Digital innovation is changing the world faster than we can imagine. The only way that organizations can keep up with this speed is by thinking outside-in. Outlining key business outcomes and working backwards to adopt agile methodologies with the right mix of technology will help organizations to secure their market share and stay ahead of the curve. This involves applying the 80-20 rule, which suggests that 20 percent of your efforts account for 80 percent of your results.
The goal of most of the organizations is to grow. Growth happens either by creating a new market or taking someone else’s market share. Creating a new market is never easy as a lot more disruptions happen there. Having said that, ensuring industry growth comes to you in proportions, if not more than the industry average, is a challenge in itself. Further, as the business scales, operational challenges hit the roof. What ‘worked’ till yesterday, may not work today, and this is where leaders realize that most of what worked all this while is obsolete.
Today, technology is as important as the product or service itself to address growth and operational challenges. Although, products/services have always been important and still the same, it’s the technology today that gets more focus as it plays the most important role in gaining a competitive advantage for attracting customers.
Every organization is exposed to technology, but the question is how fast does it adopt? Or more pertinently, how can the executive leadership accelerate their organization’s digital transformation journey to meet the ever-growing customer demands? The rapid change we are now witnessing brings forth three unique traits of the organization: People, culture, agility.
Let’s address these one at a time and see how technology adoption by top management can help scale the organization, while still retaining what it is known for.
• People: Firstly, it is the people that accelerate the change and turn it into a business reality. Their ability to think and embrace technology, and their drive to digitally collaborate in a customer’s journey play an important role in driving transformation. Hence, it is essential for organizations to invest in its people and enable them to participate in technology upgrade. It all starts with the leadership team. Top-driven initiatives are often faster to implement; especially when people are onboard with it. To accept digital initiatives, employees need to understand that becoming digital is not a new project, but a new way of executing business in the future. Digital transformation doesn’t have an end date, and everyone is an integral part of the implementation
• Culture: In the initial stages of a company’s development, the leadership team is usually very tight-knit. As things expand, the sprawl of teams across geographies and time zones tend to separate business functions in a way that can make the leadership team feel disconnected from one another, and from teams within their group. While the temptation at this stage is to get into “silos,” it is at this moment that the leadership team should be most visible to each other and, importantly, to the rest of the company. In today’s world of technology, it’s tempting to allow things to become more impersonal as we scale. Depending on the business cycle, weekly, monthly, and quarterly meetings among the leadership team are of paramount importance for making sure the leadership team is visible and available to the entire company. This is where quick adoption of technologies such as video communications, project health, insights on the overall functioning of the organization through technology is very critical. A typical culture and environment of fail-fast is key to a successful digital journey.
• Agility: The transformation process cannot be slow. Organizations and its leaders need to keep up the pace at which the world is evolving if they want to sustain their position in the market. Speed is the currency of digital transformation and to achieve it, you need to build and manage an environment capable of ingesting and analysing data, deploying applications, building dynamic ecosystems and more—doing all this in real time, securely while maintaining compliance. Investing in technologies and processes that enable digital transformation doesn’t mean you’re making your systems more complex or complicated. In fact, traditional and complex IT environments fail to support today’s operational demands where new software functionalities must be deployed frequently and in a flexible manner to meet customers’ needs. Therefore, digital transformation leaders should also focus on simplifying and modernizing their IT environments by adopting digital differentiators such as cloud-based systems, predictive intelligence capabilities, social and mobile enablers and DevOps practices to design leaner and more agile business processes.
Future of work
Apart from people, culture, and agility, the most important element to understand is how future work is going to be structured and what organizations can do to be better prepared. There is a widespread social concern about the future of work as technology replaces people and jobs are lost. It seems more likely that the nature of work will change, as technology will amplify the human potential to yield unprecedented levels of efficiency and effectiveness.
The challenge for leadership is to deploy new technologies in ways that not only yield fresh efficiencies, but also amplify human creativity, ingenuity, and judgment. Augmenting leadership with technology will greatly increase leaders’ ability to meet that challenge and achieve prosperity.
Digital transformation is a continuous and ongoing process. Market conditions, business priorities, and customer requirements will keep changing. Organizations cannot end this journey by simply implementing a certain process or technology and calling it a day. With every innovation, the previous process or technology becomes obsolete. Successful transformation leaders are those that are continuously learning and implementing new technologies.
Jagat Pal Singh is Chief Technology Officer at Cybage.
Disclaimer: This article is published as part of the IDG Contributor Network. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the contributing authors and not of IDG Media and its editor(s).