People. The key to any organization is your people. Without the right people, any organization will fail. Digital Transformation takes a look at the existing personnel, their roles and skill sets.
First, we must assess the maturity level of personnel within the organization. Do they currently possess the proper experience and knowledge to execute digital transformation initiatives? Do they require more training, can they be trained, or should new personnel be brought in to achieve the set goals? Part of this approach with personnel is also understanding throughout this process is the cultural shift that takes place when an organization becomes digital. The first question seems to be, am I going to lose my job? There are many methods to help address these expected challenges during a cultural shift with the main approach to be proactive and not reactive. As I mentioned before, there are two sides.
The other side with people becomes the external component in digital transformation and this usually is associated with the customer. As organizations embrace digital transformation, this same approach internally must also be applied externally. This is really about understanding the customer, how they use your product and how they will be affected by digital transformation changes such as integrating new technology. Traditionally, these changes are positive as customers tend to embrace positive change, but time must still be taken to understand its impacts and how to benefit from these changes.
Process. Processes change as often as organizations and customers change. Today, the processes include lean, agile and more traditional methods such as SixSigma. As with change management, a new strategy means adjusting, creating, developing and initiating process to create better efficiencies.
Internally with digital transformation, it is applying the same approach with the new digital strategy and asking the questions, what changes in process are needed such as improving an old process or creating new ones to adapt to the tasks at hand. Process changes should start out small but gradually expand across departments to fully embrace the new digital strategy.
Externally, it is about process with stakeholders outside the organization such as suppliers, vendors, partners and customers. This could be a vendor management solution that requires new processes and will involve training your vendors on how to use but it also means feedback from your stakeholders on the ease of use, efficiency and purpose of the system. Any process change should always include a feedback loop to continually improve for all stakeholders
Product. You are only as good as your product and his holds true for any successful organization. Digital Transformation definitely embraces change with product in mind. Customers buy your product because it helps solve a problem, but today there are a lot of organizations that are making similar products to help solve that same problem, so how do you stand out? This usually involves improving your product to connect with your changing customers. Digital Transformation helps improve your product, if done properly.
Internally like process, it is understanding what the product does, how its built, time to market, how difficult to make upgrades or changes, resources needed, all in order to make change to align with the digital strategy.
Externally, it’s understanding changes in product will be received by the market, not just customers. It also takes a deeper look at your product against competitors to properly evaluate value proposition and positioning.
Technology. We sometimes feel like we are a little kid in the candy store when it comes to new technology. It’s cool, fun, new, exciting and think it will take an organization to new heights, as I said before, it’s like magic. This is where many people fall into the trap of SOS or Shiny Object Syndrome. We see a new shiny object and our eyes and wallets are wide open. This is especially true after returning from events such as CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas or Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
In digital transformation, we need to first step back from any new technology and internally evaluate what existing technology is in place within an organization. The key here is understanding what technology is in place and more importantly how much time, effort and resources are already vested in this technology. The second part of this is to ask if we are bringing in new technology, will it be a substitute, or will it replace existing technology. The last thing anyone wants to do is bring in new technology to replace existing when that existing technology ROI is still not in reach.
Externally, it is really understanding how new technology will bring innovation to the organization. This innovation could be within the organization or it could be within existing product or even create a new product. Also, will this technology give the product a competitive advantage, meet a new market need, or just be trendy. Technology is a big investment, so thorough evaluation must be considered before making any decisions.