By Rudi Briedenhann.

The topics we have positioned over the preceding weeks have led to this culminative topic, being implementation. The question of implementation is very difficult to answer as this will certainly be different from organisation to organisation. However, the fundamentals remain applicable across all industries and verticals. As you, the reader may have realised, the digital transformation will require that age-old management styles be adapted to include new digital, data and technology. This means that every aspect of business must be re-evaluated, re-assessed and re-engineered; it will require a fundamental change in the organisation’s culture and in most instances, a change in the management hierarchy. The key to success, is embracing the 4th Industrial revolution, and the technologies and enablement that come with it.

We see incredible industry leaders that have forged forward in adopting new technologies, even in the face of staunch resistance from their board members and shareholders. It is with the same sort of tenacity that business should approach digital transformation.

Scrutiny of current processes and how digitisation could create possible efficiencies or even removal of certain irrelevant process steps through digitisation, must be a primary goal and therefore ruthlessly applied. The successful digital transformer will carefully evaluate the technologies available and only focus on the types of technologies that will improve processes through digitisation and automation. Current manual processes must be thoroughly evaluated to understand how to apply the technologies in the most effective manner to create operationally efficient digital processes. Enterprises are allocating large portions of budgets to understanding digitisation and automation technologies in their own operational environments. We also see the sentiment reflected in CEO’s focussing on internal profit creation through digital transformation, rather than external revenue. This trend will continue well into the next decade, as reported in the PWC CEO Sentiments Report for 2018.

A further great example of this thinking applied, is where a large call centre function that is responsible for lead conversion from its website or application. Leads are actioned within a 48hr response time. In this instance a real-time notification platform will greatly reduce this response time, thereby creating more capacity to respond to more leads per day. In this we see how this singular technology improvement has an immediate and direct effect on efficiencies and production capabilities of the business.
Next, what these transformers did, on evaluation, was to take a hard-line approach to implementation and very much forced innovation on its workers. This might sound insensitive in our current social world, but these leaders in transformation also had a keen understanding of our human reluctance to change and therefore the creation of environment where lines between executing tasks and technologies becomes blurred as our tasks become more technology based. It also further allows a far more accurate ability to rate performance by staff and evaluate each task as it is executed in real time.

It is with a sense of reserve that successful transformers approach the digital transformation journey. Simplicity very often trumps complexity when we refer to planning for the digital journey. The message here is simple; focus on the easy ‘’fixes’’ first. The vision may be a fully-fledged digital transformation event in one fowl swoop, but the reality is very different from that. The first basic requirement may be to simply optimize the current corporate website or digitising and automating the current order process. It is generally found that small implementations are initially adopted more successfully, this provides a far greater chance of success for larger implementations after two or three smaller technologies have been implemented successfully.

As digital strategy is featured prominently within this blog series, I have to be careful not to create confusion here, as the next point might seem counter-intuitive to what was positioned around the importance of a Digital Strategy; and that is to be prepared to change and adapt your strategy as the transformation journey progresses. The realization that things don’t always go according to the planned strategy is very important. Strategic focus may change, new technologies may emerge that could impact the direction of the strategy.

As a final sentiment in this blog series, I want to urge you to keep your eye on the ball so to speak. Assess each aspect of implementation on evaluation and data. Does it meet the fundamental business goal of operational cost reduction, increased conversions or creating greater profitability through increased process efficiencies?

SmartPalm offers a range of services that address specific digitisation and automation needs. Should you want to explore these services, please feel free to contact us at info@smartpalm.co.za or contact us on 0861 008 886.

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