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IT Leadership

Digital Business – the new reality!

Digital Business

We hear an awful lot about the new IT forces for change, often referred to a SMAC – Social, Mobile, Analytics, Cloud. We also hear that we are in the “Age of the Customer”, others also refer to the “Age of Context” and we are hearing a lot of hype about the “Internet of Things” and the “Internet of Everything”.

More recently the growing phrase to bring all this together is the “Digital Business or Enterprise“. We also hear various articles asking…. your employees are digital, what about your business? So what is it and why should I care?

What is Digital Business?

Most break it into two pieces:

  • Digital Customer Experience, and
  • Digital Operational Excellence

This graphic from Forrester helps to summarise what they mean.



Digital Customer Experience

The digital customer experience is all about how a customer has a seamless experience as they interact with your business, everything from browsing your services or products, ordering, tracking, customer service etc.

How do you surprise and delight the customer, for example, by providing them helpful buying guides, user manuals, by allowing them to customise the product, or other items that show you go above and beyond to help them?

Digital Operational Excellence

Digital Operational Excellence, is a different viewpoint and just as important, and is often the key to making sure your customers experience really is top class and not just window dressing or “smoke and mirrors”!

This is the internal Enterprise view of digital, is your Enterprise truly digital from end to end or have you just put together some pieces to give the customer the things they need. A truly digital Enterprise will more quickly be able to react to the changing market place and provide new capabilities for the customer.

How is Digital changing Business?

I came across this great article from Pearl Zhu on how digital is changing business: Five Digital Impacts in Modern Business ~ Future of CIO.

Digital makes profound impact from specific functions to business as a whole, with the goals to delight customers and achieve high-performance.

Knowledge Flow: Digital means flow, data flow, information flow and insight flow.

Complexity Optimisation: Complexity Management is the critical digital capability to minimize value-destroying complexity and efficiently control value-adding complexity in a cross-functional approach.

Structure design: Majority of organizations are designed to improve functional efficiency in the industrial era; and many traditional organizations today are running at two speeds, with the industrial speed, it can continue to keep the business light on; and with the digital speed, it will adapt to the more frequent digital disruptions, wired to change and designed for better innovation toward long term digital transformation.

Nexus of Forces: Gartner refers digital technologies SMAC-Social, Mobile, Analytics and Cloud as the Nexus of Forces and, of course, IT leaders need to pay attention to their huge impact.

Change Agent: New ways to learn, share and collaborate via direct applications at the corporate level. Digital acts as an enabler for change.

In the new age of consumerization of IT, digital customers and employees expect applications to be intuitive and task-oriented. Consumers and employees are using the same technology devices for similar activities whether they are at work or at home.

What should we do?

McKinsey provide some good advice for companies: Accelerating the digitization of business processes | McKinsey & Company.

They say that Customers have been spoiled. Thanks to companies such as Amazon and Apple, they now expect every organization to deliver products and services swiftly, with a seamless user experience.

Their advice:

  • Start at the end state and work back
  • Tackle the end-to-end customer experience
  • Build capabilities
  • Move quickly

For more information see this really useful article from Inc. which looks at Digital Transformation and the Digital Customer Experience. They recognise that the Digital Enterprise is in its infancy, however the 7 findings from their research and the benefits they highlight are very real.



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