Starting Your Digital Transformation? Finishing? I Doubt It….

Digital transformation is the meta driver changing how almost all companies in all markets and industries interact with customers, what they sell, and even how employees work.

For this article, we’re defining digital transformation as the process of integrating new digital methods to current practices in order to increase efficiency and meet changing market demands. The transformation can be seen in shifts in content usage, collaboration, commerce, business operations and more. Because of digital transformation, the world is shrinking and the pace of business is getting faster.

In this new world of abundant information, competitor, customer, and market expectations are changing. As expectations rise, companies are forced to innovate all aspects of their operations and adjust quickly to incorporate new areas of competitive advantage. Improved competitive insights, management systems, and data analytics capabilities for business leaders all play critical roles in gaining an edge in ongoing developments within the digital landscape.

As digital transformations continue to replace established business practices, the demand to examine and change business operations is never ending. Some shifts are clear in retrospective; for example, it now seems inevitable that customers expect full mobile functionality, with personalized content anytime and anywhere on any device. Meanwhile, new social media, messaging, and collaboration apps are replacing older applications from earlier digital transformation waves such as the one that brought us email.

What does it mean to you? According to Forrester only 21% of companies believe they’ve reached their digital transformation goals. That is a double-edged statistic. For the 21% of all companies that feel they have completed something, the question is what have they completed and is it really the end point?  For example, if you’ve improved internal processes, what about customer experience?  Will tech innovations slow? Will customers start settling for less? And what about the other 79% of companies that don’t believe they’ve reached their goals? It is possible that in both cases, there is no finish line to digital transformation, and it’s a continual process.

A recent Fletcher/CSI client engagement presents a tangible example. In this engagement, a tech company in a mature market space needed to understand the migration process from a one-time licenses sale to a SaaS (Software as a Service) model with subscription-based billing. There could be a clear finish line there with a new SaaS sales model in place.  However, there is a high likelihood that within five years there will be a new delivery paradigm that will trigger a new transformation round. New tools and business practices are almost certain to change how the product is sold.

In reality, we don’t know what the future holds and therefore must stay current with market conditions and competitive forces. If companies can’t, or won’t stay current, customers, the real drivers of transformation, will vote with their feet and give their business to competitors.

Click here to read about Digital Transformation Across the Life Sciences & CPG Markets

-Mark Gigliotti, Vice President of Technology Consulting, Fletcher/CSI