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Digital Darwinism

  • 75% of all Fortune 500 companies will not be there in 10 years.
  • 80 billion objects will be connected starting 2020.
  • The amount of digital data doubles every 2 years. 
  • Your company social network will allow everyone to process 20 times more information than emails.

Just as the industrial revolution of the 18th and 19th centuries changed our way of life with machines, digital transformation is set to disrupt today’s organizations beyond recognition. Previously successful models will be rendered obsolete; indeed, businesses that have grown up with rigid, structured legacy technologies built around predictable, repeatable steps may find themselves under threat from “digital Darwinism”. Nevertheless, for those organizations that can visualize the possibilities for data-driven innovation and creativity, there are market-defining opportunities up for grabs.

In the realm of buzzwords, “digital transformation” earns high marks for simultaneously conveying everything and nearly nothing at all. Beyond the buzz, what is digital transformation, also known as DX?

What’s driving digital transformation?

There are three major forces providing the incentive for digital business, the first of which is changing user demand. Major brands have effectively “trained” customers to use complex products to live simpler, more convenient and connected lives. Employees, too, are using digital innovations to determine where, when, how and why they work.

The competitive landscape is changing, too. Size, which was once a distinct advantage, is now becoming something of a liability, as technology levels the playing field for businesses of any size to disrupt traditional industries (think Über, Netflix, and Airbnb). Bricks and mortar stores are closing and high streets face desertification as omnichannel retailing becomes commonplace. Businesses that cannot gain a single view of their customer are vulnerable to aggressive new “born-digital” entrants who can muscle in quickly with a customer-centric approach based on service and simplicity.

And of course, technology continues to evolve at a frantic pace. Having overcome its initial hype, the cloud is now proving its worth as a growth engine for business, supporting innovation without dramatic rip-and-replace. Mobility is fast becoming an enabler of user interaction with things, data, people and places, not just a bunch of apps. The falling cost of sensors and low-power networking technologies is bringing the Internet of Things within reach of a burgeoning number of organizations, which are now challenged to manage the explosion of data generated by connected devices and convert it into real-time actionable insights. Open-source software, once seen as relatively niche, is now a major component of the next generation of high-performance computing clusters needed for big data analysis and applications, as well as providing the foundation for enterprise-grade mobile management and development.

The barriers to becoming digital-first

So what’s stopping businesses from placing their bets on a digital future? A combined legacy of organizational silos, aging application estates and outdated technology management processes are common practical constraints. However, laggards are also hampered by a legacy mindset: cultural resistance to change, a lack of imagination and appetite for risk-taking, and a shortage of digital leaders to spearhead change from the top. As Professor Jerry Wind of The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania shrewdly observes, “a successful business is the hardest organization to change”. However, the time is fast approaching when ‘business as usual’ will almost certainly no longer be good enough. Digital transformation is how good companies become great!

Digital is a strategy, not a tactic

Rather than tinker around the edges by deploying individual technologies with a narrow, operational focus, organizations must develop the digital fluency to articulate the strategic value of technology to the future of the business – reflecting the demands of customers, employees, and supply chain partners – and work backward. Digital transformation should, in practice, be nothing more than the continuous business improvement that any established organization should be doing as a matter of course to stay ahead of the game. The rewards go beyond mere survival: those that succeed typically exhibit higher revenue growth and profitability than their industry peers.

Related: What you need to know about Digital Transformation to transform your organization

Digital transformation is a strategic endeavor with a long horizon. Reinforce the long-term by celebrating short-term wins.

In summary, becoming a digital business requires:

Shifting from a legacy mindset to “digital by default” ways of working and thinking
An end to the generations-old silo mentality, with data integration at the heart of any initiative
A strategy and program that touches every function of the organization
Cultivating innovation through experimentation and learning
Considered use of technology to improve the experience of employees, customers, suppliers, partners and stakeholders, and new business models that exploit digitized assets
We at Trigent help software vendors use technology to radically improve performance and reach. From enhanced social experience, transforming business operations and energizing collaborative communities on the cloud and mobile to data driven real-time process optimization and cross-enterprise analytics.

We would love to hear from you and help you make the most of your digital investment.

This blog was originally published on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/digital-darwinism-abishek-bhat?published=t

 

Abishek Bhat

Abishek Bhat

Abishek Bhat works as Senior Manager with the Microsoft Practice at Trigent Software. He has over a decade of experience in technology consulting.

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