Monday, January 14, 2019

Digital Transformation - the Critical Questions

By Pascal Dennis (bio)

Digital is eating the world, as they say, and every industry is feeling it.

How do you steer a digital transformation? How do you decide on a purpose and strategy, and deploy a course of action?

We need to translate the eternal questions of strategy to suit our new terrain:

  1. What’s our Purpose?
  2. Where will we play?
  3. How will we win?
    1. What’s preventing us?
    2. What are our critical gaps in Technology, Customer Experience, People, Culture?
    3. What’s our overall approach?
  4. What capabilities are needed?
  5. What management systems are needed?

Job One, as ever, is defining our aspiration – not a trivial task in a world of tumultuous technological change!

Our best hope is to get close to our customer, and develop empathy thereby. What are her jobs, pain and gain points?

Proctor and Gamble and the great A.G. Lafley famously defined the critical ‘Moments of Truth’ as 1) Seeing the product on the shelf, and 2) Using the product at home.

These are correct, of course, and especially so for consumer goods. But even in this industry, as we digitize our offering, other meaningful pain and gain points arise, no?

How else to explain the explosive growth that some commodity products experience – even in the face of the incumbent’s overwhelming marketing might?

Such products can develop loyal social media followers who unite, communicate and promote the product for no outwardly apparent gain.

Clearly, there are ‘invisible’ and satisfying gains at work.

In my view, these invisible gains and satisfactions entail some form of ‘this product/service makes me better/smarter/cooler than I am’.

Seen in this light, our critical questions take on new meaning, no?

And this is a big reason why digital transformations are proving much more difficult – it’s not just about coding.

Here’s to a safe, healthy, big-hearted and prosperous 2019,


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