The technology wave has been building for a long time, but has accelerated in last few years. Today innovation in digital technologies is bringing our world into second industrial age or we can call it machine age, looking at the fact that the machines have started occupying every space of our day to day life. As per the research referred in the book “LEADING DIGITAL” by George Wasterman, Didier Bonnet and Andrew Mcafee, the Digital Masters companies that use digital technologies to drive significantly higher levels of profit, productivity, and performance – do exists, but they’re rare. That’s not a very good news. But having said that the firms that excel at both digital and leadership capabilities are Digital Masters like Apple, Facebook, and Amazon. These companies are at one end of the spectrum as far as the hardware and software business is concerned.But what about the companies which are at other end of such businesses like the IT service providers and the ones who are doing the innovative technology work on behalf of their clients? Are they focusing on the “Digital Transformation within”?
When I am saying “Digital Transformation within” , I mean the Operational Transformation, which is largely hidden from the competitors. The hidden nature of operations makes it a valuable source of competitive advantage, which is difficult to copy, because it comes from processes, skills, and information that operate together as a well tuned machine. I believe this is the need of the hour for companies to start thinking in this direction. It’s not very difficult. It does require some level of human capital and investment, but the main requirements are time and leadership.This can make them more profitable, generate more revenue, and bring in more efficiency. This is no brainer that companies with better operations create a competitive advantage through superior productivity, efficiency, and agility. What’s more, strong operational capabilities are a prerequisite for exceptional digitally powered customer experience.
Digital Masters excel at two essential capabilities. They build digital capabilities by rethinking and improving their business processes, their customer engagements, and their business models. They also build strong leadership capabilities to envision and drive transformation.
A first step to start would be to digitally optimise internal processes. The technology should be seen as a way to rethink the way one do business.Breaking free from the outdated assumptions that arose due to the limits of older technologies. Actually standardisation of processes provides more freedom to human for doing innovative things. It also provides data in central place, for the leadership to take informed decisions, without waiting for someone to create reports for them.
LEADING DIGITAL CHECKLIST: OPERATIONS
- Get rid of the old assumptions of the pre-digital age.
- Search for bottlenecks and inefficiencies in the processes, and consider whether new digital technologies can help you rethink your operations.
- Start with standardisation or control. This may open up possibilities to address other levers.
In order to achieve the Operational Transformation goals, it is essential to have the Leadership capabilities and willingness for doing it. There are three key elements of leadership capability for any IT company.
- Crafting Your Digital Vision
- Engaging the Organisation at Scale
- Governing the Transformation
Will go in detail about the Leadership capabilities in my next article, sometime in near future.