For any organization to become a Digital Master, it first of all needs to create digital leadership. This requires a deep understanding of how technologies drive the creation of a superior customer experience, the optimization of operations and even the reinvention of entire business models. It also needs a more than healthy appetite for understanding and embracing the next wave of technologies that – architected together – form the catalyst to digital transformation: mobility, insights, social tools, solution catalogues and the cloud.
The classical enterprise depends already on information technology for many of its business functions. But the digital enterprise is fundamentally different: it serves digital customers and partners at their own pace by a whole new set of rules; it plays the digital world’s game.
More than three years of solid research with MIT has shown us what it takes to become digital masters and the foundational book on it demonstrates that it needs the right blend of digital leadership and transformation leadership.
In this first design principle, we focus on the essence of digital leadership, or in other words: what it takes to become digitally intense.
Three impact areas
Understanding in which ways the next wave of technologies transforms the business is a core capability. We distinguish at least three:
1. Technology informs – then amplifies – customer expectations. Through better customer understanding, leveraging digital opportunities for topline growth and the creative use of multiple customer touch points, a superior customer experience is created.
2. Technology removes the traditional constraints in the organization’s operations. The increasing digitization of processes is key for this, but also the use of technology to enable employees do their work in different ways and drive effective performance management.
3. Finally, technology drives the era of disruption and reinvented business models emerge from platform technologies, digital enhancements to products and services and new, technology-enabled routes to a global market.
When crafting their new digital strategy – or reassessing their existing one – enterprises should thus first of all establish what their primary areas of impact will be.
Digital Transformation is driven by many different technologies and every organization needs to shape its own, unique radar screen for them. Yet, a few developments in technology stand out and they should always be considered in concert to maximize their impact:
– Mobility should be the alpha and the omega of every solution. Creating mobile applications worthy of the digital enterprise is not a matter of squeezing information into smaller (even if they are getting larger) screens; it requires considering the mobile device – including wearable devices of course – as the prime way of relating, the umbilical cord between enterprise and individuals, therefore also with their communities.
– Insights – not just data – must be embedded into every move of the digital enterprise. Insights through information: every source of data has to be tapped, from the contextual through the social to the operational; insights through interpretation: data is given sense through analytics and visualization; insights for action, driving the next step of every process.
– Social tools as the way to connect the organization to consumers, employees, partners and ‘things’ and tap into the collaborative powers of the crowd, whatever that crowd consists of. Social should not be an afterthought but should be a crucial, integral part of the design rationale of any solution.
– Catalogues are the foundation for quick, agile and enterprise-scale solution development. They provide industry best practice solutions, processes and services to quick-start any chance initiative, providing the art of the possible. It’s a matter of using as much as possible what is available, only minimally adding what is different.
– The Cloud is the default power to draw on. It provides processes, platforms, solutions and the underlying infrastructure as a service: invisible in its deployment, simple in its management and infinitely scalable and flexible in its use. And although the cloud may not entirely be the de facto enterprise standard yet, it sure has defined the new benchmark.
Effectively combined together, these drivers will increase the digital leadership of the enterprise through every new project. And it will even increase on a broader front – and faster – if existing developments, ongoing programs and existing solutions are revamped or repositioned to take even more advantage of true digital intensity.