I had a conversation yesterday with CrowdyVest during their monthly Business Mentorship Series on Instagram on how organizations can accelerate business growth with digital transformation. I thought to curate and share the transcript of the conversation we had, i hope you find it worthwhile.
Tell us a little bit about yourself
(Introduction, Marketing Journey)
Hmnn, interesting, my journey into marketing started about 12 years ago just immediately after college, I worked with an insurance company as a marketing officer, you know those types of marketing, maybe they should have just called us sales agents sha,
However, after NYSC I had another stint with another insurance company as a marketing officer I did that for a while also before I joined Konga in 2013 as a content writer, and that changed my perception of what marketing is, it was my entrance not just into the world of marketing but also into the world of digital disruption in the retail industry, cos I joined Konga just few months after it started.
Ever since then, I have been able to work across the different spectrum of marketing from digital marketing, to brand management, strategy, product marketing and growth. My experience in marketing now cut across different industries from Financial services, Ecommerce, Technology, Energy to Consulting
What is digital transformation? What does it entail and how does it apply to businesses and business growth?
Maybe we should start with what Digital Transformation is NOT, so there have been so many misconceptions about what digital transformation is, some feels it is the application of digital technology to fast track a traditional business model.
Some also think it is Using digital marketing to market an old business model, or having presence on online on social media, get a beautiful website that portrays the business as technology driven…
Digital transformation is not about building software and buying different technology tools.
Digital transformation is fundamentally NOT about technology but about STRATEGY!
Most of the things we call #DigitalTransformation are mere digital change initiatives. Like getting a robust CRM or ERP software and activating digital media.
What then is Digital Transformation?
So Digital transformation in a lay man’s term is simply the process of shifting an organisation from a traditional or legacy approach to new ways of working and thinking using digital and emerging technologies. It has so much to do with mindset.
I like the way Salesforce put it this “Digital transformation is the process of using digital technologies to create new — or modify existing — business processes, CULTURE, and customer experiences to meet changing business and market requirements. This reimagining of business in the digital age is digital transformation”.
It is the integration of digital technology into all areas of a business from product development, customer service, operations, organization culture etc, fundamentally changing how you operate and deliver value to customers.
What does digital transformation entail?
It involves business readiness and digital maturity which is assessed based on six dimensions:
• The People
• Technology and finally,
• Customers and Partners.
It involves a paradigm shift in mindset,
Sometimes change in leadership, different thinking,
The encouragement of innovation and new business models,
Incorporating digitization of assets and an increased use of technology to improve the experience of your organisation’s employees, customers, suppliers, partners and stakeholders.
It’s also involving a cultural change that requires organizations to continually challenge the status quo, experiment, and get uncomfortable with failure.
How does it apply to businesses and business growth?
Businesses need to understand that consumer behavior has changed, the availability of smart devices and internet access alone has changed the whole business landscape, technology has impacted the way we live, interact, socialize and do business. Today in world of business you can sit in the comfort of your home in Nigeria and order products online and get it delivered
Digital technology apparently increases operational efficiency
Today you don’t necessarily need a big office space or hundreds of staff to run a multi-millionaire business, technology driven business model has made it easy for entrepreneurs to run business from any part of the world.
1. It reduces operational costs,
Imagine having a 100-man employee deliver a revenue of 100billion annually to having over 5000 employees deliver the same figure.
2. It provides easy access to data base insight that can be used to make better business decision.
3. It facilitates improved collaboration
4. It also enables open communication among the different stakeholders. It offers an excellent opportunity for leaders to set organizational goals and create roadmaps for individuals and teams, to achieve a state of digital congruence.
5. It promotes business agility
Can you share specific examples of businesses that embraced digital transformation? What were the outcomes?
Let’s start with Telecommunications before 1999, I guess you can just imagine or compare how we were living then to how we are living now, there was a major disruption with the entrance od mobile telecommunications company which has served as a bedrock for other disruptive innovations.
Another good example is banking sector in Nigeria Today you don’t need to queue in banks to open an account, save money or perform some basic transactions, with Crowdyvest now you can save and invest from the comfort of your home. We can bank from the comfort of our homes today, and this is beyond having mobile banking apps, I mean we now have full digital banks.
Today Netflix is the largest media-streaming and video-rental company without a video. Netﬂix disrupting the TV broad-casting and ﬁlm industry
With Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer, YouTube, now you can enjoy thousands of music without stacking up CDs
Today Airbnb is worth more than Marriott, Hilton, InterContinental, and Hyatt Hotels combined without a single hotel of its own.
What are the challenges businesses can face when transitioning into the digital space and how can they work around them
Successful Digital Transformation requires not only the right set of tools but the right expertise & guidance to drive the process for the best results.
Organizational culture and structure is a major barrier to digital business transformation, According to McKinsey 70% of digital transformations fail, most often due to resistance from employees.
The reality today is that digital transformation is not just about technologies. It is also about your organization’s ability to adapt to these changes. Even if you develop a robust digital transformation strategy, governing organization-wide change can be one of the most prominent digital transformation problems.
According to Capgemini 77% of companies consider missing digital skills as the key hurdle to their digital transformation. Possessing the right IT resources are some of the critical challenges related to digital transformation. In terms of IT resources, lack of workforce and talent war are two aspects that act as a hurdle to a successful digital transformation.
Digital Technology capabilities for new and emerging technologies are rare skills and this sometimes hinder the progress of digital transformation.
Cost or Budget
To drive digital transformation, organizations need to make an investment in acquiring the right technology and the right digital experience team to execute it. Thus, the whole process requires a good amount of capital, which may initially lead to lower profits, but in the long run, this investment will become one of the primary reasons for your business’s success.
Agile Transformation is the heart of digitization and scaling is important for any successful digital transformation in large enterprises. Even a study reveals that 68% of companies identified agility as one of their most important initiatives for a successful digital transformation.
However, becoming agile before embarking upon a successful digital transformation journey is a challenge, and many organizations fail in their agile transformation process.