Digital transformation – it’s not for everyone

Published on the 24/08/2017 | Written by Newsdesk


Digital transformation

Alternate view points out for some companies, digital evolution is a natural process…

With digital transformation right up there in the hype stakes, a voice of reason has emerged to point out that while an entirely valid course of action for some businesses, that doesn’t mean every organisation should be hopping on the bandwagon. For just as many companies that are considering or even undergoing a digital transformation, there are others for which the process of evolving to maintain a value proposition is a quite natural progression. They are transforming slowly and steadily in response to natural market forces.

For these companies, there is no need for a dramatic intervention and shift in the way business is done, said Agilyx MD Tim Bird.

He pointed to an article in the mainstream media – The Guardian – which explains just what DT is: ‘Businesses often build and develop new products and services, move into new markets, merge with or sell to competitors, or swap components from their value chain to gain competitive advantage, but none of these things are necessarily transformative. Businesses don’t transform by choice because it is expensive and risky.’

Here’s the crucial bit: ‘Businesses go through transformation when they have failed to evolve. When a business evolves with its market, continually refreshing products and proposition, reaching new sets of customers and growing the value of existing ones, it doesn’t need to transform. A business may go through radical changes and significant restructures, but it’s only a transformation if it’s highly visible from the outside, to its customers, and was driven by external factors.’

Bird said many organisations have initiated large complex and costly programmes to tear down silos and put digital technology to use as an enabler of a re-envisaged business; some to be market leaders and others simply to survive. This is indeed digital transformation, and, “The benefits that technology can bring to the people, processes and products that make up an organisation are tangible,” he noted.

In the natural world, species which fail to adapt fast enough to cope with changing circumstances face extinction. It is the same in commerce, where businesses like Kodak or Nokia or Blockbuster which didn’t evolve faced an ignominious end. It is arguable that such organisations, and many more like them, may have arrested their decline with digital transformation initiatives.

Initiatives which, said Bird, could deliver impacts such as include automation, improved decision making through relevant, timely insightful and accurate information, integration of business processes, systems and people, and innovation by providing the basis of new products and services, delivery of better customer experience and new business and operating models.

But for other businesses, no large and costly programme is or has been necessary.

“If you are already doing this, if you have always been focused on your customers, what you offer them and how you can better serve them, and if you are always focused on creating and maintaining an organisational culture without silos, where everyone works together towards the same clearly defined outcomes, if you are continually reviewing and improving your processes to increase efficiency and effectiveness, then maybe you don’t need a transformation,” said Bird.

Instead, “Maybe what you need to do is to continue your journey of evolution.”

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