The road to digital transformation: From whining to winning

The road to digital transformation: From whining to winning

Digital & Technology

Lester Fernandes

Lester Fernandes

297 week ago — 5 min read

Given the all-pervasive imperative today to transform to a digital organisation, CXOs (Chief Executive Officers) within organisations have digital transformation very high on their agenda. Not only within the organisation, but valued customers and the supply ecosystem also want organisations to be digitally transformed immediately, sometimes, even when they themselves are lagging far behind. What then will drive the shift from a whining to a winning mindset as more and more organisations take on their own digital transformation head on?

First and foremost, organisations will have to take a step back to understand their motivation for digital transformation – this will necessarily involve well-thought and clearly articulated answers to the following questions by key executives:

  1. Why the need for digital transformation now? (Business Imperative – driven by customers, competitors, market trends?)

  2. What are we trying to achieve by digital transformation? (New, discontinued or changed service offerings?)

  3. Where are we looking at digitally transforming ourselves? (Which geographies, markets and services?)

  4. Who are we digitally transforming for (external stakeholders) and who are we transforming (internal stakeholders)? (Customers/ employees/ suppliers/ partners)

  5. When can we consider ourselves digitally transformed? (Achieving what progress milestone on the digital transformation blueprint/ roadmap?)

  6. How are we going to get there? (What change in processes and offerings will help us reach the above progress milestone?)

  7. How do we combine the above disparate questions and their specific answers to come to an integrated organisation-wide imperative for digital transformation?

Coming back to our original question – How do we change our mindset from whining to winning in our quest for digital transformation?

The answer is twofold:

I)    Removal of hybrid hurdles – A lethal combination of organisational change, different ways of working, revenue increase vs. cost decrease, departmental silos, disparate data sources, distinct view of customers, new technology skills – to summarise a few.

II)   Addition of novel narratives for going digital – Artificial Intelligence, Social Media (Big Data), Mobile (Apps, Geo-location), Cloud (Computing, Data Storage), Blockchain (Distributed Ledger), Internet of Things (IoT), Robotics, Augmented Reality/ Virtual Reality (AR/VR) – to name a few today. More importantly, the organisation needs to clearly understand what the technology can do with various aspects related to revenue increase, cost decrease or even entirely spawning new streams of connected revenue or new industry revenue.

Collaboratively, the organisation has to ideate and prioritise the implementation of at least 1-3 novel narratives from the above list, being cognizant of its unique strengths, customer requirements and execution capabilities. Then, the organisation has to rapidly, at least in comparison to immediate competition, deliver to these priorities quickly, delight existing customers and new prospects and propel the organisation towards a winning path.

A recent study from MIT Sloan Management Review and The Boston Consulting Group, September 2018 categorically concludes that digital transformation driven by Artificial Intelligence pioneers prioritise revenue-generating applications over cost-saving ones. This will only propel the organisation further along a virtuous expansion cycle with each novel narrative building upon the previous one.

Go from whining to winning along the road to digital transformation – be a pioneer by starting small, establish and execute to short and long-term strategic priorities and see your efforts being amply rewarded.

Citations: S. Ransbotham, P. Gerbert, M. Reeves, D. Kiron, and M. Spira, “Artificial Intelligence in Business Gets Real,” MIT Sloan Management Review and The Boston Consulting Group, September 2018.


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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views, official policy or position of GlobalLinker. 


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Lester Sebastiao Fernandes

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