Companies have always relied on technology to innovate and improve productivity. But over the last few years, we’ve seen an explosion of technologies such as cloud, mobile, social media and analytics. Together, they are creating huge new opportunities and potential threats for most enterprises. Look at this holiday buying season. Online shopping on Black Friday and Cyber Monday rose 17 percent over last year – further evidence that consumers are increasingly willing to buy goods and services through digital channels.
In addition, we’re seeing digital used to automate manually intensive activities. Amazon just announced fully automated grocery shopping where you go in, select the items you wish to purchase, and walk out – all without checkout lines or delays. These new and emerging differentiated value propositions are guaranteed to attract consumers offering an improved shopping experience and, perhaps, even a radically lower cost structure. So when you put these different trends together, you can see that digital becomes a top agenda item for most executives and corporate boards.
So, who “owns” and is accountable for the digital strategy and initiatives? Some organizations have created a chief digital officer, while others have given this to marketing or IT. But what I’ve seen happening of late is that organizations that are truly driving change are doing so because the CEO is personally involved.
Companies that want to transform need to embrace these changes. The need to understand the value of digital in their enterprise – whether it’s in sales or marketing, or automating functions, or a combination of these. They also need to prioritize. There are many moving parts to digital, and you don’t need to boil the ocean. Digital business transformation is a monumental undertaking when you are looking to revamp the entire enterprise. There are always too many things to do in the digital portfolio, and focusing on the ones that count is important.
In the end, the greatest challenge for most organizations is breaking down the silos across the organization to create a seamless, end-to-end business. This is essential because digital customers expect a fully integrated and immersive experience. That requires companies to think quite differently about the way they organize, conduct and manage their operations to drive value that translates into sustainable growth.
Please leave a comment with your thoughts on what’s ahead this year with digital technologies.