4 Keys to Unlock Digital Enterprise Potential

Satej Revankar, Vice President-IT, NITCO | Monday, 23 May 2016, 08:48 IST

Digital enterprise or digital business is a widely used term, but it has different perspectives and meanings to different people. The technical view suggests the focus on things to improve aspects such as communications and technology; while a business view might focus purely on digitization of business transactions, improving process workflows and maximize customer acquisition channels. A typical service oriented view or digitizing the business processes focus on improving customer care / customer service and improving employee productivity while reducing operational costs by adopting new dimension technology platforms, such as social media, big data analytics etc.  The Marketing view suggests the innovative adoption of customer engagement, customer acquisition and customer experience with the use of technology solutions.

There are four key technologies which are becoming building blocks for the digital enterprise - Mobility , Social media, Big Data & analyticts and cloud computing. Digital Transformation involving these four key technological disruptions can provide major benefits to the enterprise in terms of easier customer reach, personalized customer care, improved productivity, and better collaboration & innovation, leading to increased revenue and
reduced cost. 

Mobility can fundamentally change the ways organisations communicate and engage with their customers, employees and other stakeholders , thereby leading to usiness efficiency and joy of use. Social media enables sharing of information, experiences and feedback about products and services across multiple stakeholders. Big Data & analytics are providing insights by churning and analysing data within and outside the boundary of the enterprise. Cloud computing is providing the flexibilities of on demand scale-ups and scale downs of IT infrastructure.

While each of these four elements is powerful by itself, their collective use can provide strong synergies and endless possibilities for innovation. However, investing in these without a well-thought out digital strategy will lead to ineffective implementation and an ad-hoc and skewed adoption. With the blurring of boundaries between business and technology, the IT department and the CIO today have a pivotal role to play in ensuring the effectiveness of a Digital Enterprise.

The digital technological advancements are creating opportunities to connect ecosystems covering people, products, processes and places in real time virtual marketplaces. The journey to digital enterprise essentially needs to have a trigger point of the opportunity and the threat to stay ahead and stay competitive in the marketplace.  A big bang approach or an attempt to overhaul the entire organization with the power of these four pillars poses a major risk. Implementing such initiative without a well-thought out digital strategy will result in an ad-hoc and skewed adoption, thereby posing a serious financial threat as well as damaging the organization's image. Ideally, the digital strategy should be driven by the business with active involvement from customers, suppliers and partners, enabled and ably supported by IT. The digital strategy should be a guiding force in setting high level policies, business priorities, investment limits and long term goals.

Adoption of the digital journey would lead to changes in business model and organisation structure. Many a times the focus is only kept on customer touch points , but the Digital transformation would change the end-to-end experiences the customers want today encompassing entire business processes. And this would lead to certain structural changes within the organisation. To support the digital journey effectively,  business functions  also  need to  build new skills such as innovation management , process revamping and digital  leadership, whereas the IT function need to develop new technology skills related to mobile computing,  application integration, social media integration , analytics, cloud technologies,open-source tools, Security challenges etc.

To conclude, “Going Digital” has now become mainstream, and will continue to be the preferred choice by end-users and will grow exponentially in coming years. The transition to digital enterprise is necessary for sustainable performance and future survival. Organizations need to innovatively rethink their business processes to reap the real benefits of Digital Transformation, build a top driven “Digital Vision” to embark on this transformation journey and adopt new skills. Business providers must adopt digital transformation to avoid “Disruption” in their market place, build differentiating solutions, deliver unique value proposition that are end-user centric, and stay competitive.

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