Going Digital: What Does It Even Mean?

 In Digital Transformation

Of late, during my conversations with business leaders across industries one common theme that is recurring when it comes to organizational focus is that they are ‘Going Digital’.

What does it mean by ‘Going Digital’? Depending on whom you talk to, you get different answers, sometimes within the same organization. For some it’s about online sales and online marketing, for others it’s technology, it’s analytics, for some others it’s an entirely new way of engaging customers. While none of these definitions are wrong, they aren’t entirely correct since their definitions are little too narrow reminds me of the description of an elephant given by six blind men.

I believe the single most important thing that organizations need to focus is increasing the ‘Digital Quotient’ (DQ) very similar to Intelligence Quotient (IQ) or Analytics Quotient (AQ).

The broader definition of ‘Digital Quotient’ (DQ) is ‘the ability of an organization to leverage digital technologies, expertise and infrastructure to deliver the respective business outcomes including innovation’.

Digital Quotient is all about focusing on extracting business outcomes leveraging the digital technologies such as Social, Mobile, Analytics, Cloud, Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence & Robotics.

To achieve business outcomes, organization’s need to create a forward-looking vision in the digital era and define clear strategy with a long-term roadmap that takes a company’s DQ from departmental (orange) level to organizational (green) is a critical step. As you move from one level to the other, organizational maturity grows positively impacting the corporate culture to embrace the changes.

The organizations that are successfully increasing their DQ is where the CEO said ‘we aren’t competing with the traditional competitors anymore, we have a new set of competitors with different rules, the company is going to change, we need to go digital and act on it now’. In most cases these organizations are appointing a Chief Digital Officer (CDO) to carefully & strategically navigate through this journey as it requires a combination of business, technology, culture, process & people skills to successfully deliver on the promise with total support from the CEO.

As we move into the future, Digital Strategy becomes the Corporate Strategy and companies with highest DQ score are the ones who would have developed an Insights Driven Organization.

So what does ‘Going Digital’ means to me, it’s about increasing the ‘Digital Quotient’ of the organization to achieve business outcomes such as empowered data-driven decision making across the organization, followed by agile infrastructure of integrated platform that offers new product/services, order/service fulfillment and customer support while doing all this in the most cost effective manner as organization transitions into more agile form where the at least half of the organizational focus is on the innovation.

The guiding principle to foster for organizations looking for Digital Transformation is: ‘Think Big, Move Fast, Start Small, Deliver Value’

So, what are the steps to get started on this Digital Transformation Journey?

  1. Identify and partner with the ‘right’ team – thought leaders, software, hardware & services
  2. Start with the Digital Transformation Strategy
  3. Initiate a Digital Transformation Program
  4. Start with a Pilot project for a Smart Connected Product
  5. Scale the Pilot to Production for this product
  6. Measure, Monitor, Improvise
  7. Repeat steps #4 thru #6 for all products & areas

What does ‘Going Digital’ mean to your organization? Do you have the strategy, the roadmap & the support of your CEO?

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