3 Target areas to spark your digital transformation journey

Updated: Mar 5, 2021

In times of crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic has speeded adoption of digital transformation technologies by several years.

This digital directive is not brand new. Prior to the pandemic, a transformation towards digitization of the economy was already on the go. It is no longer a buzz word but a reality that most companies have been led to digitalization at least some part of business.

We are witnessing monumental event of exploiting remote work networks to protect employees and serving customers under safe distancing measures in all industries.

As Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella addressed, “We’ve seen two years’ worth of digital transformation in two months.”

By now, all organizations must be digital either actively or passively.

For actively transformed companies, they might be struggling with disturbance between how to quickly rebound in the current economic climate and how to leverage the endless opportunities of digitalization. Meanwhile, checking out what should be focused on to create and capture value is the kick-off of digital transformation journey for passively involved businesses.

So it is essential to formalize a target providing the direction to the digital transformation journey, and it is critical that the target is clear and aligned in the organization.

Here to introduce three target areas to spark the digital transformation journey based on what we have observed that high-performing organizations do. They are Customer Experience Improvement, New Products or Services Innovation and Internal Operation Optimization.

Customer Experience Improvement

In 2018, U.S. retail banking sector spent more than $20 billion on hardware, software and human resources to develop digitalization initiatives. By 2018, 28% of retail bank customers are digital-only customers. In that sense, the investment worked. Yet digital-only customers have the lowest scores for customer satisfaction among all retail bank customers.

Once upon a time, improving customer experiences through digital transformation simply calls for integration of new technologies. Times have changed.

Turns out that digital-only bank customers noted the digital service they received is not customized to them or to their experiences. Most likely, banks took adventurous steps toward digital journey but left “C” out of their CX strategies (CX: customer experience).

Both customer centrism and new technologies are key digital transformation drivers for customer experience improvement.

With airlines facing severe losses, governments have provided cash injections to airlines and airports. Companies are using this cash to reinvent service offerings.

For example, Etihad Airways has partnered with Elenium Automation trailing contactless medical screening at Abu Dhabi Airport. By one touchpoint, temperature, heart rate and respiratory rate are monitored as well as check-in, immigration and bag-drop activities are accomplished.

Enhancing door-to-door passenger experience by leveraging digital technology catering to latest needs is a positive initiative emphasizing customer experience improvement for airline industry.

New products or services innovation

Cutting costs and waiting for returning to normal are natural responses for business leaders under current uncertain moment. But with every crossroad comes real chance. And as the world is getting "Never Normal" as "New Normal", there are enormous possibilities for those who are eager to pursue it.

Bosch, the leading engineering and technology company developed Vivalytic analysis device which enables patient sample to be on-the-spot analysed in a fully automatic PCR process in less than 30 minutes. These devices have been produced in Waiblingen since December 2020 and are available in 26 countries globally. In the fight to coronavirus pandemic, speed is of the essence. Bosch’s IT and software expertise delivered cutting-edge medical technology within a short period of time.

Regarding the digital adoption, during the pandemic, consumers have shifted to online channels dramatically, and industries must respond in turn to maintain the market share. McKinsey compared 3 years survey results of rates of digital channel adoption. It confirms the rapid movement of customers interaction toward digital channels in the last year.

Another Mckinsey research zooming in U.S. consumers shows accelerating adoption of digital channels across all industries. Companies need to ensure that they provide digital channels to support omnichannel business, also their digital channels are better than those of their competitors to prevail in the new environment.

Some luxury retailers have been multiplied their profits from embracing digitalization after COVID-19. On 14th Feb 2020 Valentine’s Day, China was under national lockdown and all retail shops shut down. Louis Vuitton launched an exclusive Valentine’s Day online pop-up store via WeChat where customers ordered pre-sale online, consulted for after sales remotely and finished purchase without reaching the boutique. It follows that Louis Vuitton doubled its Valentine’s Day online revenue in China from a year ago.

Internal operation optimization

By being digital, industries improve productivity, efficiency and transparency so as to create new opportunities for growth and generate higher returns. Organizations normally concern about what technologies to choose, how to prioritize them and what are tangible returns from digital investment.

Based on data from over 16,000 companies in 14 industries, a World Economic Forum studied on this issue. They have four key findings:

  1. The return on investment in new technologies is positive overall. The productivity increase is three times higher when technologies are deployed in combination – as would happen in a smart economy.

  2. The return on digital investments varies by industry, and industry leaders achieve greater productivity increases from investments in new technology than followers do (70 versus 30 percent).

  3. Asset-heavy industries realize more value from robotics; asset-light industries realize greater value from mobile/ social media, primarily led by efficiency-driven opportunities.

  4. While industry leaders have realized higher overall returns from robotics and mobile/social investments, followers have gained more from the IoT and cognitive technologies (artificial intelligence and big data analytics).

Here is an example in food logistics. Walmart and its nine food suppliers have partnered with IBM, aiming to improve issue diagnosis such as food recalls. Previously digital data availability was limited to Walmart’s own internal supply chain. By building end-to-end process monitoring APP, Walmart can access to a blockchain ledger even at local farms. This APP improves supply chain efficiency and reduce food waste.

Amazon tests last mile delivery of consumer goods and medications by drone which is much faster and cheaper than human delivery and ground robots.

The notion of digital transformation for companies’ internal operation is not new but doubts on returns and investments never end. There are significant lessons can be drawn from the steps organizations have already taken.

Leaders who want to succeed in the digital transformation journey must quickly reset their digital agendas since the pace of change is not likely to slow down. For your digital transformation journey, these are target areas to spark with us:

Customer Experience Improvement, New Products or Services Innovation and Internal Operation Optimization.

Businesses that determined to positively shape the "Never Normal" by sparking the digital transformation journey will be the ones who hit the mark in the long run.