If you checked out our last blog on this topic, you’ll know that Digital Differentiation is all about the art of applying digital transformation to compete and win in your market.
Digital transformation is a term that’s been explored, extrapolated and dissected for quite a while now. But how can you apply it to your business in a meaningful way to kick-start your own transformational journey?
Perhaps this is the year that your go on your journey from theory to practice. Before you get started though, there are some things you need to do. The first is to get your strategy in place. The second is subtler though, and more difficult to execute. It requires remodelling your organisation and remodelling your attitudes to how you undertake innovation. It requires re-evaluating how you can leverage the range of skills and individuals within your business. In the words of Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella, it requires a growth mindset.
It takes a leap of faith to move from talking about the possibilities of a digital transformation to acting on them. Organisations are starting to look at their own business, their own goals, and more companies are now recognising that change is necessary to remain relevant and sustainable. This change requires a potential root and branch overhaul of the culture within your business.
Where are your blockers?
The bigger and more established an organisation becomes the more process takes over. Individuals and teams become subservient and it’s difficult to get an overall view of how processes and teams interact with each other. Innovation is often stifled as rules and processes become increasingly difficult to circumvent or adapt. Whilst organisations grapple with these internal challenges, other businesses can overtake.
Resistance to change is natural in any business, along with a view that no one is going to be in trouble for taking the lowest risk option, even if this might not be the best answer.
A growth mindset emphasizes the notion of learning from others, and learning from your own mistakes, so you can move quickly and find the right path forward. To learn, you need to make mistakes, and a culture of innovation is directly linked to culture of not always getting it right.
The biggest blocker organisations face is how to land a message that making mistakes is not just okay, but can be advantageous if it leads to greater insights or alternate thinking.
Solid strategy, firm foundations
Along with getting your cloud strategy in place you need to encourage a new culture within your organisation. A culture of innovation, experimentation, testing, measuring and always meeting the customer where they are, with the service and experience they expect. Phrases such as “that’s the way we’ve always done it” are poisonous to this culture and you need to empower each and every one of your employees to challenge the status quo, to ask the right questions, to imagine different scenarios and different ways to serve customers better using technology.
This message needs to come from the top. Setting the right strategy and empowering everyone in this way is a CEO-led initiative. Tell every person in the company that it’s a battle out there and that to survive and thrive we need to constantly challenge ourselves, in actionable ways, to do better and achieve more with technology. Technology must shift from being a cost centre to be the new centre of gravity inside organisations.
IT will wear a new ‘agile’ hat
IT has an incredible opportunity to support this new wave of innovation and change, if it too can reinvent itself. IT’s primary purpose, in this new world, is to provide the platforms to allow everyone within an organisation to undertake this innovation and deliver these new services.
This level of change too requires a change of culture within IT organisations. Typically, IT was measured on its ability to deliver services as reliably as possible and as cost-effectively as possible. This leads to a natural bias away from risk. Risk is the only thing that could meaningfully impinge on an IT department’s metrics and was therefore a bad thing. If it reduced risk, saying no to a request from a business unit was absolutely the right thing to do.
In this new world, risk is something to aspire to. Risk means new. New means better, most of the time anyway. What’s important is how you manage this risk. IT compliance and governance moves away from a command and control model, with strict controls, gates and processes, to a walled garden with rules, standards and guard rails in place. Platforms are validated, and policies enforced, but business units are then free to innovate and build, supported by IT in the background. IT becomes measured on its ability to support this innovation, not on its ability to mitigate risk or reduce cost.
IT becomes a virtual service provider, providing organisation-specific governance and management of third party cloud platforms which are made available for consumption internally. IT becomes the purveyor of the implementation, rather than running the platform that powers it. IT runs the DevOps process, but the business units own the products and services. IT constantly pushes the boundary and actively seeks out new ways that technology could positively impact a business process or customer service.
All of this requires a new culture and mindset within the IT organisation, a growth mindset.
[Insider Tip: You can check out New Signature offers that help you prepare for your Cloud journey.]
Forward-facing companies are adopting an innovation-led approach, with rapid, iterative agile delivery of projects. There are huge gaps between the process-driven, controlled approach to IT infrastructure management and the new, rapid responsive requirements business units are placing on IT. Digital differentiation means that you are elevating your business to provide the best experience for your customers and clients, and New Signature has the expertise to get you into that space, positioned to compete in a modern world.
Follow the New Signature blog for a final instalment of Digital Differentiation to learn about next steps in the process of digital transformation, and some expert suggestions for technical starting points.