Do you curate data that thinks and acts? Source: Shutterstock

Do you curate data that thinks and acts? Source: Shutterstock

6 strategies to accelerate your digital transformation journey

BUSINESS LEADERS have been obsessed with digital transformation for more than 24 months now, and that’s paid off. However, like every transformation, many find themselves reaching a plateau or stagnating.

Some of the biggest names in the industry — Nestlé, Tetra Pak, L’Oréal, Carrefour, and Burger King, seem to be leading the way pioneering massive initiatives but traditional organizations too, often silently, are making significant progress on their digital transformation journey.

With the world slowly entering a new phase of rapid digitization on the back of 5G and affordable SaaS-based artificial intelligence (AI) solutions, and getting more hands-on with managing big data collected via sensors on an internet of things (IoT) network, organizations need to shake out of inertia.

To help such organizations, a recent study provides six intelligent strategies to help business leaders accelerate their digital transformation journey irrespective of where they might be in terms of maturity.

# 1 | Orchestrate digital ecosystems and platforms

“Most companies agree on the importance of business platforms to their organizations’ future. What sets leading companies apart is what they’re doing about it.”

Digital ecosystems and platforms are incredibly helpful in the digital age. Although companies often worry about being able to guard the customer experience, platforms tend to provide incredible value to all stakeholders.

Amazon, Alibaba, eBay, and Expedia are some of the best examples of digital ecosystems and platforms that help partners grow exponentially.

While the study suggests considering getting involved with platforms or ecosystems and starting new ones where there’s a need, the reality is that each business is different and have different strengths and weaknesses.

Business leaders might need to think outside the box or get creative when deciding where they fit in when it comes to platforms and ecosystems that could help accelerate their digital transformation journey.

# 2 | Build trust to build your brand

“Leaders recognize they must earn customer trust and earn it again with every transaction.”

In the digital world, customers tend to interact with brands via digital channels, which makes it even more important to make an effort to earn trust.

Report and studies have often shown that customers not only do business with brands they trust but also advocate those brands to friends and peers, helping boost reputation and ultimately impacting their growth.

Truth be told, some organizations are doing a stellar job of this and are being heralded as “superstars”, and those are the companies to watch and emulate because they’re the ones delighting customers and earning their loyalty.

Of course, data privacy and compliance with data protection laws are a key component of trust but with rapidly evolving digital dynamics, companies need to pay attention to how they use customer data and ensure there’s plenty of transparency and accountability built into their processes.

Brands that over-personalize their marketing messages, for example, tend to turn off customers because they sense that the company doesn’t respect their personal boundaries and therefore, is not worthy of their trust.

# 3 | Reimagine customer behavior

“Applying design thinking is one of the attributes that most distinguishes leading organizations”

Organizations are now able to collect a phenomenal amount of data from customers and that’s amazing but the question that most strategists ask is: Are companies using that data to benefit the customer or the business effectively?

IoT sensors make it possible to collect data from end-users, that’s something that companies weren’t able to do in the past.

Never before were companies privy to the struggles or usage patterns of their products once they left their factories. That’s possible today and companies need to use AI to understand and uncover deep customer insights.

When organizations use AI to understand customer behavior, they’re able to better design the experience they provide which single-handedly can help the company move far ahead of competitors in the marketplace and on their own digital transformation journey.

# 4 | Curate data that “thinks” and “acts”

“Four out of five leaders consider the introduction of robotics and intelligent automation one of their most important objectives.”

The study highlights the fact the companies now new and exciting technologies at their disposal — and getting ahead of the curve in terms of exploring and implementing those could work wonders for their brands.

AI and IoT, together, make it possible to collect data from any stage of the customer and product lifecycle, but using edge computing could help make that data more impactful almost immediately.

Edge computing helps companies collect data that’s useful to them — it has a whole host of benefits — but the most exciting thing that it can do for the brand is to help it get more intimate with customers, in real-time, tailoring engagement at different touchpoints to suit their needs.

Obviously, with edge computing, we move into the realm of industry 4.0, which indicates the urgency for organizations to trash their old blueprints and create new ones that radically transform how they see and use data.

# 5 | Create an exponential learning environment

“Leaders report that what sets them apart is not just their business models, but the excellence of their execution.”

Tomorrow’s jobs haven’t been created as yet — but those jobs will need new digital skills and a strong knowledge of the business. It’s why organizations need to create new learning environments.

The reality is that organizations can’t hire fast enough to keep up with perpetually changing skills. However, by creating an environment of exponential learning, they can continuously reskill their workforces, including their executives.

Exponential learning—the ability to continuously increase the speed of learning—includes:

  • Traditional formal training for a specific job or talent
  • Training that occurs at the moment of need
  • Experiential on-the-job learning acquired as employees interact with other team members and mentors
  • And of particular focus here, augmented learning.

# 6 | Foster a culture of inclusion

“In recent years, as more industries have consolidated, Leaders have learned to take little for granted, not even their own success. They have become restless reinventors and eager disruptors.”

According to the study, the leadership qualities that influence and encourage a culture of innovation, collaboration, and inclusion are key to thrusting forward with digital transformation.

These include:

  • Leading from a position of trust that inspires teams to achieve results through active communication, real-time insights, and empowerment
  • Building fluid work structures with cross-functional teams that promote autonomy and exponential learning
  • Redefining roles and activities as AI and machine learning shift employees toward higher-value work.