Digital transformation: what to expect in 2016?
It is the end of the year and the time of predictions which only engage those who want to believe them. More seriously, seen from my little window, a few trends that I can feel are emerging for 2016.
A relative slowdown in digital transformation initiatives
Don’t make me say what I don’t say. I do not think that the subject will decrease in importance, on the contrary. Nor that companies will invest less energy in it either. What I have a feeling is that after going all over the place in experimental mode, companies are going back to the fundamentals based on what they have learned. On a more structuring dimension. What is the overall guideline? What is the fad and the fund trend? What are the prerequisites that we have forgotten? End of the headlong rush and the start of a more reasoned and industrial phase.
In short, we will take the time to learn the lessons of the past before going any further.
Those who have forgotten the collaborator begin to suffer
While almost everyone started with the visible dimension and customer orientation, far too many have completely neglected the Internal and the employee. In a certain number of cases, it was simply forgotten, in others; we explained to him what his role was going to be tomorrow. He was presented with technologies that he would have to adopt to serve the customer but there is still a big void.
Indeed, if we explained to the employee what he was going to be able (or rather have to) do for the customer and for the company and how. He was rarely explained what the company was going to do for him other than providing him with new tools to operate in an unfamiliar context and adopt postures in which he was not trained.
Telling that digital is above all new postures and behaviors is good, but we still have to draw the consequences and follow the logic to the end. Too many employees are told that their job is changing, their role vis-à-vis the customer changes, without being supported in mastering these new roles, only in the use of tools. It is necessary to go beyond the tools and the incantations to go on the behavioral one.
And then there are quite simply those who realize that in their company digital will never concern only the customer, no matter what the speeches are. Among these, we are already beginning to see the emergence of the disengagement specific to those left behind in the transformation.
In short, between those who forgot that any promise made to the customer was delivered by the collaborators and those who forgot the value proposition and the meaning for the collaborator, there are transformation programs that will start to get stuck.
In 2016 the front speeches on the attention paid to employees and the experience employed are crumbling.
The return of HR revenge
Since the time it was announced. The more we realize that there is a cultural and behavioral dimension and that learning plays a major role, the more HR regains a foothold in digital. An existing trend in 2015 which will strengthen in 2016. But with a downside: this is surely the point on which we will see the greatest gap next year between the leaders and the others. There will be those who know how to take the train and those who stay in the starting blocks, and almost nothing in between.
The “Experience company”, barometer of digital transformation
Ah the famous experience, the holy grail of digital transformation. In 2016 we will see the gap widen between those who reveal the term and those who derive its full potential. For some, “Wow ‘” effect on a screen. For others, a new model of value creation that has profound implications online and offline and transforms operating methods. Among the latter, we will even see the appearance of Chief Experience Officers and / or “Journey” managers, infinitely more useful than our good old Chief Digital Officer because they will talk about jobs and not about technology. Between the “experience companyAnd the followers of the “Wow effect”, the transformers and the followers of the eye-catcher, the gap is widening.
The decline of the Chief Digital Officer
There will be the few who will have succeeded in their mission and will move on, those who will have had enough of being the digital cover-up of a totally lost CEO and will leave when their training capacity is no longer sufficient to counter the inertia of the executive committee and, finally, those who will have had enough of being the tree that hides the forest in a company that does not want to give itself the means.
In short, a function less and less fashionable as we realize that digital is a shared responsibility and that it must be jointly managed by all.
The web is no longer the subject. Communication either.
When we say digital, many continue to think of the Web and a communication tool. We haven’t been there for a long time. Biotechnologies, nano-technologies, future of economic models, factory “4.0”… These are the subjects.
The return of professional practitioners
With the decline of the CDO, the Web which is no longer a subject, it is the comeback of professional practitioners that is shaping up. HR, communication, supply chain, logistics… the list is endless. They are the ones who will take charge of the reinvention of their profession because no one can do it for them.
Principles and behaviors in the spotlight
Well finally, digital is a way of seeing things, breaking them down and executing them. We will see the arrival of concrete and operational approaches to the digital paradigm this year. Applying a digital approach to a business is doing this and that, and it is reflected in such and such a way in the field.
We have enough hindsight to do a “factorization” and break it down into a list of principles to put in the hands of anything. In addition, it will help demystify the subject.
The cognitive revolution
Oh… it is already on the move but the general public talks about it less because it remains quite technical even if its concrete effects are already noticeable… and the concerns that go with it too. And we are only at the beginning. If digital has made it possible to lay certain foundations, the real Maelstrom is indeed that ofcognitive computing (and therefore the cognitive economy that goes with it). A subject that will become “mainstream” over the months to replace in 2017 or 2018 that of digital transformation. Because one day “Watsonization” will have replaced “uberization”.
Bertrand Duperrin is Digital Transformation Practice Leader at Emakina. He was previously Consulting Director at Nextmodernity, a firm in the field of business transformation and management through social business and the use of social technologies.
He regularly deals with social media news on his blog.