Monday, January 21, 2019

Creating new value - or simply keeping up?

Photo by Fancycrave on Unsplash

Demand for digital transformation is at an all time high - according to a survey of 600 leading execs for a DXC report: 2019: The year of digital decisions. It provides timely evidence that supports my mapping of the situation facing industry right now - referred to in detail here.

Referencing that article (The Job Of Digital Strategy Consulting): Companies are testing the water, feeling their way with agile here, lean there, new-tools-but-same-ways -of-working almost everywhere... There is no certain way of doing or being digital yet. Not by some distance. But we must expect that there will be movement in that direction.

What the increased demand/desire tells us is that digital transformation is headed toward ubiquity and with it standarisation and the need for interoperability. There's an increasing realisation that companies must build themselves a new future and this is at such scale that trying to do this with hand wrought nuts and bolts is too bespoke - too slow and too expensive.

What this also reminds us is that digital transformation is not the end product. It is a process of creating the nuts and bolts on which higher-order complexity - the novel stuff that creates greatest value - gets built.

When you have all the nuts and bolts, and power supplies and gears and pulleys and all those things you need to make stuff, it doesn't magically self-assemble. into things of value.

How you are able to use what you have brought together - the pile of 'what's' your grand 'why' of digital transformation may have provided you - that is where the magic happens.

The insight, the imagination, the ideation, the design, the rapid iteration, the testing and scaling - without these your digital investments are simply 'efficiency' spends. They won't even reduce your IT budgett. When we make stuff more efficiently we tend to use more of it (as Simon Wardley points out. Think how many more nuts and bolts got used as a result of standardising them.

What is needed is a way in which you can standardise and make repeatable the insight, the imagination, the ideation, the design, the rapid iteration, the testing and scaling. What is needed is a new way of working.

This is the 'How' of digital transformation and it is where the fight for market mastery gets won and lost.

In 2019 this is the most pressing challenge for creating new value vs simply keeping up.

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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?