Author: Herve Parent

Remember: Digital Transformation Is Just The Vehicle—It’s Not The Destination

Modern consumers represent a dizzying challenge for businesses because those people have more choices than ever before, more buying power than ever before, and less brand loyalty than ever before.

And as digital technology has been added to that already-volatile mix, the situation for businesses has shifted sharply from challenging to existential: how do those businesses stay relevant and successful in a world that’s rapidly demanding digitally driven experiences in all facets of our lives?

Enter digital transformation, one of the most profound developments to ever hit the global economy. To keep pace with the relentless demands and expectations that come with those digitally enhanced lifestyles, businesses in every industry and across every region of the world have plunged head-first into the digital-transformation imperative on which they’ll spend more than $2 trillion—yes, that’s trillion with a “t”—over the next 5 years.

Those bet-the-company initiatives and investments have the potential to drive enormous new levels of innovation and value for the businesses that master them and for the consumers who buy from those digitally optimized businesses. But that massive potential will only be realized if business leaders realize that digital transformation—in spite of all of its potential and its mystique—is not the final destination or objective.

Rather, digital transformation is simply the vehicle that makes this profound journey possible.

For businesses today, the ultimate digital destination represents entirely new approaches to and ways of creating fabulous customer experiences by:

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Why Do Companies Need Digital Transformation?

Digital transformation has become essential for businesses to remain competitive in today’s ever-changing technological landscape. In recent years, we’ve witnessed a rapid transformation in the business world, with many companies adopting new technologies to streamline their operations and improve their bottom line.

Working for many years with many diverse clients from very different industries, I continue to see how important it is for businesses to follow new technological trends and embrace digital transformation. While many businesses have already embarked on their digital transformation journey, others are still hesitant.

From my personal perspective, the winner will always be the business that can effectively implement new technologies while saving the best traditions of the “old business view.” With that in mind, let’s delve into six reasons why businesses should undergo digital transformation:

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The Secret To Successful Digital Transformation: It’s All About The People

In reality, digital transformation is an ongoing process that never truly ends. Businesses were just getting acclimatized to computers being an essential everyday tool since the 80s when the internet emerged in the nineties and forced them to rethink technology from the ground up. Then no sooner had we gotten the hang of .coms and email when social media turned everything on its head once again. Then came the mobile internet, then the cloud, then artificial intelligence (AI) …

However, technology is only ever a part of the picture. Just as important are the human issues that are central to successfully going through these processes of transformation. These include the needs and behaviors of your customers, your company culture, and the buy-in of leadership and the wider workforce. All of which play an absolutely vital part in determining the outcome of any digital transformation initiative.

Once you start to consider this, then it becomes clear that technology is only a part of the challenge. And, I would go as far as to say, due to the growing availability and accessibility of just-about-anything as-a-service, delivered through cloud platforms, it’s probably the easiest part for most businesses to solve.

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How Digital Transformation Can Change Our Business World For The Better

When it comes to the amount of data around us, the 2020 World Economic Forum reported that as of two years ago, “the number of bytes in the digital universe was 40 times greater than the number of stars.” According to the same report, we saw the number of internet users hit over 4.8 billion worldwide with $1 million spent every minute on commodities online.

And yes, there was that other thing that happened. As consulting firm Korn Ferry, writes: “If 2020 and 2021 were years of unplanned reinvention, 2022 is our opportunity to make intentional changes.” I tend to agree with this sentiment.

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Important Lesson For Companies Undertaking Digital Transformation

By its nature, digital transformation is difficult as it’s fraught with the complexities and magnitude of change. The reason so many digital journeys don’t succeed is because the company fails to implement the operating model necessary to make the digital platform work. By operating model, I mean organizational changes, policy and process changes, talent model changes and the go-to-market changes.

Why do companies often fail to implement the operating model that’s necessary for the digital platform they build? Simply stated, they take a fractured approach to the digital journey. Although the executives say the operating model is changing, they don’t build a common vision that allows it to happen.

The problem with digital platforms is there are different constituencies, which all see part of the problem and try to solve for their area of responsibility within the problem. Yes, the organization sees the need for digital transformation, but the different departments and stakeholders in the organization feel that need independently. The organization treats the digital initiatives as independent activities that get funded by the department or organization that they affect.

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Where Most Companies Go Wrong In Digital Transformation

Many companies’ senior leaders and board of directors believe a company can buy digital technology, implement it and get the benefit of it in a few months. That’s an illusion. Because of the depth and breadth of change required to succeed, that belief is not realistic. The record of studies on digital transformation indicate a high failure rate, with a notable 2013 McKinsey study finding that 70% fail. That is a lot of wasted time, money and unmet expectations. In investigating why digital transformation often fail to meet expectations, I find several factors contribute to the failures. However, I believe the biggest problem is the mind-set. This is where most companies go wrong.

Executives’ mind-set must shift to approaching digital transformation as a journey. This is fundamental to success. Unlike transformation initiatives of the past, digital transformation is not an event that happens. It’s a journey with a road that never ends. It will continue – potentially indefinitely, but certainly for three to five years or longer.

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The Importance Of Diversity And Inclusion For Today’s Companies

Young businesswoman explaining and gesturing in meeting

Diversity and inclusion are essential today—something I have seen firsthand within Penn Community Bank. D&I allows organizations to be more inclusive of different ideas, cultures and lifestyles, leading to improved company culture. It also puts companies in the position to hire the best employees from a diverse and often untapped candidate pool while increasing customer satisfaction with their services.

I have found that diversity brings together people from different backgrounds, showcases a variety of perspectives and leads to innovation and creativity. When you bring people together from all walks of life—different genders, backgrounds and races—it’s amazing what we can accomplish. So, what are the benefits of D&I efforts and how can you implement them?

 

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