If you ever have lived in the tropics you know of the arrival of the monsoons.
Skies darken, clouds gather, often thunder and lightning combine, the wind picks up and the rain ‘announces’ its arrival in sheer torrents of heavy, drenching, wave-upon-wave of unrelenting force.
It is hard to stand upright or know what to do. Everything around you transforms. Dry, often parched land quickly turns to rivers of water, seeking out everything to shift and move along and eventually going everywhere to transform the landscape.
We’re caught in a digital revolution
The changes being wrought have by many, been likened to a tsunami in its eventual (devastating) effect on our organizations and by inference, the impact it will have on each of our lives.
I certainly agree, through technology much of our innovation activities will be potentially transformed, but as we often see technology is presently running ahead of our organizing to receive it. Then in translating the understanding of what it can provide, both in its real value to transform these ‘insights’ into powerful new business models, products and services.
Of course the ‘hype’ is running well ahead, just like the initial water flooding in, it is often just passing over the land and not being fully absorbed, it will be. Absorption takes time, it begins to sink in and its effect begins to ‘reveal’ themselves at different ‘rates of exchange’ for each of us.
Struggling with the effects of the digital economy
Digital does matter, in its raw power and potential impact; I think it will be truly transformational. The real opening questions all centre around our mind-set, preparation and willingness to make the changes. Or will we all be sucked up in the void, choked by ever-increasing data?
If it is likened as a “digital tsunami” then ‘all within its path’ can be potentially swept away or altered forever.
Three clear prospects from transforming for digital
1. The new prospects in Customer Experience
The immediate areas of new growth prospects and different engagement lie in changing the ‘Customer Experience’. Growing digital knowledge will enable greater customer understanding. We can begin to build new analytic-based market and customer segmentation; we can become more involved and informed about socially- influencing knowledge.
These can lead to a new top-line growth, more targeted marketing and the potential for streamlining or altering the customer engagement process. We can expand the ‘touch-points’ in new services, cross-channel experiences and coherence and in providing greater self-service and ’empowerment’ for our customers.
2. The transformation of Operational Processes
The second one is Operational Processes. Digitization will radically alter the design of the processes and especially the flow of data, to information, to knowledge, to move informed opportunity. Will it improve processes or collide with already outdated systems, tightly integrated and create a build-up and eventual crash?
Unbundling the integrated systems and replacing these with more of distributed application environments is going to be a major challenge. Completely new features, new approaches and ways to draw down the ‘appropriate’ application needed, will require the use of the cloud, of modular systems, plenty of apps but still locked away in a secure environment of approved applications to be used.
This will give a significant workforce enablement that wants to work anywhere and at different more flexible times, expecting high levels of response in what they use, to do the job on hand and enable them to build and communicate into ever changing and evolving knowledge sharing communities.
Knowing what, where and how, will need to be distributed down to the individual. These changes will be far more data-driven in insights and decision-making techniques, many unknown but necessary to allow performance to be timely, relevant and transparent.
3. The era of the new Business Model
We have been ‘grappling’ with the concept of business model designing for some time. To a large degree the economic situations in Europe and America has held this back to be fully embraced in large organizations. They focused on ‘risk containment’, extracting the final juices out of effectiveness and efficiencies but that ‘well’ of opportunity is finally running dry and extracted.
Facing a digitally modified business landscape will need very different business models. The shift of resources, the transitioning and blending of the physical with the digital, the way digital will shape the structures, provide the ‘driving forces and insights,’ all will demand changing the business model.
We will see multiple business models that combine and blend product and service in very different ways, more tailored to new customer understanding and their demand and need. What digital products will move alongside physical product, different services and how will that set of radical organization redesigns alter existing organization boundaries or established turf?
Business models will not stand alone; they will interlock in intelligent ways, to benefit from scale that essential need of a greater appreciation of sharing services that will open up different partnerships, opportunities for shared cost of new channel developments, separate value propositions driven through common back office services and increasing platform management, to manage this
The human organizing aspects – we must catch up
Will we be able to build defences to warn of future ‘waves’ or take the opportunity to tear down much that has been left standing and rebuild, to take advantage and equip themselves in new ways? How will we cope? What resources do we commit to learning and dealing with all this change flooding into the organization as raw data? How can we reorganize and attract the skills needed in interpretating big data and all its necessary analytics?
The unique combining of the cloud, big data, social streaming, the internet of things, mobility, the industrial internet, are all making this the time for new growth opportunities through this digital economy and the radical overhaul of the activities to realize the benefits.
Believe me, this is not going to be easy or a quick and painless change, it is going to radically alter much within our entities to receive, translate and transform this digital knowledge into impactful outcomes.
Agility and adaptability more essential than ever
The enterprise integration will need to be constantly evolving, adapting and become highly agile, it will totally redistributed, decision authority will move more rapidly towards evolving business models and distributive decision-making, to seize breaking opportunities quickly.
Those that quickly go through piloting, pivoting through digital and physical learning into scalable models to capitalize on rapidly shifting trends, disrupting the existing and focusing on this agile and adaptable skill capability will be in perhaps much better shape to cope..
The immediate challenge of ‘getting organized’
The engagement within this needs real top management attention. Digital has the potential to destroy or change your organization. The existing landscape of business will change forever as this digital deluge or tsunami will alter our structures significantly, offering the promise of radically different innovation opportunities.
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Paul Hobcraft runs Agility Innovation, an advisory business that stimulates sound innovation practice, researches topics that relate to innovation for the future, as well as aligning innovation to organizations core capabilities. Find him @paul4innovating