Go digital in 2018: digital is a business subject
Digital is everywhere and when it is everywhere it is no longer anywhere
As I said in my previous post, technology is no longer the blocking element in the transformation of business and its performance. It is abundant, available, often affordable and easy to acquire. Technically speaking, with the cloud, it is operational almost immediately after purchase (available… not integrated, nuance).
But what is preventing companies from taking advantage of this to transform? Even though, fortunately, the professions have more and more a say, or even lead their own projects in their own corner, the technological vision continues to prevail. How does this translate?
Many are digitizing, few are transformed
Ok to install a new tool. Ok to use a new tool. No way to put the mess everywhere because of that. We digitize the existing (new tools to do as before) but we do not transform the operating methods.
Why ? There are many reasons. Transformation can indeed mean several things.
• Transform processes. Here we come up against the complexity of the task, the mission letter of the project leader (does he have carte blanche to go that far?), His skills (can he do it), the unwillingness of process owners who do not want their baby to be touched or the usual refusal to change work habits.
• Acquire new skills. Some skills will no longer be useful, others will be missing. It is necessary to train, recruit or even separate from certain people. All the more sensitive since it was not identified upstream so let’s continue to do with those who are there.
• Transform others. No one lives on an island disconnected from the world, let alone disconnected from the rest of the business. Sometimes the things to be transformed impact other departments or even are in other departments. If transforming the organization and the processes we have in hand is already complicated, going to another department to say “hey you have to change something at home that has an impact on me” is often a mission impossible.
Selling online is ultimately easy. Ensuring efficient logistics for delivery is already complicated. Playing synergies between online and stores is often a political-organizational nightmare. Who is the sale attributed to? Is online a competitor? But does that change the reception / customer service protocol? But I don’t want to share MY point of contact data, it’s MY customers and MY data.
Simplify the administrative tasks of a sales force so that it is more in the field? Everyone is in favor until the day we realize that part of the sales declaration process had been made to simplify the life of accounting and finance, that they are the owners and do not want to on nothing to change.
Extend the present or build the future?
In short, we can digitize to gain a little speed, but the gains are logically less than expected and that has no fundamental impact on competitiveness since we are doing the same thing but a little faster. Ultimately it is even counterproductive because we will stress all the dysfunctional elements where the friction will be more important and frequent than before. Good thing if you want to change them because it allows them to be identified, bad idea if you can’t / don’t want to change anything. And as I like to remind you: when an organization is dysfunctional, digitization, bringing speed and the ability to operate at scale, allows you to create friction and do anything faster and on a larger scale than before .
Or we can use the new possibilities offered by technology as a pretext to transform ourselves with all the pitfalls mentioned above.
The first approach makes it possible to extend the present (until when?), The second to build the future.
It is therefore essential to make digital a business subject. Not in the traditional sense of informing and involving them (which is the bare minimum) but by giving them the possibility and the means to reinvent themselves, to ask themselves how they would be built today if there were not the weight of the past and the existing.
Digital, subject and general subject matter belonging to experts with digital experience. It is a business subject for marketing, sales, HR, customer service, trades. A bit like science: basic research is good, but without applied research we get no benefit. Rather than asking a generalist to apply the technology to trades they don’t know, ask the trades how they would like to function and operate and you will always find someone to find the technology to match.
Bertrand Duperrin is Digital Transformation Practice Leader in 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.