March 26, 2023

Much has been written about digital transformation, this new industrial revolution boosted by the meteoric advancement of new technologies, offering many opportunities to increase the limits of what is possible across all sectors.

However, leading a digital transformation that lives up to its promise is not easy. All too often problems arise during the particular execution and adoption phases because pushing the limitations of the possible, even when systems allow it, can only be achieved by changing people’s frame associated with reference. This is the major reason why, despite all the new technology being made more available and accessible, despite everything that has been written about electronic transformation, most digital transformations fail.

We are used to thinking that will to succeed in digital transformation, we must become customer centric. Put ourself in the customers’ shoes. Think like them. Live their life. Think about solutions that will solve their problems.

This is actually the first mistake.

Instead of evolving, those who embrace a customer-centric approach will merely “continue” as is: continue to operate an existing and proven business model, always improve, continue to exist in a specific environment where everyone has a specific place, according to known rules of the game, continue to grow plus derive maximum growth and profitability.

As counterintuitive as it may seem, being customer-centric is anything but the particular right approach to digital change.

Transforming an organization’s existing rituals, habits, established logics, and frictions that have become a good integral part of normality, to bring out new foundations, brand new interactions, new uses, brand new processes, which will give birth to a new generation of value propositions, requires thinking differently, especially thinking differently than your own customer. Because Henry Ford said: “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses. ” Indeed, customers can easily describe, understand, interpret, express their needs within the limits associated with what they see plus know within the present. They cannot end up being expected in order to transcend the here and now.

The 1st thing to successfully executing an electronic transformation will be therefore not to be customer-centric; it is to be non-customer centric.

Which leads us to the Market.

Many would tell you that market studies are essential for determining whether or not a new digital product or service is commercially viable.  

This is the particular second mistake.

The definition of the market is the definition of the particular existing. The way the market is usually segmented is the way all of us look at and analyze the established order. This particular is an essential exercise to position ourselves, and evolve, in that order.

To transform digitally is definitely to free oneself from the way in which one perceives the market, its dynamics, its logic of segmentation and evolution with the glasses of the current or even supposed participation in this design.

The market is the particular associated with the contours associated with segments within which the competition of actors moves, all frozen in a known economic dance, whose past, trends, hypotheses of growth or decline have been or can be analyzed.

The execution of a digital transformation can be transformative in that it becomes the cause that produces the effect associated with new marketplace segments, hitherto unknown and undocumented within available market researchs.

The approach in order to digital transformation is not 1 that takes place with the particular prerequisite of market segmentation. It is the a single that is certainly implemented with that of a de-segmentation associated with the Market. Where others see today 1, 2, 3 distinct markets, such as health, automotive and banking, the implementation of the digital transformation is based on considering groups of needs that transcend and connect them together to finally make a single one entirely homogeneous.

Which leads us to the Experience.

Digital transformation offers the potential to revolutionize the human experience, to improve our quality of life plus spur economic growth.  

However, these are experiences that, for the particular most component, are made inaccessible or even unimaginable, if the two previous mistakes are not become avoided. These are also experiences that can be promising, beneficial, on a disproportionate and unparalleled scale, in record time, thanks to the possibilities of ubiquity offered by electronic technologies. Some have understood that digital transformation is reflected simply by a trend: software will be eating the particular world. A few then provide themselves the main objective of becoming software companies in order to develop products and services that are enabled, enhanced, magnified or even replaced by the particular softwarisation.

This is the third error.

To change digitally is usually to understand that a product or service vision, whether hardware or software, is definitely deeply plus undoubtedly reductive and limiting. As Steve Jobs comprehended: “you’ve got to start with the customer experience and work backwards for the technology. ”

In life, as in business, we are and become what we do. Making software is not really making the digital modification. It’s just making software program. Doing a digital transformation means transforming the particular customer experience. All the means are usually good, hardware, software plus human, as long as they are together put at the support of one or even more of these 4 challenges:

It is therefore crucial not to confuse the end and the particular means. The particular goal associated with digital transformation is just not to become a Software-Company, but an Experience-Company.

That leads all of us towards the Enterprise.

Succeeding in creating new customer experiences cannot be achieved without a change, an development, and sometimes a revolution from the system that creates the current Customer Experiences.

Electronic transformation inherently induces such changes, which usually affect all the components of the program on which the organization is based, including talents, skills, processes, governance, ways of working and above almost all, culture.

This naturally leads companies in order to shape plus lead their own transformation because an Enterprise-wide project, including in the particular best case scenarios just about all the functions of the system (Engineering, HR, Finance, Purchasing, Sales, Marketing, etc. ), yet often within a logic of the vacuum, which is moreover in a silo.

This particular is the particular fourth mistake.

The electronic transformation of the company is more than just a good enterprise-wide alteration project which, moreover, might be carried out by function as a spare part, as if the right hand did not need to know what the left hand can be doing.

Since the foundations of the company’s system are furthermore outside the company – in particular with its customers, shareholders, investors, suppliers, alliances and partners, institutional and associative links – its digital transformation requires a plan plus an strategy that goes beyond its walls, and therefore to not consider the company since disconnected from its external stakeholders.

The creation associated with value that will emerges from your design of new encounters requires transforming all forms of involvement coming or likely to come from internal and exterior aspects of the particular company, current or brand new, in the holistic way, therefore such as the 2 sides from the same integrated system.

This particular particularity makes digital change for better of companies much a lot more than an enterprise-wide project. It is a good ecosystem-wide task orchestrated by the organization.

Which prospects us in order to the Impact.

The demand is changing, and this has changed a lot these last twenty years. Major societal issues have emerged, like global warming or even plastic pollution, that demand change. A more tenuous link compared to before exists between the environment plus the way in which the business must understand its role and its mission as a responsible economic actor. Digital transformation strategies must take these factors into account. In fact , the idea that societal and environmental context should have little or no influence in the particular choices and decisions to be made in the execution of a digital change, is a decoy.

This is the fifth mistake.

Given the grand challenges associated with our time, digital changes must push us to some new normal where “Sustainable Growth” plus “Sustainable Development” are not antonyms but synonyms. Companies that fail to realize and embrace the social issues that shape need will turn into businesses whose expiration dates are usually closer and closer, no matter how hard these people try in order to digitally transform.

Digital transformation is above all the transformation in the way of solving (big) problems with an user-centric approach. Any digital modification must go hand in hand along with a greater opportunity to place people and society in the center of the worth creation process while strengthening one of the most critical aspects of our own intelligence, that will which any other artificial cannot replace: empathy.

On the contrary, any digital transformation that fails to transform methods for thinking simply by solving problems with the user and therefore the human being at the heart, is certainly doomed in order to create a double harmful effect: not really only that of amplifying inefficiency in establishing financial viability, yet also that of multiplying the particular handicaps plus constraints that will prevent us from building good for society.

Paradoxically, digital transformation is not that much about technologies but the opportunity to shape new augmented human encounter that it is up to us to create.

About the author:
Hamilton Mann may be the Group VP of Digital Transformation and Digital Marketing associated with Thales, a global leader in advanced technologies, investing in electronic and “deep tech” innovations—connectivity, big data, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and quantum technologies. The Team provides the customers—businesses, organizations and governments—in the particular defense, aeronautics, space, and digital identity and security fields with options, services, plus products that help them fulfil their particular critical part, with individual beings from the heart of every decision.

Hamilton is also the President of the Electronic Transformation Club of INSEAD Alumni Association France, mentor on the MIT Priscilla King Gray Center, contributor at Harvard Business Review Italy, and Host of The particular Hamilton Mann Conversation , a Masterclass Podcast about Digital for Good. Hamilton was voted among the Top 10 Global Thought Leaders and Influencers on Digital Disruption by Thinkers 360 in 2021 and 2022. Hamilton is really a graduate associated with MIT Sloan School of Management, INSEAD plus EDHEC Company School.

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