The 4 pillars of digital transformation

by Maarten Jansen
A changing world calls for a transformation of the way we do business. Not only will change-ready companies survive disruption, they are poised to seize all the new opportunities the digital era is creating. As we’ve talked about before, digital transformation goes way beyond digitizing processes or even finding new ways to monetize. True digital transformation requires a change of mindset reflected in every aspect of the business. So how can I see the forest through the trees and think big? Here we’ll dig into the four main areas of digital transformation and how we can make the big shift:

#1 Process

Business process refers to your company’s people, processes and applications and how they interact. Digitally transforming your business processes means using technology to rethink and reinvent the way you meet customer needs, connect activities, and manage across the organization. Merely digitizing processes can for example mean going from paper to email to Slack. Digitally transforming processes on the other hand, means looking at what elements need to be streamlined, updated and redesigned and what technology can help achieve that. Big data can play a huge role in this, helping to track the transformation’s success using different metrics. All of those involved in the process should be consulted to enact drastic change across the organization and align siloes in the direction of the customer.

The big shift: Using technology to break through siloes and redesign processes to optimally serve the customer.

#2 Model

As we explained in our blog on post-corona business models, the pandemic has accelerated societal changes and forced companies to become more digital, e-commerce friendly, automated and agile. Digital transformation of the business model is by no means a one-size-fits-all strategy: it won't copy-paste technological changes by other companies, because once again the goal is not technology for technology’s sake. There are a million examples of drastic transformations following different patterns, from Netflix’s evolution from a mailbox DVD business to how Uber has upended the taxi industry. The idea is not just to upgrade the technology level, but to transform the model to drive revenue and improve the customer experience.

The big shift: reinventing the current model for success to create new opportunities for growth.

#3 Domain

Domain transformation happens when businesses use technology to transition into another area of business. Take Amazon, which started by selling consumer products and added one of the biggest streaming platforms as well as the largest cloud infrastructure service. Digital transformation allows companies to redefine their products and services and break into new industries. It was a smart play by Amazon because what they did is essentially leverage the technological capability they had already built up in a different way and use it to create new value. As companies build their capacities to meet the needs of the digital era, those with the vision and guts to spot the opportunity can leverage their investment in new directions.

The big shift: leveraging the incorporation of new technology to break into new areas.

#4 Culture

Changing the company culture is arguably the most important aspect of digital transformation. The difference between digitization and transformation is after all, a change of mindset. In order to make the deep strategic changes in a company needed for digital transformation, we need a shift in company culture. Since one of the hallmarks of digital transformation is breaking through siloes, barriers between departments have to be broken. As our CEO Maarten Janssen discussed in his blog on digital transformation, this means rethinking our roles, our hierarchy and the way we communicate. Strong leadership is needed to lead change across the organization and cultivate a digital culture emphasizing innovation, collaboration and transparency. Employees should be supported in continually updating both their hard and soft skills. Most importantly, everyone needs to get on the same page and see how they are all connected in driving customer engagement.

The big shift: cultivating a new mindset across the organization and aligning internal values and behaviors.

A successful digital transformation allows companies to deliver an exceptional customer experience by innovating from the inside out. Take our work with Meet Roger for example, where created a bridge from the idea to the product, converting procedures and structures and strengthening the internal team along the way. It’s the perfect illustration of why digital transformation is about so much more than adopting new tech, and the proof was in their customer satisfaction.

Are you ready to change the way you do business? Get in touch with us and let’s talk about how we can help you reinvent your company to meet the needs of the future.

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