Disruptive technology · Digital Strategy

What are the biggest challenges faced for Businesses going Digital?

Nitesh Cloud-based Web and Mobile Product Development Specialist

October 13th, 2016

In this Digital Era while 30%+ of the investments are being planned for Digital Transformation of the businesses, it would be great to understand what should be Do's and Don'ts in the Digital world. 

As businesses are planned strategically, in your experience what are the major challenges you face in the Digital Transformation of your business? Is it

  1. Getting acquainted with Technology
  2. Building custom solutions
  3. Creating new business strategy or business approach for Digital era
  4. Planning Marketing Expenses with Digital and Traditional method.
  5. Many more

It would be great to understand from the community about the types of challenges being faced in the respective industry.  

Peter Williams CTO, "Big Green Innovations", IBM

October 14th, 2016

From the perspective of a physical product company at least, the biggest mistake you could make when "going digital" is to think that "it's just about adding sensors and IT".  It is a lot more strategic than that:
- Will information allow you to change your business model - can you create services out of the information that your product might capture?  For example, pump vendors are now trying to add sensors to turn their physical products into leak and pressure management solutions; and cellular network operators sell location signal data to service providers such as Waze.
- Many organizations struggle to use the digital data they have.  For example, many utilities use smart meters simply as replacements for their old analog billing meters, and fail to use data from the smart meters for energy (or water) system management.  The main reason for this is that they are too stove-piped to make the connection from billing to operations.  In a soundbite - you need a digital culture that will break down organization barriers to maximize flow and use of information.
- Will a competitor use digital means to undermine your physical product or service?  For example, look at what happened to Garmin devices in the face of Google and Apple Maps; and what may happen to Fitbit, similarly?

At the end of the day, unless a device delivers hard to replicate results, and incorporates some hard to replicate technology, it is really just a vector for the data.  That's how you need to define your digital business - something that may in many cases require a more or less radical re-imagining of the company, with all of the process, technology and other changes others have described above.

Zoltán Dankó Smart Services - Ehealth - ICT - Strategy - Business development - Solutions for Making Your Life Easier

October 14th, 2016

The first challenge at large organizations: the members of the management should use digital technology, digital devices and services. All the other issues may seem to be terribly easy after that.

Christoph Ranaweera validate early, pivot and kill fast instead of feeding a zombie

October 14th, 2016

As Nitesh wrote it's about understanding what Digitalisation means for your company and which processes, approaches, products need to be adjusted, introduced, removed.

As you notice, this is change management. The worst is that humans don't like change - Why should you change a running system, right?
So you need people on people level who can communicate this to the people in the different departments.
Quite often it means that new legal entities are being created. This is mainly due to cannibalisation of existing products or departments. 
Imagine a physical grocery store chain which is moving online with direct delivery. On the other hand customers could collect purchased product from the store so it might have additional advantage to the current structure.

And as a final step you need tech savvy people and dynamic fast movers to run the digitalisation / the department / the new company. Finding those is not easy.

So this is quite complex topic with thousands of approaches.

Shailesh Nair Hands on coding experience in Data Science, Crypto currency, Big Data

October 14th, 2016

Christoph has covered a lot, before digitizing any business they need to understand clearly the existing business functions and the problems that they are facing or if they don't have any problems then how it can be improved to get profit either by reducing expenditure or getting more customers.

Based on the above business parameters, need to study what is digitization and how it can be applied to solve problems in their business and find a holistic solution to business problems that they face.

To develop a holistic solution for business it is not easy, any firm needs to have a person who can understand the business of that firm and technology in deep which is not easy to find person with this caliber.Once these are fixed, firms can get benefit of digitizing business.

Nitesh Cloud-based Web and Mobile Product Development Specialist

October 14th, 2016

Very True Christoph, this is a complex topic with multiple approaches.

But is there any start point to look at, any business plan that could be created to Initialize the change management process.

In our past experience, automating our clients businesses, we have followed few of the things
  • Map existing process for the client, existing business strategies, approaches and an end to end cycle.

  • Find out the most painful areas in the existing process. The definition of painful areas for us meant, most time and man power consuming, complex to handle without skilled resource, and expensive elements of the process.

  • Then finding out the areas which would increase business revenue and reduce timeline and delivery. Productivity Area

  • This eventually created the process register/log.

  • Then came in finding the possible solutions for Pain areas and Productivity areas.

  • This eventually helped us create Risk registers, which would help us understand better about the negative and positive risk implementing those solutions

  • Creating a Business plan with Prototyping and a business model before actually implementing the solution

  • Breaking the entire scope in the Phase wise plan and implementing the solution.

  • Risk assessment, project planning helped us evolve beautiful outputs. I would not say we built the same solution which we locked in the prototype, there are always on the go minor changes that affects the business plan and overall delivery, but overall the end vision was achieved.

  • And finally Recreation and maintenance with newer teams as you have mentioned which are techno savvy either at client locations or using the same team who has developed the solutions.
But if we understand from the Business owners themselves what are the major challenges they face while evaluating the Pain areas and Productivity areas, we would be able to create a standard business process here that might help any businesses know where to start and how should they start.

What do you think?

So far the challenges came forward are
1. Knowing the right areas where you need to adjust the process or approach for the company.

2. Accepting the Digital Transformation, accepting the change.

3. Finding the right tech savvy team and create one eventually in your own business premises.

Great going so far, let us communicate more on this topic and let us grow this list. At the end of this conversation, we might come up with the possible solutions as well for all of these challenges, creating a better world for non digital businesses.

Nitesh Cloud-based Web and Mobile Product Development Specialist

October 14th, 2016

I agree.

I have heard from my clients big time that they are unaware about what Digital Technology they should use and implement. The good thing is they know it's time to implement Digital Technology, but till what extent is still a big question for them. What would be your opinion on the matter?

Christoph Ranaweera validate early, pivot and kill fast instead of feeding a zombie

October 16th, 2016

Hi Nitesh

IMO there are three main fields for each company which need to be evaluated to what extend digitalisation will come up, change what is there and how much investment should be done in digitalisation.

1. improve processes, make them more efficient.
Approach to find those is probably:
a. define meta processes with the company (ordering, production,handling returns, etc.)
b. sit with the employee to see how they work including time spend or wasted
c. define areas for improvement and sell to the company

2. new changes to the company (structure and changes in meta processes) which goes beyond optimization

3. New changes to the market (how you handle customers, how your products will change and so on) Imagine here car manufacturers which go to car sharing having in mind automated driving and that people won't need individual cars in 20 to 30 years.

the approach for 2 and 3 is more
a. define factors which influence the company inside and outside (mobile usage, online purchasing and so on)
b. define trends evolving out of those factors and what the likelihood for those is to develop into any direction
c. create scenarios how market will look like in further future and evaluate the likelihood
d. define which scenarios to focus on and which step towards them is to be taken

this is just when thinking about it but there might be other and much better ways.