The age of business has changed-it could be LLC or a partnership or a structured corporation, but it has changed for good. Ever since the internet stripped down its exotic tag and is made available for the general public, the path of human evolution has picked up its pace. Almost all of us consider the phenomenon called business as something that only consists of commercial activity or exchange of goods or services. The importance of digital transformation today is the result of the extensive trade of goods and intellect.
“When the digital transformation is done well, it’s like a caterpillar turning into a butterfly, but when it’s done badly, the only thing you get is a faster caterpillar.” – George Westerman
Though this is the textbook meaning for the word, the implications of this phenomenon are far greater than anything else. One could argue that business or trade is the one thing that puts humans as a species at the top of survival. The ability to understand free will and incorporate the idea of fair use is something that’s made the cooperation of different nations possible, and ultimately pave the way for globalization!
Digital transformation is a milestone that we reached after great efforts. Digital transformation, in the context of business, is nothing but the incorporation of digital technology into the whole shebang- trade, manufacturing, marketing, accounting, research, you name it.
“Information is a source of learning. But unless it is organized, processed, and available to the right people in a format for decision making, it is a burden, not a benefit” – William Pollard
As you would have heard ‘information is wealth’, and the digital platforms help to distribute the concentration of this wealth from a single point. It has created space for people who want to market their products or services or ideas. Many competitive digital transformation companies in the market are fueling a greater digital revolution.
Digital disruption- the inevitable force in the market.
The incorporation of digital technology in business has lots of benefits, yet there is resistance to this process. This resistance however is small, and in the future, they would have no choice but to change. Digital disruption is inevitable, irrespective of the nature of the business.
“At least 40% of all businesses will die in the next 10 years… if they don’t figure out how to change their entire company to accommodate new technologies.” — John Chambers, Cisco
To understand why there is a resistance to digital transformation; one should first understand what digital disruption did to the existing phenomenon. Digital disruption in business was like a huge hammer that hit the anvil. Till then, the art of doing business or trade depended heavily on the ‘needs of the people more than the ‘wants’ of the people.
The digital disruption brought the balance between both of them. The centre of the business universe shifted. The power migrated from the businesses to the customers. Digital disruption in business gave birth to the idea of customer-centric businesses. Phrases like ‘customer is always right’ or ‘customer is the king’ are the by-products of this power shift.
“Customer service shouldn’t just be a department; it should be the entire company” – Tony Hsieh (CEO, Zappos)
This is possible only because of the abundance of options that is available for a customer to pick from. This is the consequence of digital disruption in business. Everything is designed for you and you alone. You want a shoe that’s dope, well you click a button, and here are the zillion shoe manufacturers from which you can choose yours.
The process of searching in the oceans of data to choose a pair of shoes gives you(customer) command and unrecognized power that puts you over the shoe provider. This power is the driving force that is shaping our economy and, in some sense, our way of life.
So, the big question- why do some businesses tend to reject digital transformation?
The answer is more psychological than practical. One of the biggest reasons is the lack of awareness. The transformation process is tough and is by nature a process that selects those who are ready to take the leap of faith. It is not surprising for fewer businesses to reject this change but we could make a whole lot of difference otherwise.
We have compressed the reasons into these four factors. These factors cover various grounds and dimensions that resist the digital transformation process.
- Lack of skill-set
- Too optimistic
Newton’s first law says, ‘an object continues to stay in its state of motion unless an external force is applied on it ‘. In simpler words, their process remains unchanged even if every other factor around them goes crazy. A business that exhibits passivity thrives on a day’s business. They don’t have plans for the future because they lack vision.
“90% of CEOs believe the digital economy will impact their industry, but less than 15% are executing on a digital strategy.” — MIT Sloan and Capgemini
There could be various reasons for exhibiting passivity, but one of them is the very thing that demands this change from it- digital disruption. In a vague sense, digital transformation is the response to digital disruption. For many, digital transformation translates to completely change their business model.
To change an existing successful business model and adopt a new one is ambitious. Passion for the product or service could break this wall, but it’s a really long shot once they find a comfortable spot, they could hibernate in. In simpler words, they lack the conviction to aim higher.
For most, the first response to digital disruption is panic and skepticism. To undergo an efficient digital transformation, the business should be equipped with specific skill-sets. This skill-set is either scarce or concentrated at a single point.
It is obvious that people who invest their time and money in learning new digital technologies would expect high return value from the market. Identifying and collaborating with people of an adequate skill-set have become a challenge. The cost of hiring the skill-set and proceeding to extract a profit using it is impractical when compared with a system that works just fine at the present.
“Clearly, the thing that’s transforming is not the technology — it’s the technology that is transforming you.” — Jeanne W. Ross of MIT Sloan’s Center for Information Systems Research
To re-imagine an entire business operation in terms of digital transformation is a vast process. One small mistake could topple the entire system. This is a gamble that many of the businesses could not afford. A vision that drives an implosive change would prove to be helpful in the process.
Some businesses reacted to the digital disruption but failed to respond to it. They would have reacted to the initial wave of the digital disruption to some extent but then, they fail to fully grasp the situation and approach it scientifically. It is a defensive mechanism rather than addressing the real problem i.e., digital disruption.
“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning” – Bill Gates (Founder, Microsoft)
A bare minimum digital transformation would have occurred and put their brand on the map. They don’t see or have the demand to upgrade their level of transformation. There is nothing deadlier than a calm sea, so they are basically a castle of cards. The blunder lies in the lack of a scientific approach to digital disruption.
The place of business is a huge factor contributing to the resistance of digital transformation. There are many countries where there is a lack of basic awareness of the existing technologies. Artificial intelligence is still science fiction to many people.
“Every industry and every organization will have to transform itself in the next few years. What is coming at us is bigger than the original internet, and you need to understand it, get on board with it, and figure out how to transform your business.” — Tim O’Reilly, Founder & CEO of O’Reilly Media
In such an environment, it is redundant to expect a business to identify a digital disruption, let alone respond to it. The system must support such businesses and promote awareness of digital disruption and digital transformation to bring an implosive change.
Packing this up,
Though people may fail to recognize the need for digital transformation, time and perspective will force a business to adapt to the market standards. There are many digital marketing services that aim to bring an efficient change in your business, adopted through an organic process. The caveman who wonders about the sound coming from a bush always has a higher chance of survival.