Considerations when managing digital transformation
People often talk about a digital transformation when launching a new website or acquiring a new mobile app. However, digital transformation is more than just that—it’s also the process of adopting and adapting to modern-day technologies within an Warrington organisation.
It is important to recognise what steps organisations can take in order to successfully manage digital transformation projects.
By taking each step, leaders will be able to improve their own personal leadership skills while making sure employees are motivated and engaged in this exciting business adventure.
1) Keep your eyes open for opportunities:
Every company needs change. If you don’t adapt and evolve, you die.
It’s important to be aware of new opportunities and emerging technologies in order to successfully move forward.
2) Build trust:
People need to believe the digital transformation will make their business better before they can embrace it. Leaders need to set a clear vision for employees and work hard on establishing that sense of trust. Some Warrington companies do this by providing greater transparency into the company strategy and processes while others take a slightly more hands-off approach—letting employees decide who they want to work with and how they want to contribute.
3) Look at your current systems:
Digital transformation is about more than just adopting new technologies. It’s also about streamlining business operations so you can be more efficient.
4) Plan ahead:
It won’t do your company any good to invest in change management if leaders don’t have a plan for how to transition smoothly into the future. Leaders must know what the key milestones are, and they should work with teams on creating tangible projects that can be accomplished within certain time frames. For example, set up temporary projects that help solve current problems, while working towards developing long-term goals.
5) Remember, there is no innovation without risk:
Whenever you try something new it carries a certain amount of risk. However, if you never take chances then your business will never grow. Some companies find it useful to divide the risk between small and large projects so they can monitor them more closely.
6) Communicate with everyone:
Digital transformation requires input from each department in order for the transition period to go smoothly. If you’re not communicating with associates about how new technology will help them do their jobs better, then people won’t buy into your project.
7) Train your employees:
Employees who feel involved are generally more motivated than those that don’t. Digital transformation lends itself perfectly to training because it allows leaders to teach employees how to interact with new tools and be more productive.
8) Reward accomplishments:
You’ve done the hard work, it’s time for your employees to reap the benefits. Celebrate their milestones in order to keep them motivated
Are you considering bespoke software development or a systems integration project as part of the digital transformation of your business?
Enabling new business models and sustaining existing ones are the most important challenges for users of digital technologies.
This objective drives many of the decisions that I am asked to help with as an external consultant, board member or independent advisor, including:
– Which combination of services/capabilities would work best on a device?
– How do we find out what our customers really want?
– What is the right way to build an online marketplace platform?
A first step is to consider what message consumers have already sent about how they expect technology will improve their lives. The underlying trends are about just in time information, personalised recommendations and access from anywhere at any time. There is also a shift away from ownership towards access through subscription or on demand.
It is important to recognise that access can come through a different interface, whether it is voice control with Amazon’s Echo or laptop controls with the Apple Watch. The most accepted way of interacting with data may be wearable devices with augmented reality capabilities rather than through screens with virtual reality options.
The next step is to think about the impact of IoT (Internet of Things) on our lives and what new services are available as a result. Most consumers will already be using connected cars, smart appliances in their home, office or factory equipment for security or industrial processes. They are also increasingly aware that they can monitor their health by wearing these technologies rather than visiting hospitals too often.
When designing services around these devices it is important to look at them holistically, rather than just considering the immediate needs of the user. What appears to be an efficiency play around making something more reliable could deliver efficiencies for other things like transport.
Some Warrington businesses are already leveraging this technology in less obvious ways. For example, German insurance company Allianz is working with Siemens to use smart devices and sensors on buildings to reduce insurance premiums where building managers can show how they manage energy usage. This reduces risk and provides cost savings for both parties while reducing one source of CO2 emissions at the same time.
Of course it is possible that there will be new risks or unintended consequences if these technologies are not managed carefully; terrorists may see them as a way of evading detection criminals might target home automation systems in the same way that they target ATMs.
Therefore it is important to consider the ethical implications of using IoT-connected devices in business contexts. Some companies are already thinking about how to manage privacy, safety and security issues around these technologies, including smart meters for power or water consumption which give an overview of household usage.
There will often be other opportunities within a Warrington company’s existing activities because there is usually some overlap between improving customer experience and reducing risk; both contribute to competitive advantage if they are managed well. For example, insurers can use fitness trackers as part of their health schemes to encourage better customer engagement while providing financial incentives for healthier lifestyles at the same time.
Again this plays into another trend which personalisation based on what each individual actually does. It also encourages people to build up long-term relationships with their insurer based on loyalty rather than price comparison sites.
The next trend is around just in time information where the challenge for companies will be how they make sense of all the data they are generating or receiving from external sources like IoT-connected devices or social media feeds. One challenge is to keep up with the volume and velocity of information, often without knowing how it may be used in future; making decisions purely on gut feel can work in some cases but not when there’s a competitive premium on certainty based on data analysis.
It therefore makes sense to design new services that use machine learning techniques which help consumers manage their personal information overload in more innovative ways. Self-generating news stories will be one result, drawing inferences from data to help people manage their limited attention spans.
One example is Prism , which delivers relevant local information to commuters via a mobile app rather than just telling them about delays or overcrowding on trains. This generates useful signals for transport operators about where they should increase capacity in the future, while helping commuters prioritise their time better.
Another potential application is Big Data analytics by insurance firms which combine IoT devices with social media feeds to assess risk much more accurately. For example, automobile companies already use this kind of technology to make safer vehicles by tracking emerging patterns in road accidents. More controversially, North Carolina’s Department of Motor Vehicles used intelligence gained from Twitter and Facebook to identify individuals who were seeking to change their legal name, which is a pre-requisite for gender reassignment surgery.
Projecting the possible scale of the future market for this kind of personalised insurance based on social media monitoring, IDC forecasts that health insurers who offer precision medicine services could generate incremental revenue of over $6 billion by 2020. These are however examples of how IoT data can be used in isolation, whereas combining it with other sources will often provide better results.
For example, there are opportunities around using IoT devices and sensors to feed management information into business process systems like Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) or Customer Relationship Management (CRM). This means that important operational data like parts usage in manufacturing or customer sentiment from online reviews can inform decisions about what to make or sell next.
One aspect is to embed analytics tools like predictive maintenance into the devices themselves so they can flag up potential problems before they occur; another is to capture real-time information about events as they unfold which can then be used for more effective customer service if the problem occurs.
It’s now also possible for companies to combine data from their own operations with external sources like social media feeds, weather forecasts and traffic data, which again increases its value by providing a richer source of insight into what customers may want in future. As well as predicting things like regional trends in fashion , these additional layers of information help organisations get closer to anticipating customer needs at a personal level.
In fact, IDC forecasts that worldwide revenue from Big Data and analytics will grow to over $232 billion by 2020, which is almost four times the size of today’s market for these technologies.
This is one reason why so many organisations are starting to invest in IoT data management systems which have the software-based infrastructure to support new business models based on digital transformation. These typically encompass real-time analytical platforms which help users derive greater insight from incoming information, as well as other forms of advanced software like workflow automation systems that can take action based on what they discover.
It may also be possible to apply AI techniques across multiple sources of IoT data at once, or even combine it with other structured or unstructured information like customer service records in a hybrid approach . One way this could work would be to offer customers scenarios based on their predicted needs, which they could then approve or reject before any action is taken.
These are just some of the indirect ways that IoT data can be used to support digital transformation initiatives in the enterprise, while further proof of its value lies in other sectors outside business. For example, there are promising initial results from trials combining IoT telematics with social media feeds to assess risk for insurance firms , as well as opportunities around healthcare and the smart cities movement.
All this shows how it’s becoming an increasingly integral component of major emerging technologies like Big Data analytics and AI, which means organisations need to integrate it into their wider strategies sooner rather than later. This doesn’t however mean that all companies need to invest extensively in software-based data management systems, in fact in some cases it may be more cost effective to work with partners who specialise in IoT data. This could for instance include outsourcing IoT device integration or platform development before looking at related software services like application hosting or business intelligence.
Perhaps the most important thing is to create a forward-looking plan around how these new technologies will support digital transformation initiatives, and ensure they can integrate with existing technology platforms so that any benefits are not lost in the transition. Contact Warrington Apps for an in dept knowledge of digital transformation.