The Nine Elements of Digital Transformation

The digital transformation is here and running full throttle into the future, but how can managers keep pace with this movement? In an article for MIT Sloan Management Review, George Westerman, Didier Bonnet, and Andrew McAfee elaborate on their findings after having interviewed 157 executives across 50 different companies.

A Full Scope of Transformation

All of these companies are considered large and derive from 15 countries. Half of those interviewed were business leaders and half were IT and technology leaders. One thing quickly became evident: those companies that combined technology and leadership were the most successful. There are nine foundational building blocks to digital transformation success, divided into three trios of transforming customer experience, transforming operational processes, and transforming business models respectively:

  1. Customer understanding
  2. Enhanced sales pitches
  3. Customer touch points
  4. Automation
  5. Virtualizing individual work
  6. Performance management
  7. Digitizing the businesses
  8. Introducing digital products
  9. Digital globalization

Companies have begun to better understand their customers by better analyzing market segments and social media. They are additionally using social media to promote what makes their customers happy. Technology is improving how a person makes a sales pitch, as well as the overall effectiveness of the pitch. Companies are moving away from the stereotypical paper-based slide decks towards tablet-based presentations. Customer service too has been greatly improved through technology. For example, a company can use social media to quickly answer customer questions so that the customer does not have to physically engage the establishment.

Automation has allowed for companies to change their employees’ focus towards more strategic tasks. This can help to improve quality and performance. Likewise, a growing number of companies are allowing for employees to work remotely, and some have even gotten rid of assigned desks. For example, a financial services business allows for their employees to work from home a few days a week and sit near whomever they are working with when they do come into the office. This dramatically increases knowledge sharing. In general, the digital transformation has allowed for a better informed manager to adopt a better strategy for decision-making. More people can now have input on decisions without the situation being chaotic.

Organization are changing how they do business, not just changing how they manage technology. Digitally modifying the business can greatly improve its growth potential. Some companies have introduced new digital products that complement their existing ones. Globalization is quickly becoming the norm, with companies transitioning from multinational entities to full global operations. Technology has made the world seem like a much smaller place that can be connected with a mere push of a button.

Digital transformation needs strong leaders backing them and a vision for the goal of the company. There is no company in this survey that is doing all of these steps at once; rather, they are integrating them slowly to become better. You can read the original article here:

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