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Strategy, and not technology, drives digital transformation


Market pundits have been continuously advocating that every business should be a digital business and ignoring digital disruption could lead to a company’s downfall


By Ashwani Mishra,

Market pundits have been continuously advocating that every business should be a digital business and ignoring digital disruption could lead to a company’s downfall.

Without doubt and any argument, digital certainly is the future. However, the bigger concern is whether you, as a C-suite business leader, possess accurate awareness or insight on what digital means to your business?

For some companies digital appears as a range of simultaneous projects or rolling out a couple of apps to tap an opportunity or solve some quick problems. Some enterprises are missing out on the big picture. It’s only a select few that are embarking on a digital journey to create clear business advantages; deliver value and the capability to innovate and scale.

The one key factor which has remained unchanged in terms of business survival over the few years has been ‘innovation’. What has changed is the speed and scale at which enterprises must innovate to remain competitive in a digital economy.

Enterprises that think that spending on a big data solution and extracting smart, intelligent data out of it or having blockchain or machine learning solutions can transform their business are simply falling into a trap. Real digital transformation can only happen when business models and methods are well thought of by leaders, and who are committed to lead the competition through future practices.

Take the case of the largest cab hailing service. Their success is a result of how technology has allowed them to put the customer at the forefront. They have no legacy of ‘employing’ cab drivers, so when it launched ‘Self-Driving’ cabs, it wasn’t much of business model problem.

Business leaders can also pull a leaf out of the evolution of digital technologies that has compelled the banking sector to re-imagine the way it does business. New business models are staging a grand entry on the financial landscape. In the pre-digital era, it was standard practice to have customers coming to the branch to conduct transactions. Today, that way of life has been enhanced, with digitization creating the capability to provide technology-enabled platforms for transactional ease and service excellence, which continues to be the guiding principle for determining the relationship and sustainability between a customer and his/her bank.

In both these cases, there is a clear vision on the role of technology, cultural milieu and the ethos that is required to be enmeshed while creating strategies that keep the customer at the fulcrum.

Each business can be a disruptor if it strategizes and champions business transformation internally. For C-suite executives who fail to embrace this method of thinking may very soon find themselves replaced by those who will.

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