Why Businesses Need to Focus on Digital Transformation
The company that hesitates in digital transformation will be left behind. In fact, if they wait too long it may never catch up. Find out why.
“He who hesitates is lost.” Literary scholars are at a loss to come up with the origin of this oft-repeated axiom, but there’s no disputing its truth. Change a word here, add a word there and you’ll discover another undeniable truth. The company that hesitates in digital transformation will be left behind. In fact, if it waits too long it may never catch up.
Digital transformation, it’s a term we all hear and perhaps use. But how many of us know what it means. A Huffington Post blogger writing about the subject suggests that many in the marketing field say they are digitally transforming. Yet very few actually know what the term means. With this in mind, we start out own exploration.
Google the word transformation and the first definition you’ll see is “a thorough or dramatic change in form or appearance.” The alternate definition, “a metamorphosis during the lifecycle of an animal,” better describes the type of transformation businesses need to undergo. But only when we scroll down to the Business Dictionary do we find what we’re looking for.
“A process of profound and radical change that orients an organization on a new direction and takes it to an entirely different level of effectiveness.”
This nails it perfectly. It’s what every company must do in order to succeed in a world where technology continually changes the business landscape.
You have to love serendipity! Google, the mother of all digital disruption led us to the perfect example of digital transformation, Merriam-Webster. The publisher traces its origins back to 1806 when Noah Webster published the first American dictionary. Then came the internet, and with it search engines. The rest is history. Was their digital transformation a success? Well, when was the last time you stopped what you were doing to page through a dog-eared dictionary?
The digital transformation of IT
Companies look to IT to explore technical advances, and in so doing, are transforming the IT itself. Traditionally, tech guys served a reactive role. They installed systems, then figured out and fixed glitches that popped up. But now, as digital as technology continues to change the business landscape, they play a different role, an active one. Business leaders of today require IT to focus on creating innovation and improvement, but also on business results.
It takes a village
Some prefer the term digital business transformation. This more encompassing term reflects the big picture.
- Technological innovations lead to technology disruption
- IT comes up with company innovations to respond to technology disruption
- IT’s innovations disrupt every department in the business from operations to sales and marketing
Now business must look at how they are using the innovations. Are they adapting easily, or having difficulty integrating the new technology? Do the changes bring value to the company?
To answer this last question, we need to look at the customer. How are customers reacting? How do their demands for increasing capabilities and ease of use impact the business? Does the technology meet the resulting business needs? If not, it’s back to the digitally transforming drawing board for IT.
What drives digital transformation?
A Forrester research study looked at the key factors that led companies to digitally transform themselves. These include profitability, brand differentiation, increased speed-to-market, and cost reduction. But the number one driver was improving customer experience. And this answers the question of why businesses need to focus on digital transformation.
Before we go
Speaking of customer experience, Merriam-Webster’s digital transformation continues to be a work in progress. You needn’t even touch your keyboard anymore. Just call on Siri or Alexa.