Digital is trendy and can cause a lot of exuberance even during the initial flirting. But there may be a lot remaining to be done before it can really create real value for your business.
Coeus Age Consulting’s analysis of multiple enterprises, who are at different levels of digital adoption, reveals four stages through which the journey unfolds – flirting, building, converging and transforming. The enterprise may travel through these phases with a conscious approach or may get stuck at one without one.
First experience with digital happens through its adoption on a piece-meal basis. Mostly at the periphery, these are low hanging fruits and isolated initiatives. The exuberance, however, is usually high. They may only bring one time gain or create ‘feel good’ or even empower locally. It may be individual or team or function driven initiative, that can be done without formally involving the CIO.
The flirting with individual pillars of digital (social media, mobility, analytics, and cloud, IOT) by individual business functions and the resulting experience and learning may evolve into a focused build up around one or more pillars. This is a more serious attempt at exploiting digital, however, the build up remains largely separated and isolated by business functions. This is a functional initiative that will invariably involve the CIO for back end integration.
The maturity in more than one pillars of digital and the resulting learning prompts enterprises to look at converging them together across functions or with the underlying infrastructure and applications. E.g. how can mobility and social CRM or cloud and analytics converge. An enterprise digital platform capable of driving integrated and smart processes through linking functions, pillars and channels together. This is both a broader and deeper play of digital through a mashup of digital and core IT.
This demands a bigger role of multiple functional managers, the CIO or the CTO and even the CEO. Adequate governance structures are needed to supported the collective leadership and many a time technological overhaul becomes a must, especially when there is strong presence of legacy.
A highly converged enterprise (digital) technology platform means that the underlying IT also has evolved to support it. A new enterprise platform, a matured IT base, a new leadership vision, strategy, culture and skills are natural allies for it to give performance benefits. An organization transforms around the new digital platform by creating new strategic orientation, new structures and new customer channels.
Our yearly research in gauging where are the enterprises on the continuum clearly reveals that they are gradually and consistently moving up. In 2017 40% of the Indian enterprises were at the converging and the transforming stage, as compared to 17% in 2014. A bulk of them (46%) are still in the building phase, but many of them have expressed the desire to move up in 2017 and beyond.
An introspection on the enterprise’s current stage shall help the business leaders to know what lies ahead. They may chalk out a blue print of their digital strategy based on that awareness.