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The Right Way To Digitally Transform

Benazir Miller, Sr.General Manager-Technology,Shoppers Stop

“When digital transformation is done right, it’s like a caterpillar turning into a butterfly,
but when done wrong, all you have is a really fast caterpillar”

Digital transformation is not just a switch that you turn on with an investment. There are ways to do it correctly and ways to do it incorrectly. If you invest but do not know how to best utilize, then you have not transformed, you have just built a facade!

While digital transformation is, one of the most commonly used and over-used phrases these days across industries; the definitions, however, varies. Beneath the hype, the fuzz and the muddle, digital transformation involves some important changes to business culture.

Digitalisation is not just about disruption or implementation of more technology systems and services but majorly starts with changing business processes and are expected to focus towards creating something new that might be an improvement to customer experience, streamlining the supply chain, or using insights from data to offer new products

Digital transformation is the cultural, organizational and operational change of an organizations ecosystem through a smart integration of digital technologies, processes and competencies across all levels and functions in a staged way. A genuine transformation project involves fundamentally rethinking business models and processes, rather than fixing or enhancing traditional methods

In recent times, most business transformation activities, have started realising the benefit of data and have been exploring innovative ways of using it, either via analytics, IoT, AI or machine learning. Realising the importance of data, organisations have also started establishing new executive job titles as Chief Data Officers with a focused drive.

Here are few interesting myths about digital transformation:
(a) Every company should digitally transform –
In reality, not every organisation, process, or

business model requires digital transformation. It is not a software upgrade or a supply chain improvement project. It’s a planned and strategic move subject to organisations directions and objectives

(b) Digital transformation leverages emerging or disruptive technologies –
In reality, most short-term transformational impact comes from “conventional” technology solutions, does not need an emerging or so-called “disruptive” technology. Investments would also differ accordingly

(c) Profitable companies are the most likely to launch successful digital transformation projects –
In reality, if things are going well, then the chances of transforming anything meaningful are quite low. Transformations mostly emerges with a need!

Digitisation is not only about organisations, it is relevant to countries as well. Best example is, how our country started its digital journey during demonetisation period (sometimes shift to technology is a no-choice option). It was interesting to observe change in consumer’s behaviours and tech adoptions patterns during the demonetisation phase. Who would have ever imagined that 2016 demonetisation could bring about such a drastic change in the consumer behaviour and move towards digital payments. Even digital payment providers had to go through a turbulence to keep up with the sudden high rate of adoption.

COVID-19 Pandemic and Fast Growing Digital Transformation
If ‘necessity is the mother of all inventions’ coronavirus (COVID-19) forced many around the world to rethink our daily lives from work to food to school to entertainment. In response to the social distancing, lockout and quarantine, many consumers turned to digital services to make key purchases to continue with the normality. Even organisations, who were resistant to the concept of work from home, have been forced to accept the new normal and have been getting, acclimatized to the change. This crisis situation has driven a shift in tech adoption across organisations and individuals have started using video conferencing and other tools for collaborative working.

On a lighter note, there have been a drastic change in employee behaviour patterns and being punctual to meetings, as compared to in-office scenarios.

Another interesting digital move in the health care sector is seen extending medical services to be rendered online to patients in this crisis where public health officials have started pushing healthcare systems to expand their telehealth services via smartphones and other tools. A move that really emphasizes the potential for telehealth roadmap for the future.

Schools and universities have also begun to turn to virtual classroom learning options. The transition to digital education is certainly disruptive and will evolve in the near future.

Along with many in-person conferences being cancelled worldwide in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, some companies are trying to bridge the gap between in-person events and virtual ones with platforms that combines video and networking.

I think digital transformation is not about putting in technology that does digital, it's more about the way that you work with those tools and work across teams

So does digital transformation stop? It doesn't! As Forrester suggests, true transformation is a journey, not a destination.

Digitisation is the New Normal today; it’s no longer a nice to have!

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