Mastering digital transformation is not simply a matter of digitizing the way you do business. It’s about asking the question, “How do we get ahead of the game, or change the playing field?” As I explained in a previous post, success in digital transformation rarely comes from merely digitizing existing business processes or providing the same products and services through a digital pipeline.
By way of an example, consider Spotify. Since its launch in 2008, Spotify has redefined the way people experience music. Whereas iPods digitalized music, Spotify effectively rendered the purchase and collection of albums in physical or digital form obsolete.
In many instances, these digital disruptors don’t ask how they can improve the status quo; they redefine the industry around delivering a customer outcome.
As businesses everywhere face the challenges and opportunities of digital transformation, the focus is no longer about what a business does or makes. Success in the digital economy comes from having a holistic view of your customer, anticipating what they want, and consistently delivering on their expectations. The crucial aspect is aligning your business to deliver on this without the burden of additional overheads. In effect, you let your enterprise do the work.
Becoming an Intelligent Enterprise
In an era of constant change, business adaptability is essential. Success is borne out of an obsession of focusing on the customer, while technology, and the ability to monetize data through new technologies such as machine learning, allow you to continuously plot, learn, and correct course as new data flows in.
Intelligent enterprises can succeed only by generating vital and actionable insights to achieve their desired outcomes consistently – and with less risk.
At a simplistic level, an intelligent enterprise leverages internal and external data in real time to holistically understand their customers and adapt internal processes to deliver in an ever-evolving landscape.
For example, in an intelligent enterprise, a procurement specialist is prompted on the optimal order (supplier, quantity, timing, and price) because the enterprise has a detailed understanding of the customer’s needs as well as a real-time view of the supplier’s ability to deliver. In inventory management, the enterprise can automatically optimize inventories because it has real-time visibility of the supply chain and customer demand. This paves the way to entirely new revenue opportunities because new business models can be supported.
To succeed, businesses need a single view of the customer, fluid front- and back-office integration, and the ability to actively build customer trust through consistently delivering on the promise and rigorously guarding customer data. The key to this is having a unified digital core.
Identifying and building on core capabilities
To get the data right, the whole organization must be connected, and complex processes within the business must be automated. A unified digital core is essential to making this happen—one that enables an event-driven, real-time business powered by an intelligent platform and applications that enable the collection, connection, and orchestration of data across the value chain.
With a digital core, intelligent enterprises can take advantage of all data sources (structured or unstructured), from internal back-office systems to external real-time sensors. This data can then be manipulated through machine-learning algorithms to improve processes across the organization – and even identify and support new routes to revenue.
Digital disruptors thrive because they are able to harness data to work out how to give consumers what they want even before they know they want it. Only with a digital core that provides a single unified view of your organization, and enables you to deliver, can you expect true business intelligence.
For more on technology and the intelligent enterprise, see “The 7 Dimensions Of An Outcome-Focused Industrial IoT Strategy.”