Digital transformation - A brief guideline

Digitalization is one of the most often used buzzwords in recent times. Topics such as Agile Development, Big Data, Industry 4.0 or Internet of Things (IoT) are often used in the same context. But what exactly is digitalization and what fundamental changes can be expected as a result of digital transformations?

What does the term «Digitalization» actually mean?

Digitalization is often times described as a transformation, in which new technologies are being used to redefine existing, as well as new business models in a more agile and innovative way.

New technical solutions with smart and better-connected products & services can result out of such digital transformation exercises. These products and services ultimately better meet the client’s needs and promote a stronger integration of the customer in the design and governance of external business processes. In return, organizations benefit from improved insights on anticipated customer behavior.

Likewise, a digital transformation exercise can also result in more efficient process and workflow structures within an organization, which can have a significant impact on the future development of streamlined business models.

What impact does the digital transformation have on our life?

Life in general, as well as the economy has been drastically impacted and transformed due to digitalization. Even though volatility, uncertainty and complexity have increased as part of this digital revolution, the global interconnectedness in combination with the further dissolution of territorial boundaries has opened up a whole new range of opportunities.

In order to take advantage of these altered relationship structures, organizations have to commit to agile principles for the rapid development of new products and services. Apart from reducing time to market, the financial commitment for the development of new products and services has been substantially lowered and only amounts to a fraction of the originals costs. End users thereby benefit from a more convincing value proposition that meets their needs and better solves their most pressing problems.

How can organizations kick-start a digitalization exercise?

Organizations that are looking to capitalize on the new range of opportunities are well-advised in setting up an environment, in which a digital revolution can take place and digital work can be performed. A prerequisite for an environment that allows for digital innovation is that appropriate internal structures are given and know-how regarding agile project methodologies is present.

Digital successful organizations clearly separate digital transformation exercises from its daily business. Often times a digital project team is created, innovation labs are made available or even independent start-ups are being founded. However, the most crucial element of a digitalization transformation is often times forgotten: strong commitment towards digitalization from the leadership team. Top management needs to set an example early on as cultural transformations are initiated from the top.

What should be kept in mind when conducting such an initiative?

With digitalization being one of the most often used buzzwords in recent times, it comes as no surprise that there are different understandings and opposing views on what digitalization entails. MMG however believes that the following three topics should be kept in mind and serve as a guideline when conducting a digitalization initiative:

At first, clients should take center stage in all digitalization initiatives. The client should no longer be treated as a mere consumer but instead be seen as a value-adding partner. Organizations are well-advised in including and giving voice to customers over the entire digitalization timeline.

Second, organizations that are looking to accelerate innovation and continuous adaption should get used to working in cycles and with experiments. The rationale behind this idea is that the continuous learning and improvement process can offset the digitalization side effects of increased risk, as well as higher levels of uncertainty. Working with unbiased experiments and prototypes allows organizations to create a product or services tailored to the exact needs of the customer.

At last, organizations can benefit and generate significant advantages by utilizing existing services of others. Market leading players such as Snapchat or Instagram have taken advantage of modern technologies to reach a critical size in very short periods of time. As a result of cloud technologies and «as a service» offerings (SaaS, PaaS, IaaS etc.), organizations can nowadays scale their systems according to their needs in no time. Businesses are therefore well-advised in using existing services whenever possible.

What is the current level of digital maturity across organizations?

The digital transformation across today’s global economy is in full swing. According to a study done by a leading software provider, the topic of digitalization is omnipresent and of highest priority among top leadership of leading institutions.

More than 80% of the companies surveyed have stated that a digitalization project is planned for 2017, more than 60% have already created a cross-functional team and around 45% defined digital transformation as their number one priority.

How can MMG support organizations as a digitalization partner?

The team of MMG has extensive strategic and operational experience in the areas of innovation, process improvements and digitalization.

MMG as a digitalization partner can actively support businesses in the definition of a strategic roadmap and the development of a digital business model. In addition, MMG can rely on extensive experience in agile project management, the documentation and definition of processes, as well as in the development of future requirements for innovative products and services.

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