Navigating Digital Convergence in Your BusinessBy Samuel Greengard Print
The rapid advance of digital technology is changing the stakes for business and IT leaders, who need a strategy to conquer challenges and exploit opportunities.
However, more than anything else, Hopkins has worked to make data accessible and to ensure that it flows smoothly across systems and devices. As a result, the firm now sets up new storefronts in a few hours, rather than the weeks it used to take. In addition, it acts on alerts and problems in real-time. In fact, Skullcandy has complete visibility across its supply chain.
"We have adopted a strategic position that we must be very open with data and make sure it is not segregated by business unit or department," Hopkins says. "In the digital age, people need to access data, and they can't wind up handcuffed by silos, turf battles and general inefficiencies."
Putting Disruption to Work
Achieving success in the digital world requires new thinking and different approaches. There's a need to rely on different business and technology models that, in turn, demand different metrics. Executives must also understand the changing nature of consumer interactions, gauge behavior and conditions in real time, and adapt to changes in a more contextual way.
This filters into everything—from innovation and bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies to the role of IT in the value chain. It also includes things such as agile development and techniques such as DevOps.
Business and IT leaders too often use an industrial age hammer on information age nails, CapGemini's Cohen says. "The fundamental question is: How can I use technology to drive improvements deep into the enterprise? The focus must be on how to marry technologies and create an entirely different experience or benefit."
There's a need to take risks, he adds, create "playgrounds and sandboxes," experiment, pilot and test things—while staying tuned to emerging ideas, concepts and trends. Finally, "IT leaders must look at technology in a broader context and turn to consumers and consumer electronics firms for clues about where things are headed and where the focus should be," Cohen advises.
At the same time, organizations must examine and re-examine data ownership and sharing models and learn how to address things as diverse as middleware, APIs and security.
Accenture's Sutcliff adds that there's a need to focus on more than strategies and technologies. Change management and cultural issues are at the center of digital transformation. "You have to determine how you're doing to make decisions, who will make decisions, and—if you're pushing data and analytics to the edge of the enterprise—who will be responsible for managing decisions and actions," he says.
Within this model, IT cannot obstruct the business and slow or block the use of essential tools required by departments and individuals, he says. This means that a governance model and embedded rules are critical.
"It's clear that the digital convergence represents challenges and opportunities for organizations," Sutcliff concludes. "While there is a great deal of complexity involved with digital transformation, there's also incredible value associated with today's digital technology.
"Organizations that combine tools and technologies effectively are in a much better position to execute on their business strategy. They are more likely to achieve strategic gains and cost efficiencies that elude other businesses."
Five Facts About the Digital Enterprise
Nowhere does digital technology impact business more than at the intersection of IT and marketing. As organizations wade into an increasingly complex business environment, it's critical to build out Websites, apps and other touch points that seamlessly blend sales, support and branding efforts. Here are five keys to maximizing digital technologies and convergence:
- The enterprise has entered a post e-business era. Simply extending e-commerce and e-business capabilities is not longer sufficient. "Organizations must move from the concept of Websites serving as the center of their digital world to an omni-channel experience," says Tyler Klein, associate partner of group experience at Rosetta, a digital consulting and marketing firm that collaborates with Compuware APM to produce e-commerce, mobile platforms and systems integration solutions.
Key to success is creating a seamless experience across channels and making it easy for customers to handle a task on the device they choose and in the way that they choose. Moreover, "It must be a consistent experience," Klein adds.
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