Thought Leadership

Digital Transformation: Make it Real

Share this post:

In the last few months, my conversation with clients quickly turned to a technology or a customer experience discussion. While both are important aspects of digital transformation, I believe it takes more than that to reinvent your company.

Technology adoption or digitization alone do not equate to digital transformation.

However, technology can serve as a hindrance to the speed of the journey.  Clients with legacy systems are trying to define new business models or deliver data to drive new insights.  They find these legacy systems can’t keep up with the speed of innovation.  Therefore, making the case for a modernized digital core a critical element to success on the digital transformation journey and therein lies the paradox.  Customer experience is also a key area, but real digital transformation should transcend the customer journey to all aspects of the enterprise from manufacturing to distribution to sourcing to creating opportunities across the entire value chain.

digital transformation

What has truly changed in today’s world is our ability to harness business value due to capabilities like cognitive that possess the ability to use unstructured data.

At a recent IBM event, I listened to Steve Gold, IBM’s CMO for the Watson Group describe the customer call center recordings as the best source for product innovation ideas.  Data has become the single biggest opportunity for business value.  This example shows how technologies, like Cognitive, can transform a business process or create new business models.

As I sit with clients and help them imagine a world that looks different than today, I think they are most amazed by the data that is being curated and by the ways in which it can be connected to SAP to provide differentiated value and competitive advantage. One client is looking to connect cognitive trend information into their product innovation cycle to increase their chances for successful products. I’m also seeing new cases every day for uses of IBM’s Weather Company data to transform processes and create new business opportunity across a number of industries.

As we continue our IBM-SAP Digital Partnership work, we are committed to working with SAP’s Industry Business Unit to help clearly articulate these areas of business value that help make the case for modernization of the core while clearly defining the benefits a modernized core delivers.

Just like SAP, we believe that digital reinvention is defined by transforming everything from business models to processes to experiences.  It is as much about the experience the change creates as the experience itself.  The one thing I am certain of is that customers not on this journey today will suffer consequences tomorrow.

By 2018, IDC predicts that one-third of the Top 20 in every industry will be disrupted by digitally transformed competitors.  Given the use cases I am seeing to solve some of industry’s biggest challenges, this will undeniably be true.

We’re telling our clients the most important step is to start.  Starting small is fine as long as you are thinking big.  What we mean is to have a roadmap. The roadmap may start with items that do not disrupt the core but must soon progress to modernizing the core to achieve the full potential of digital transformation. Many of you have already joined us on this journey and I look forward to helping many more clients chart the course to real digital transformation.

Managing Partner, Global Enterprise Applications, Global Business Services

More Thought Leadership stories

Chart the course of your SAP S/4HANA migration with an impact assessment

According to the 2018 IBM Global C-suite Study, the rules around disruption have changed. In years past, startups and industry newcomers were typically considered the driving force behind innovation. Now, by taking advantage of their ecosystem advantages and reinventing their digital infrastructures, industry incumbents are increasingly moving into the leading role. In fact, 72 percent […]

Continue reading

Debunking the myth of modernization

As adoption of cloud, analytics and AI accelerate, new business strategies are emerging, new processes are being implemented, and new methods of engagement are being introduced. Yes, it’s a time of monumental transformation. Leaders are reshaping their organizations to appeal to rapidly evolving customer needs and expectations and to create competitive advantage. But is this […]

Continue reading

What if you could keep track of customer preferences at the city and neighborhood level or better yet predict them?

When the Brewers are playing in Milwaukee, beer starts flying off the shelves. When the Doo-Dah parade marches in Columbus, Ohio, water pistols suddenly surge. And when the Blue Angels fly over Seattle, sales of sunglasses soar. Each of these local events has a profound impact on the behaviors of the people who live there. […]

Continue reading