“If Failure is Not an Option, why is Success So Rare,” read one of the subheadings from BCG’s 2020 analysis of the digital transformation movement. The question was pertinent then, and it is even more so today when most enterprises are chasing the same prize.
You see, the digital transformation market value keeps soaring high ($1.5 trillion in 2021), but success only embraces 30% of those on the digitalization pedestal. The others either remain at the starting line or fall by the wayside. Either way, the picture remains bleak.
So, do they lack the prerequisites for success?
Well, not so much. From strong leadership to high levels of innovation, there is enough to go around for most companies. In fact, as I pen this, most are gearing up for a re-attempt at their digital endeavors with sufficient resources already at their disposal. There’s no shortage of potential and no sign of depreciating opportunities. Of course, the market is competitive, and that’s why most endeavors fail, but it’s equally rife for growth possibilities.
And that brings us to a deadlock, or does it?
In a bid to understand the dynamics behind this dichotomy, let me reframe the question. How do companies that succeed, succeed? How do they set themselves up with a head-start, and how do they sustain the momentum?
I ask this because there is a pattern behind the success stories. A discernible method to their proliferation. An innate ability to transform that sets them apart from their competition. And it can be mapped over time, as we shall see in this piece.
They Prioritize Design Thinking
Successful digital transformation and design thinking go hand-in-hand, for the latter emphasizes an urgency to find the “right” solution. It eschews the “sheep mentality” of following the gut and focuses on data and the related patterns to explore alternatives, carve out the otherwise unexpected ideas, and pre-empt future challenges
Jesse Himsworth, a Forbes Council Member, says that “problems we are solving are seldom our own, so we shouldn’t presume to know how the customer will act.” As such, we need to be prepared to ask, “What would the customer prefer, need, or desire?” at every turn.
Note: Design thinking must not be confused with user-centered design. The former is not limited to defining a good user experience through a user-centric interface. It involves a deep focus on the larger business context and an understanding of how customers want to use the product.
That said, a company that matures its design thinking skills is able to:
- Empathize with its customers across every step of their digital journey. This close-knit relationship helps them understand the pain points and map out the issues that need to be solved.
- Use the problem statement to develop prototypes to test its ideas. This translates to rapid product development, which is vital in a competitive environment.
- Incorporate the customer feedback into the final product or service. This helps them understand how far they have come and how much remains to be done.
- Repeat the process of sampling, prototyping, and testing until they deliver the optimal solution.
They Combine the Capabilities of Humans and Machines
Often, this is the critical difference between good and great. It’s what differentiates the enterprises that succeed from the rest of the pack.
Take the advent of “conversational chatbots” as a case in point. Most of us know that they’re great at answering service-related questions, have a rapid learning curve, and can emulate human interactions seamlessly. All these capabilities are beneficial for a range of industries, especially the electronics and software segments of OEM, where AI-based self-service is becoming the norm.
But when it gets to complex problem-solving, cognitive and sensory abilities, visual assistance, processing skills, and intuitive communication, that’s where the chatbots show their limitations, even if they’re technically advanced. And that’s when there’s a need to strike a balance between the human and the machine.
In that light, an ideal support pipeline will be characterized by a chatbot instantly initiating a response and, in time, routing the empathy-critical service request to a human counterpart. He/She will continue to build on the chatbot’s initial response with personalized answers, nudging the presented options and clarifying any confusion.
And this is just one of the many examples of how a company succeeding with digital transformation leverages the machine’s extraordinary capabilities to complement the incredibly competent human workforce. The need is to realize the core value of a machine-human symbiosis and be open to new adoption paradigms.
They Conceptualize Strategic Priorities
General Electric (GE), in 2011, commenced tapping into the opportunities that the IoT space presented. The idea was to follow suit with the trend of digital transformations, and they invested billions of dollars to help realize it, alongside employing almost 1,500 employees. But it was more a case for digital support than transformation.
First off, the company wasn’t autonomous and tried helping all other branches. There were consistent performance evaluations that pressured them to focus on short-term revenue goals. To top that, the USP wasn’t clear as GE literally tried its hands at every neighboring service stream – digital consulting is a good example, for that matter.
What can we learn from GE’s case study?
- Well, for one, there is an inherent need to define the concept of digital transformation for your organization. And that starts with a clear roadmap elucidating the future/present/past state of your organization as it relates to its digital strategy.
- Second, digital transformation thrives only when it receives support in terms of time and space. The instant revenue stream shouldn’t be the prime motivation to invest in it. Instead, it must be understood as a conscious decision to upgrade your organization and make it future-ready through innovations.
- Third, the idea of digital technologies needs to be well presented to the stakeholders and practically weighed relative to the market needs, consumer preferences, and the company’s product portfolio. Investing in VR wouldn’t make sense if there’s a strong demand for AR-based solutions. Employing GPT-3 powered conversational AI won’t cut any ice if there’s a strong need for visual assistance. You get the gist, right?
Digital transformation is a journey, but it doesn’t have to be arduous. Ideally, it starts with revisiting the fundamentals of your business and related core values. You establish your digital strategy, make strategic moves that can cater to consumer behavior, and install technology to support the transformation. You then proceed with planning, implementing, and modeling pilot projects to drive consumer adoption. And finally, you fine-tune your strategy while making incremental changes that drive innovation.
The bottom line is simple, the process is not — but that shouldn’t stop you!
Original Source:- Published on LinkedIn