“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.” Charles Darwin | English Naturalist and Geologist
The pace of technological innovation is changing the face of business faster than ever before.
In the lead up to CeBIT Australia 2017, we had the chance to speak to Oracle’s Senior Director SaaS Product Marketing, Brian Kracik, about the latest technological developments driving digital transformation and what challenges organisations need to overcome to manage the process successfully.
The concept of digital transformation is one of the most hotly debated subjects in business for a number of years now. How would you assess the adoption of the principle in business to date?
Digital transformation now touches all aspects of a business, whether it be the infrastructure that enables a secure, reliable network throughout an organization or the applications that run on the network to facilitate real-time and seamless collaboration with the end-goal of impeccable customer experience.Of course, digital transformation is happening across all industries and continues to accelerate. We are seeing executive positions of Chief Digital Officer/Head of Digital Transformation within enterprises being created and filled. Although this is not in a majority of companies it does represent recognition of the impact and importance that digital transformation is having on business. The digital transformation position is assuming responsibilities for exploring new business models, investigating technologies, and leading cross-functional teams to create and execute on plans.
More and more businesses are looking to create new revenue in this new era where we seamlessly blend the use of physical and digital goods and services. We have all seen the Uber revolution, the Airbnb explosion. On a more technical side Intuit has transformed themselves from a packaged software provider into digital service provider. So the movement in digital transformation is being accelerated by new market entrants, and the resulting competitive pressures are motivating incumbent companies to invest in their own digital transformation.
As businesses drive towards digital transformation they need to create a focus on:
- determining what types of offerings can couple their traditional strengths with new digital capabilities
- what business model(s) they wish to pursue, and
- what customer experience they want to create.
What are the biggest challenges preventing digital transformation in business?
To execute on digital transformation enterprises need to think strongly about deploying digital services, moving to cloud, and creating compelling mobile experiences for customers.
Many of the challenges preventing digital transformations center on the inertia within the organization to continue with “business as usual”. The need to drive transformational thinking throughout the organization and reward the rethinking of how business gets done is paramount.
Another driver of digital transformation centers on creating customer experience for the individual. In a recent study called “Era I” (era individual) we discovered that 84% of enterprises we surveyed say their organization has experienced a trend toward customers wanting a more individualised experience*. In addition, 93% of organizations believe they are leaving money on the table by not successfully offering customers and employees a highly individualised experiences.
What technologies do you expect to drive the further evolution of digital transformation? What impact will they have on business?
Cloud technologies are being leveraged across the enterprise to create fast and agile environments ready to assist in digital transformation. They enable companies to test new strategies quickly setting up PoC and generating ROI models; without requiring upfront infrastructure investment. These highly functional and easy to use services allow the enterprise to quickly spin up new capacity with IaaS, offer new development across the organization to take place on common technology through PaaS, and deploy new capabilities through SaaS.
A recent survey also conveyed that communications technology is viewed as highly strategic for high performing enterprises (10%+ growth over plan). It was also identified that communications is a critical factor in enterprise transformation. Organisations that exceed their growth rate plans, are embedding communications into their business applications at higher rates than underperforming peers. Think of the seamless experience offered by Uber where you transverse from securing a ride via a mobile device, to tracking the vehicle as it arrives, to receiving a message upon arrival, communicating with the driver via voice or text, and then completing the transaction without ever pulling out cash or credit card and instantly receiving your receipt via email. Communications is critical to that efficient and pleasant experience.
Monetisation of new business models and new digital offerings will require new technologies and capabilities beyond simple homegrown invoicing solutions. These new solutions enable enterprises to bill on first-usage, bill across any metric (time, volume, clicks), package offerings in innovative bundles, charge one-time fees - recurring fees and consumption-based fees, create new digital services, subscription services, individualized offers, and more nimble better discounting.
Technologies that deliver advanced analytic capabilities are critical to success in a digital age. As business models evolve and customer relationships become more recurring, companies gain the ability to gather data to analyze customer preferences and respond quickly or even predictively with customized offerings that deliver a more individualised experience.
Technologies that improve process automation are key as well since automation liberates workers from repetitive tasks and enables businesses to innovate. Some of the technologies that improve automation include artificial intelligence, connected devices and machine learning.
Digital transformation is often discussed as something that needs to be led from the top. However, in an environment where employees are increasingly technologically savvy, they may also have a lot of ideas to contribute to the process. Do you think a hybrid top-down bottom-up approach may deliver the best results?
Digital transformation, like any successful change management initiative, needs to be guided by the top but fueled, developed and delivered by a cross functional hybrid team.
Limiting the innovation and transformational ideas to a few could damage not only the vision, but the speed in which that vision gets fulfilled. Often times the most modern technology is being brought into the organisation by employees, leveraging and implementing your employee’s experiences will speed a digital transformation. However, to achieve success, employee led innovation should map into the strategy and end-state outlined, communicated and agreed upon by all.
Do you think SMEs are better or worse placed to cope with the demands of digital transformation?
SME’s are in the same position as any enterprise that is embarking on a digital transformation. Like their larger counterparts, they need to define their direction, decide on business models, and create compelling customer experiences. They perhaps can direct resources and stop existing inertia more quickly than large enterprises. From a technology perspective SMEs through cloud now have substantially more capability and access to the same technology as their larger counterparts.
You will be presenting at CeBIT Australia 2017. What can conference attendees hope to gain from your talk?
The conference attendees will come away with an understanding of how enterprise communications can be used to create strategic differentiation. I will talk about how our customers have been able to deploy digital businesses and create new customer experiences. I will also talk about the core elements of developing a secure communications network, strong employee collaboration, a mobile customer experiences, and a subscription based billing model.
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