Author: Anatole de la Brosse
Deputy CEO Sia Partners, Innovation
Digital transformations are underway in all industries. Whilst they all advance at their own pace and in their own way – they are all undeniably transforming. This trend started several years ago, giving us enough perspective to analyse market feedback and understand the differences in maturity of digital transformations.
Too often companies have started their digital transformations by focusing exclusively on the risks of business disruption. In this case, companies often rely on the sole advice of start-up experts. Similarly, and sometimes massively, they invest in a few nuggets supposed to disrupt their markets or at least trigger a radical evolution of processes or customer experience. Not all professions are disrupted, and disruption is the result of a search for innovation and simplification of customer journeys and technologies rather than a goal in itself.
Innovation strategies and, where necessary, the integration of external technologies, are not enough to guarantee the success of a digital transformation. On the contrary, this approach too often leaves the governance of the digitisation strategy in the hands of a few experts instead of spreading the skills and initiating the cultural transformation of all employees.
In the end, digital transformations incorporate a major cultural evolution. This includes the widest possible adoption to train employees to new ways of working, introduce more agility and integrate digital tools into everyday life.
The success of a digital transformation plan relies on a state of mind and the willingness to use digital tools across all trades. Without trying to be too ambitious at first, gains and significant advances will be palpable in the short term. This is achieved by disseminating collaborative tools, adopting new ways of exchanging solutions and accepting that digitalisation is in the hands of everyone.
In the end, digital transformations must be conducted by tackling four major projects:
Innovative ecosystem strategies to develop relationships with start-ups in any form: incubators, corporate venture capital, M&A
Process automation by integrating RPA (Robotic Process Automation) solutions. This project must be based on a precise analysis of eligible processes and cases of automatable tasks according to their frequency and complexity.
Artificial intelligence and data science projects to improve decision making and add value to data analysis.
An embedded workstream for the digital transformation, allowing a true cultural transformation.
This last project is often neglected or conducted as a traditional change management project, which disregards the deeper nature of cultural transformations. An embedded workstream fosters collaboration and introduces agility. It helps organisations evolve to promote transversal operations and break silos. Most importantly, it helps rethink managerial practices to develop less hierarchical and more collaborative ways of working.
Finally, the transformation workstream is often an opportunity to introduce new ways of working, including: HR practices (quality of work environment, managerial practices, etc.), physical environments (rethinking fixtures, furniture, workspaces, etc.) and IT infrastructure (workstations, tools, devices, etc.).
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