So what is digital transformation?
Digital transformation is one of those buzz phrases that gets thrown around a lot… but it does actually have a meaning.
Digital is evolving and growing fast
Nowadays, we think of the Internet as pretty mature. We're used to it, it's part of our lives. However, it’s easy to lose sight that this happened quickly and it's still very young. We could say it's in an adolescent phase (possibly even a slightly difficult phase).
For businesses, the Internet started off as a kind of front door or shopfront. Essentially it was like a brochure - performing a simple publishing function telling visitors about the business.
Of course, what we've since seen with Amazon and many other sites is how e-commerce for example has come online. And selling directly online is just one example of evolution - beyond that we see that many businesses are taking their entire business systems and moving online. This is what we might think of as digital moving towards maturity.
We also see that business operations are moving even further. They're not just moving to online models, they're moving to the cloud and beyond. So we have SaaS on-demand, and even going one step further we see many organizations are starting to adopt self-service models, for example in the shape of customer support.
This rapid growth has lead to fragmented services
But what's happened over the last two decades, as these systems have been and continue to move one by one online, is that they've been funded separately and often by completely separate parts of the business. As a result, you have systems that are siloed and that don't talk to each other. And so this is what many organizations are starting to see now, particularly the bigger organizations, they've ended up in a position where they have a technical estate consisting of many silos of digital services which don't work very well together.
And this is usually an even bigger problem for those who want to move towards a more customer-centered model. They're reaching their customers across many of these touchpoints and the customers are having a disjointed experience.
Digital transformation needs to solve this
So for us, this is really what is meant by digital transformation, how to make this all work together. How do you meet the increased demands for a joined-up and customer-centred digital experience with the growing number of component parts which each have grown into their own walled gardens?
We see this ongoing struggle in many organizations on their journey to becoming digital-native, or digital-first, and how that matches the reality on the ground. It is important to know how to upskill your existing staff, how to leverage external and internal expertise, and how to make this affordable.
It's probably no surprise that many of the organizations who are tackling this problem the most successfully are using a blended approach. Using a combination of outsourcing for high levels of expertise, and knowledge transfer, alongside insourcing for their day-to-day business, as they develop greater digital skills in-house.