7 Defining Characteristics of a High Digital Score Enterprise (HDSE)

Stories of High Digital Score Enterprises underscore the strong connect of the Digital Score with business capability and performance. The CEO and the CXOs, along with their CIO play a defining role in creating an HDSE.

After an in depth study of several High Digital Score Enterprises like Air Works, KPIT, Hero Motors, Maruti Suzuki, and Tata Sky, we have identified seven characteristics such enterprises exhibit. As a CEO, you may check how is your enterprise doing against each of these seven characteristics. My experience suggests, that dialogue may be quite constructive for the business.

#1 HDSEs thrive amid hyper-competition

Their markets and value chains may have been disrupted by the advent of new age digital companies (like ecommerce is a big disruptor for the logistics, CPG and insurance market) or there exist possibilities of disruption (like in the aviation maintenance, energy & utility and rural financial services markets). The disruption is seen both as a challenge and an opportunity.

#2 HDSEs create value for their stakeholders

They are extremely growth-oriented – continuously exploring the emerging opportunities to create value for stakeholders. The discourse around growth has taken increasing prominence in these organizations as the struggle intensifies amid moderating economic growth and rising input costs. HDSEs are growing and creating stakeholder value.

#3 HDSEs have a strong connect of digital with values, vision and goals

Such enterprises are building the factors of growth and creating value through conscious use of digital technologies. They have a very strong connect of digital enablement of the organization to operationalize the Values (the underlying philosophy which drives the organization), Vision (bigger tangible milestones) and Goals (short term milestones).

This enablement is not accidental but a planned outcome. The leadership support is quite evident and the idea is shared across the organization. The HDSE becomes an active instrument of practicing the core values and fulfilling the broader vision and goals.

#4 HDSEs are extremely customer-focused and innovation centric

Customers of an HDSE are digital savvy, who are looking for better products/services and constantly exploring new channels. These enterprises are continually innovating and creating new value for their customers.

In fact customer focus and innovation are two sides of the same coin as innovation in products, services and processes is an integral part of customer focus.

There are three ways in which the customer focus is operationalized in such businesses –

1 Simplifying Customers’ Life

Continual exploration of the ways in which the customers’ life can be simplified. They are achieving this through simplifying and standardizing the processes, adopting self-service means, providing more information, ensuring transparency in the processes and engaging the customer at a deeper level.

2 Creating Customer Value

Continually creating value for the customer through better products and services, rewarding them through loyalty and gratification programs, reengineering their processes to shorten the time to deliver on customer nesd.

3 Giving Customers a Voice

Keeping a close tab on the customers’ pulse through creating a multipoint feedback system (kiosks, social media and mobile), integrating voice of customer with the core CRM and adopting social analytics

#5 HDSEs build a highly matured technology platform

HDSEs build a highly effective ‘Enterprise Platform’ by converging the digital technologies with the core infrastructure & applications using contemporary middleware technologies. They upgrade their core infrastructure and applications to sync well with the digital SMAC+ layer. They also build the capability of allowing the co-evolution of the new IT and the old IT.

They are consciously building connecting mechanisms, which are structural (like steering committees, joint committees, IT governance, PMO, leadership connect, enterprise architecture etc.) and technical (like services oriented architectures, enterprise services bus, APIs, middleware etc.).

#6 HDSEs continually build and strategically leverage new capabilities to compete

Building new capabilities in response to the emerging market realities and their strategic exploitation is natural to the HDSEs. To compete in the hyper-competitive marketplace, they are building new capabilities at both functional and organizational levels. The functional capabilities reside in individual business functions and can be of many types, e.g. creating a vibrant work environment or building the capability to capture the customers’ voice or driving innovative products through R&D or identifying new revenue opportunities etc. The organizational capabilities are organization-wide and cutting across functions.

#7 HDSEs are high on change for building new organizational capabilities

They are certainly not complacent and do not believe in status quo.

They are capability-driven and continually change themselves through restructuring, IT function reorganization, workplace transformation, technology/enterprise architecture/IT governance overhaul, process improvements, process reengineering, behavioural interventions, new go to market approaches, etc. High DS businesses are continually in a flux to align with the emerging market imperatives through building new capabilities.

The seven characteristics may open many points of debate in your organization. Our endeavor is to answer one single question, ‘How can I transform my enterprise into an HDSE?’

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