of data, the changing demographics and the rate of technology advancement are not the only and perhaps not even the biggest challenges facing organizations today. Population growth is slowing, exploding healthcare and education expenses are putting pressure wages that aren't growing and competition is no longer static and isn't confined to companies that look alike. Remaining competitive in this shifting market will take more than more technology, more data and more people.
Status Quo Need Not Apply
While any change is difficult and this change is more than most have ever attempted, not changing isn't an option. The way it's always been done can longer even deliver what you've always gotten. The organizational structures, technology infrastructures and skills and competencies necessary for success in yesterday's world can no longer keep pace in today's. Bolting on and adding to capabilities built for a world where distribution, scale and iterative innovation sustained a competitive advantage won't keep pace in a world with where transformative innovation is an everyday occurrence, the democratization of technology offers opportunity to everyone and ubiquitous access is resetting the expectations we all have for everything. Instead, new ways to plan, do, engage, measure and value must be created. It isn't simple, easy or quick but it is do-able. And really, who has a choice?