To survive—and thrive—leaders must focus their strategies on two overarching goals: maintaining a competitive advantage and enabling the ability to win in a way that embraces rather than resists change. In the twenty-first century, an adaptive business is typically powered by digital technology, prompting many organizations to pursue digital transformation. However, many transformations fail because it is challenging to drive cross-functional change, plan beyond one technology at a time, and develop a strategy that can withstand as technology evolves and organizations' core assumptions shift.
Organizations require a common language for digital transformation as part of their business strategy to drive their capacity for change and ability to win. This can help them avoid the trap of pursuing a technology-first approach instead of starting with strategy in a way that ultimately leads to greater value.
Five digital imperatives: A common language
We’ve identified five business outcomes that technology impacts and enables.
- Experiences: Focuses on creating interactions that are seamless, efficient, productive, secure, differentiated, and joyous for users, whether a customer, part of the workforce or another stakeholder within the ecosystem.
- Insights: Assesses what data, analysis, operating model, and workforce are required to enable business, product, customer, or workforce strategies.
- Platforms: Focuses on how information needs to be stored, processed, networked, and secured across an organization with a range of potential technologies available.
- Connectivity: Involves information flow considerations in terms of how platforms, experiences, and insights are powered, touching on the future of the internet and networking with other organizations/ecosystems
- Integrity: Focuses on driving purpose and improving resilience, security, and trust across all internal and external facing business systems and processes and involves creating a cyber-minded culture enterprise-wide to address continuously evolving threats.
Driving an effective digital transformation: Four actionable recommendations
Our digital imperatives can enable organizations to drive transformations that align to their overarching ambition while remaining open to future strategy changes. The framework we’re proposing can help organizations take the following key actions:
- Develop adaptive strategies: Ask the tough questions – Are technology investments explicitly tied to the corporate strategy? Do we have the right leadership, operating model, and workforce to execute that strategy?
- Translate across teams: If your leadership team isn't talking the same language, spend time cross educating and cross-pollinating to get to the same language.
- Build 'no regret' muscles: Take a hard line to shut down non–essential investments and, instead, make a smaller number of bigger bets aligned to your true corporate strategy.
- Seek a state of dynamic equilibrium: Look to achieve a fluid, fungible, integrated technology strategy where the variables in the equation are unchanging over time.
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