Digital transformation helping businesses to thrive

Digital transformation helping businesses to thrive

John Tadman, Country Manager for Avanade South Africa.

Digital transformation is no longer hype. Companies now realise that in order to keep up with their competitors, streamline their costs and improve their employees’ efficiency, digital transformation needs to be at the top of their agenda.

Some organisations are already achieving new levels of performance with digital. Williams Martini Racing is a great example of this. In the highly competitive Formula One industry, Williams has been working with Avanade since 2015 to transform its workplace and engagement with fans using digital technologies. One innovation has been the use of biometrics harnesses to capture data on the Williams pit crew (heart rate, breathing rate, temperature and peak acceleration) that can be analysed to optimise pit techniques and performance. Powered by digital, Williams has been able to significantly improve its performance off and on the track, including a record-breaking pit stop time in 2016.

Williams is an example of how digital technologies and data enable organisations are able to streamline processes and gain better business insights. This allows organisations to minimise costs, maximise results and predict what customers and employees need.

In recent years, organisations have increasingly begun to introduce digital transformation initiatives, looking forward to great business benefits. However, they often don’t succeed because the focus is on the technology, not how digital can enable the business outcomes in the digital economy. New technologies like cloud, the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence can make a significant difference, but organisations must equally prioritise people and culture to realise the full business benefits of digital transformation.

A new approach to business leadership is also needed for the digital economy. According to McKinsey Quarterly, a digital reinvention requires a business to make tough decisions. Knowing which decisions to prioritise and how to implement them can be the difference between a successful transformation effort and one that struggles.

McKinsey lists four phases of a digital transformation program:

  • Discovering the ambition for the business based on where value is migrating;
  • Designing a transformation program that targets profitable customer journeys;
  • Delivering the change through an ecosystem of partners; and
  • De-risking the transformation process to maximise the chances of success.

A digital transformation strategy must be centred on business outcomes and focus on engaging employees and customers. Human-centricity is key, and organisations must adopt a holistic approach to implementation. Many organisations today are only focussed on digital to engage externally, and fail to consider how to enable their employees with the digital tools and systems needed to operate efficiently and respond to the ever-changing needs of customers.

The time for digital transformation is now, but organisations must be cognisant that in order to achieve success by being digital on the outside, they also need to be digital on the inside.

By John Tadman

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