By Asoke K. Laha, Founding President & CEO of InterraIT Inc.
Due to digital innovation, the business landscape has changed dramatically in the last three decades, but only up to a point. With the different practices, products and services evolved over time, few industry verticals have fundamentally changed, and a few organizations have had their core businesses disrupted. The scenario will change and there have been changes and updates with regards to the strategy organizations have taken up.
There is a difference in the disruption that is currently taking place as compared to how it was a couple of years ago. Digital disruption creates a change in the industry value which is prompted by developments in the information and communications technology front. In the upcoming years, the technologies associated with the current wave include AI, cloud computing, online interface design, IoT, cybersecurity, robotics, and data analytics, which will advance and increase the impact of each other. Products and processes will routinely learn from their surroundings; markets will converge to an unprecedented extent. The technological advancement in this new age is expected to change a wide range of business practices, in almost every vertical, and in both B2B and B2C firms.
Organizations who want to stay relevant, competitive, and at par with the industry, need to have some kind of digital transformation going on within the organization. According to a survey conducted by Accenture, nearly 80% of organizations are concerned about creating disruption and want to stay ahead or at least at par with the industry standards. But on the flip side, about 22% of organizations are hesitant to transform; they are either just investigating how to go about incorporating digital transformation or are not planning at all.
Enterprise digital transformation is indeed a challenge. Not all organizations can handle or afford it. It does take a lot of time to come up with the right strategy which includes planning how to incorporate and implement it. As a lot of time is taken to come up with the right strategy, by the time it comes to get the strategy rolled out, the needs and objectives of the organization might completely change due to the fast-paced market environment.
Fortunately, there are ways to keep the business up-to-date as per the market requirements, without putting its very existence at stake. Organizations like Amazon, Uber, Google, among other big giants have leveraged digital transformation to the maximum, and it’s time for all organizations to start creating strategies to stay competitive and create growth. Organizations need to and now do understand that it is necessary for them to put their customers at the center of their strategies and decision making in order to stay ahead of the curve.
Technology or digital transformation is the key to creating new and engaging experiences, streamlining operations, and adding value to business outcomes. According to Gartner, 93% of Chief Strategy Officers expect technology to change their industry. Despite the majority of CSOs who think that technology will create disruption, only 20% are prepared and have the capability for industry disruption. Disruption is not just for the digital world but also applies to companies. Technology needs to be re-evaluated every now and then. It’s also necessary that organizations experiment with technology as it develops. Organizations will be left behind if they ignore potential industry-changing technologies.
It’s recognized that the role of digital technology is shifting from driving marginal efficiency to being a catalyst for innovation and disruption. This means that companies will need to take a number of decisions in order to avoid or risk falling prey to competitors and disruptors. In order to achieve digital transformations, organizations need to analyze employees, processes, and technology and how they align with the evolving consumer base. Applications and collaboration tools such as big data, IoT, and AI will help improve productivity and efficiency in the workplace. As these solutions become more advanced and prominent, employers will need to assess the current business environment and accordingly strategize a way to integrate them, so that the organization remains/continues to stay relevant in the marketplace.
Digital transformation has made progress in the last couple of years. But it has now become important and organizations see an urgency. A little more than 50% of business leaders worry that it’s already too late to adapt.
Once organizations know how to spot digital disruption, the next step that needs to be the focus is to prioritize. Organizations and CIOs need to keep in mind the scale of the disruption. Companies should also keep in mind the reach and the richness of the experience.
In order to incorporate digital transformation, organizations need to create a culture of innovation. It is important to create the innovation culture irrespective of which domain the organization is in. Innovation should and needs to be a routine, daily affair and should not be planned or scheduled at intervals. This will help organizations stay at par with the industry. The era of digital business comes with a lot of uncertainty and concern. It will be of help for those organizations that have established the culture of innovation as they will be able to respond better to these uncertainties and risks that come with the digital business. In short, innovation will act as a catalyst.
Because technology is central to the shift to digital, employers will need to get the right culture in place and the right mix of talent for this shift to take place. It is also to be seen that an executive structure is in place that will work for the organization (as every organization is at least a little different from each other).
The evolution of digital and its impact on businesses around the world will be the core concern for companies looking to strengthen their place in the future. Huge technology services and disruptors like AI and ML will continue to be a massive force in the business world.
It is predicted that while blockchain will not disrupt any industry, those companies that understand its power and potential will continue to invest. However, tech leaders will keep the experiment going with quantum computing, which will be following the footsteps of industry leaders.
A lot of disruptive/innovative companies will utilize their traditional business models as a business platform that will connect with customers directly or via mediators and/or partners. This paradigm shift in the way companies will approach and will have questions arising in the boardroom that will revolve around platform-based models, new partnership ecosystems, and innovative ways in order to organize for the business to flourish.
As business leaders are preparing for this change towards using digital transformation, it is important that organizations stay one step ahead of the consumer/customer, which will help in retaining the ability to form relationships that will be long-lasting.
It is predicted that by 2020, half of the businesses, across verticals will see most of their business depend on their ability to create digitally-enhanced products, services, and experiences.
In the midst of trying to transform and create digital transformation and disruption, it is essential that organizations remain transparent and open about every measure that is taken to enhance the future of the business. An organization can succeed if they grant access to a host of technologies and knowledge and showing others how it can support major business shifts.
It is now the time for organizations to create and have digital transformation taking place. It is now that the business needs to acquire knowledge on emerging digital technologies and understand how the plan will affect both the business and the end-user. It is also important to leverage data to the fullest advantage and inspire others to move in the right direction. This will avoid the organization to be left behind.
Asoke K. Laha is the Founding President & CEO of InterraIT Inc. Asoke has significant experience in starting and growing offshore development centers. With a career spanning over three decades in high technology, Asoke has served various organizations in various capacities. As Managing Director of Cadence India, he was instrumental in building a large team of skilled engineers, which went on to win not only the Corporate Quality Award from Cadence but also the ISO 9000 certification for Cadence India Center. Actively involved in various prestigious industry bodies like IACC, AMCHAM, ASSOCHAM, Asoke is a working committee member of the Software Export Promotion Council and is the President of the NSEZ Entrepreneurs Association. An MSEE from the University of Saskatchewan, Asoke also holds an MS degree in Computer Science from Northwestern University and a BE from Jadavpur University, India.