Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Digital is not a destination

I see a lot of talk about the journey to digital transformation as if its some kind of destination.
Becoming digital is not the end point. In many ways it's a launch pad to becoming a business prepared to engage in an increasingly digitized world.
There are some basic essentials with anything digital - understanding the technology requirements, the role of the data ( where you are going to get it from, store it, what it's going to inform, how you are going to draw insights from it) - the architectures required to bring business, hardware and software together, the layers of integration demanded; The people and the processes; the skills and the new ways of working, etc
But all you will achieve is the same but faster and cheaper (ideally) if becoming digital is your end game.
Becoming a different kind of business is where you should be headed; one which places customers in a different role; and one in which the business itself sees itself playing a different role. Setting this new goal, this new destination, is your first essential step. The roadmap comes second.
Digital is the way we connect ourselves; it reveals to us a connectedness which requires us to open and think differently about our role in the world. Does our presence in the life of customers offer us unique opportunities to understand behaviour; does that understanding reveal new business opportunities - does it reveal new benefits for society?
Uber is valued so high because it set out to value data first. It figured that by being a peer-supplied taxi service it would get lots of data about moving people and things. It is this data which they see as their long term business - delivering what ever you need where-ever you need it when-ever you need it.
That *may* reduce the carbon footprint of vehicle deliveries in the long run. It *may* reduce your costs or benefit your convenience. Soon they are going to have to be explicit about this every time your data is shared with them.
Be sure that businesses must  begin to think holistically about this - about having the best interests of their customers at heart and being able to demonstrate this. Without this they will not be allowed to take advantage of the new bounties data is offering.
Digital Transformation has always been a journey, not an end in itself. The end remains becoming an Open Business.

The rate of change is so rapid it's difficult for one person to keep up to speed. Let's pool our thoughts, share our reactions and, who knows, even reach some shared conclusions worth arriving at?