Economies are changing. Industries are changing. Markets are changing. Consumers are changing and shopping differently. As competitive advantages evolve into market standards, areas of competition move. Today we witness competitive battlefields moving to data utilization and digital transformation initiatives. When considering how your company needs to digitally transform, there are three very important questions to ask:
- How am I defining digital transformation?
- What is motivating me to digitally transform?
- Why should I digitally transform now?
As a definition for digital transformation I use - rethinking, redesigning and restructuring technology and business models to more quickly and effectively respond to and engage employees, partners and customers in digital environments.
To answer the questions about motivation, I propose there are eight key forces at work today that are motivating digital transformation:
- Real-time mobile apps and data
- Real-time sensor data (IoT)
- Real-time analytics
- Real-time situational awareness
- Real-time business operational tempos
- Real-time intelligent process automation
- Real-time contextual understanding
- Real-time personalization of user experiences
There is an obvious theme here, “real-time.” Real-time, as a mainstream requirement, first gained importance with the advent of the Internet and e-commerce, and then exponentially increased in importance when mobile devices connected to the Internet. Today mobile commerce represents 34% of the global e-commerce market, but by 2018 it is expected to represent 47% and these consumers are impatient. These consumers are mobile, and the context of their mobile searches and app usage changes second by second as they move throughout their day. Real-time context is key to a successful user experience in this environment, and businesses with consumer facing mobile apps need to be moving toward real-time now. That is not easy.
As competition increases and the sophistication of mobile apps grow, so also does consumer expectations. Today mobile apps need to be personalized in real-time, contextually relevant, and mobile payments and wallets supported. These requirements break IT. Traditional IT environments are not meant for such speeds. Business processes are not designed for real-time operational tempos. Humans are not capable of scaling up to process, analyze and understand millions of data transactions daily.
As businesses recognize “real-time” requirements are not going away, and that “real-time” is mandatory to compete, they must take inventory of their existing IT environments and take the necessary steps to digitally transform.
Today’s competition takes place around data and speed. The winners of a digital tomorrow will invest in five key areas:
- becoming a data-driven business
- improving the quality and speed of their information logistics systems
- achieving real-time operational tempos
- redesigning and rearchitecting for business agility
- utilizing real-time contextually relevant data to personalize digital user experiences
Businesses must recognize the demand for real-time operational tempos is only going to increase and this requires strategy, action and a budget.
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