Chris Howard

Digital Transformation, strategic positioning and a call to action

Blog Post created by Chris Howard on Aug 7, 2016

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I had quite a bit of feedback on my recent post asking the question,  Digital Transformation, is it a disruptor, more of the same or just noise?  It was great to hear.

Quite a few readers responded to me with feedback on the idea that Digital Transformation is a positive change enabler for business and that, properly executed, can lead to meaningful business change and benefit.  Following this, I decided to pursue the concept of Digital Transformation a bit more.

I undertook further research on the matter and there are some interesting highlights.  For example, IDC predicts that two-thirds of Global 2000 CEOs will put Digital Transformation at the center of their corporate strategy. Gartner has suggested that for organisations who have not established themselves in the digital age, will find it much more difficult to maintain a sense or relevance.

"While the potential of digital transformation is great, so too are the challenges for established companies. In one study, 89% of CIOs said that in addition to generating opportunities, moving to the digital world creates new, vastly different and higher levels of risk."

http://www.gartner.com/imagesrv/cio/pdf/cio_agenda_insights2015.pdf

With the above supporting research in mind, how do organisations create a strategy that enables such a transformation?

Combining Digital Transformation with strategy development, organisations must ask, what does good look like and how do they pursue digital transformation to deliver benefits. Strategic focus on operational efficiency, customer intimacy and product specialisation can all benefit from Digital Transformation.  How do organisations realise benefit and create real outcomes from change programs then?

To realise the benefits of Digital Transformation, organisations must better access, integrate and analyze their data to create business insights that empower a real change.  Taking data from a wide variety of sources, integrating it and creating executable information is key.  Therefore, data becomes the common lens for business and IT leaders to shape their digital transformation.  Organisations have tremendous amounts of data stored in line of business and organisational support applications; leading organisations have taken steps to better manage, govern, consolidate and analyse this data into insightful information, on which action can be taken. 

How can organisations provide unique customer experiences while maintaining competitive advantage? This must be done through gaining agility and speed in this new digital age.  This demands that IT functions must operate under a new paradigm, capitalising on operational efficiency and stability as well as integration of new technologies that help business peers pursue new business models.  To achieve these outcomes, data becomes the foundation that, properly shaped and modeled, turns into actionable information and creates business insights and strategic outcomes.

This challenge will only continue to grow as the volume and complexity of data that we struggle to manage today will be dwarfed by what is generated by an ever growing number of data creators.  For example, machine to machine applications, smart devices, even our friendly sports tracking bands are creating more and more data sets.  The term I hear frequently is the Internet of Things (IoT).   This growth in data volume is well established; this in turn, will lead to more requirements to capture, consolidate and analyse these elements into insights and actions.

With these growing challenges appearing for nearly all organisations, now is the time to analyse, plan and act.  A properly structured strategy and action plan will help organisations to achieve Digital Transformation and competitive advantage.

As always, I look forward to your thoughts and comments.

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