Digital Transformation

17/09/2018

Over the last two decades, digitalization disrupted our whole ecosystem from society to economy to science. It has become more difficult to think of an area in our lives that isn’t affected by digital technologies than to think of one that is: technology enhancements have been transforming the way we learn, we transfer assets and even the way we interact with each others at an impressive pace.

Shared problems across industries
In the context of the economy, processes that were once predictable and linear have now become multi-faceted, unforeseeable and chaotic. Although the extent to which each industry has been disrupted might vary, the tech revolution poses new crucial challenges to companies, such as the need of re-thinking internal processes (think of remote working or outsourcing), the adaption of existing solutions to new technological and digital standards such as automatization or the necessity to continuously explore new product or update existing ones to meet new market demand. However, it is particularly interesting to observe how despite the existence of such similar challenges, few common solutions actually exist. Yet there are a few hints on where the journey might take us.

Challenge the status quo
Due to technological advances, industries become more and more intertwined. Let’s take for example the food industry: through the Blockchain technology it is theoretically possible to track every single ingredient of a product back to its origins. In addition, thanks to barcode-scanning, digital payments and dedicated apps, it is also possible to constantly keep track of what a consumer eats, where he shops or what he cooks. This gigantic pool of data connects industries – such as the insurance and health industry, agriculture, logistics, restaurants and even sales – and provides them with new data-driven insights.

Hence, digitalization and the interconnection of industries open a box of Pandora full of new business possibilities. It is therefore essential to identify new use cases in order to tap into unexplored revenue streams and business models.

Focus on the client
As a study of the MIT Center for Digital Business recently found, clients are one of the main reasons why companies feel the pressure to change. The additional information made available through the digitalization equips customers with more decision power they ever had before and empowers them to express their expectations in a fast, timely manner. In order to meet those expectations, it is crucial to gain deep knowledge about the customers, what they think and feel. This is the reason why consumer-centric approaches have been taking afoot over the past decades and are more and more considered as a key strategic element for a successful growth strategy.

Fail fast and cheap
Working with digital technologies means working in a world of updates and constant change. The mantra «fail fast and fail cheap» is the only way to save money on technologies or applications nobody really has experience with. Prototyping is the perfect means to reach that purpose: knowing how to build a minimal viable product in basically no time and with almost no money is becoming a must for companies that want to explore new products and services at basically zero-risk. This may sound easy, but based on our experience we know it takes time and constant exercise to excel at this task. But once the mentality of failing fast is incorporated, it becomes a powerful resilience-tool.

Close the gap between innovation and execution
Although there might not be the one recipe for a company or a manager to succeed with digital transformation, we believe that putting the consumer at the core of your design, challenge the status quo of your own business and translate your failures into quick learnings might be a good onset.

by Barbara Schnyder, Business Associate

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