Having recently published our Top 20 Global Thought Leaders on Digital Transformation – June 2018, we asked a selection of our Thinkers360 global influencers and thought leaders about their thoughts on digital transformation and what we can expect to see over the next three years.
We were particularly interested in finding out what issues they believe will be top-of-mind for C-level executives over the next three years and where they anticipate enterprises will be in their digital transformation journeys in three years’ time.
On what’s top-of-mind, topics such as transparency, privacy, transforming culture and organizational models, re-skilling the workforce, improving customer experience, executing bold new business models (beyond mere optimization of the current status quo), converting proof-of-concepts into full-scale digital wins – as well as technologies such as blockchain and artificial intelligence – all came into the discussion.
One of the key issues is still how to ensure success and get the incredible economic returns that come with successful digital transformation. The people and process side is also proving to be just as, if not more, challenging than the technical side of the transformation.
On what we can expect to see over the next three years, stay tuned for Part 2 of this blog, coming next week…
What issues will be top-of-mind for C-levels with regard to digital transformation over the next three years?
Transparency is one: digital tools, from blockchain to satellite monitoring, are driving greater scrutiny of supply chains. There’s an opportunity to show leadership and demonstrate best practice through voluntary disclosure. Privacy and data propriety is another, much in the spotlight with the EU’s new data protection regulation. C-levels with foresight will also be mindful of the rise of artificial intelligence, automation and smart technologies – both for opportunities and for possible disruption to their business model and workforce.
Over the next three years, enterprise executives should be thinking in two dimensions. First, how will they transform their culture, their organizational models, and how will they re-skill their workforce for the fundamental changes that will take place within the enterprise as digital transformation starts having significant impact on how organizations operate and function. This is most important as it will build the capabilities they need to deal with rapid change and adapt in the face of uncertainty. Second, they need to be looking at the technologies that are most likely to represent disruptive risk and/or transformational opportunities for them. These will most likely include technologies such as cognitive platforms, distributed ledgers, and the broader application of data into every facet of operations.
– Charles Araujo, Industry Analyst, Author & Professional Speaker, CharlesAraujo.com
The past 3-5 years have been focused on ‘digitizing’ the back-office, modernizing the infrastructure and investing in new customer facing systems and tools. Much of this work has been technical in nature. However, to truly ‘transform’ companies must move from being internally focused (product-led) to externally focused (customer-led) and leverage all the capabilities “digital” brings to improve the overall customer experience. The people / process side is proving to be just as, if not more, challenging than the technical transformation.
– Tiffani Bova, Growth and Innovation Evangelist, Salesforce
Every executive leader of major US corporations we researched just told us in research with Forbes Insights they are digitally transforming or at least on that pathway. They are investing at least 10 hours of their time on it and 98.5% of them get there is a dramatic upside. Only one in three though is getting measured and extra ordinary results (Across 28 metrics). The scary reality is that 30% are so under-performing (in their own words) that the waste is appalling. So, if we were members of the C suite in a major corporation, the next three years isn’t about doing it; but learning how to do it right.
Understanding far better what is driving this all (the seven drivers), what the real challenges to success are (7) and the Digital Helix components (7) is key. We built algorithms to test this with extensive data from each major corporation we researched with and getting these 7X7x7 model right (340+ variations of combinations) was an 80%+ predictor of economic success.
The C-suite has to navigate the new world in new ways and cannot expect to think, design or operate as they have done before to get the incredible economic returns that come with successful digital transformation.
– Michael Gale and Chris Aarons are co-authors of the Wall Street Journal and Amazon best selling book on digital transformation; The Digital Helix.
The number one issue will be how do I ensure success in Digital Transformation. The second will be how do I build a culture of continuous Digital Transformation. The last will be how do I recruit and train the people who will support my ongoing Digital Transformation.
– David Sanders, Partner, ClearPrism LLC
Most of the “digital transformation” of higher education to this point has been about reducing costs — a lot in administration and a little in online courses. Donors have thrown a lot of money at digital solutions in education; most of which have little or no proven impact on learning improvements. In my conversations, the C-level officers in educational institutions would like to find digital solutions that truly improve the education process itself (and there have been few examples of those) but university presidents and deans face resistance from professors and staff who, at some level, fear being “replaced” by these solutions.
– John C. Beck, President, North Star Leadership Group
For CXOs who are serious about successfully transforming business, I think three things will be critical – ensuring that all employees from the c-suite to the reception desk are bought into and involved in the organization’s digital transformation, stewarding the evolution of the company culture to put digital at the core, and exploring and executing bold new business models beyond mere optimization of the current status quo. Today, there’s a lot of talk about these things but in my experience, most organizations are still stuck in the early stages of digitalizing the core business and still view digital transformation as a technology challenge — in the coming years, more CXOs will realize these things are just the table stakes.
– Greg Verdino, Digital Transformation Advisor, GregVerdino.com
The main things on top of mind for C-level execs over the next three years will be recruiting digitally skilled resources, converting successful PoC’s into full scale digital wins, and ensuring data security and privacy are given the highest priority.
– Tom Raftery, Global VP, Futurist & Innovation Evangelist, SAP
As with most labels the we use liberally, Digital Transformation means many things to many people. And much of that depends on where an organization is to begin with when it comes to creating, capturing, and leveraging digital assets. However, there is one way to look at this journey that apples to any organization serious about competing in the coming decade. The simplest way to describe this is with what I call the three touch-points of digital transformation: product, service, and experience. Each of these needs to be part of an overall integrated digital system that allows an organization to work with its customer across all three touch-points seamlessly.
– Thomas Koulopoulos, President & Founder, Delphi Group
Digital is all about improving customer experience. Process Automation is one of the key aspect in this journey. But with legacy systems and resistance to change from employees this automation percentage will be less than expected.
– Sandeep Raut, VP & Head Digital APAC at NIIT Technologies LTD
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