Digital Readiness

Succeeding in the Digital World

Digital Transformation Equals Total Business Transformation

Digital transformation is the ongoing process of changing the way an organization does business through the adoption and application of technology. The degree to and speed at which a company embraces technology is often the X-factor in its digital transformation. However, knowing where to start can be overwhelming for executives, who must balance the desire to innovate with the pressure to maintain efficiency in core business operations.

Digital Customers
Business success in the digital world hinges on placing the customer at the heart of IT strategy. Today’s customers are more empowered than ever before, with greater choice and expectations, and businesses must adapt to their desires. The companies that thrive are those that look beyond time-tested business models to rediscover raw customer needs and how to fulfill them.

From Owners to Users

From music to mobility, software has enabled consumers to move away from traditional ownership and purchase services based on what and how much they want to consume. This adjustment in buying habits requires a shift in business habits. Understanding what customers truly want leads to solutions that withstand changing markets and the emergence of new competitors.

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Piracy and the Music Industry

Evolution is nothing new to the music industry. In the late 1970s, cassettes replaced vinyl, and in the 1990s, cassettes made way for CDs. In the early 2000s, the internet ushered in a new era in music delivery with the ability to copy and share files digitally. Consumers, realizing they could download music faster and for free (albeit illegally), turned to file-sharing services like Napster and LimeWire.


Many in the music industry, unable to see beyond the existing business model of CDs, sought to crack down on online piracy with legislation like the Stop Online Piracy Act and Protect IP Act. Spotify, founded in 2006, looked at the problem differently. The company developed a solution for music delivery that would protect artists against online piracy while satisfying the consumer’s need for less expensive, more instantaneous music services at a higher quality than existing illegal streaming sites.


Spotify continues to seek new solutions in service of its stakeholders. The company acquired blockchain startup Mediachain to help with attribution and solve copyright issues by connecting artists and rights holders with the tracks hosted online.

From Ownership to Access

Delivering a 6-star Experience

Today’s customers demand seamless experiences that regularly evolve in line with technological advancements. Companies must be ready to reinvent their offerings alongside the emergence of new technologies to remain competitive.

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Redefining Entertainment

In February 2007, Netflix celebrated the distribution of its billionth DVD. At the time, the company was known for its DVD-by-mail business, a direct-to-consumer operation that disrupted the traditional box store model. The company’s success could have resulted in Netflix remaining in its existing business model. However, the company recognized the power of technology and leveraged it to deliver a digital business.


Since becoming a pioneer of the content streaming market, Netflix has amassed hundreds of millions of subscribers globally and produces its own shows and movies. The company’s endurance lies in its ability to provide users with hyper-personalized experiences. Netflix uses artificial intelligence (AI) and data to tailor the experience to each subscriber, including recommendations for what to watch next. Its commitment to next-generation technology allows Netflix to continue testing and fine-tuning its user experience, while simultaneously raising the bar for what constitutes a personalized experience.

Redefining Speed and Agility

The rise of digitization has created a need for speed and an expectation of instant customer satisfaction. Customers expect products and services delivered instantaneously, and outdated operating models can’t support these demands.

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From Trucking to Technology Company

UPS founder Jim Casey coined the term “constructive dissatisfaction” to describe the company’s commitment to continuous improvement. It was this same mindset that led to the development of UPS’ On-Road Integrated Optimization and Navigation (ORION) program.


In 2003, UPS piloted telematics technologies on delivery trucks, gathering data to understand where the company could improve efficiencies. The company pulled this data into an algorithm to solve complex routing problems. In 2016, UPS deployed ORION in the U.S. A year later, the program was saving UPS from $300 to $400 million annually while improving delivery for the end consumer, according to BSR.


In 2017, UPS announced its Enhanced Dynamic Global Execution (EDGE) program, which uses data to construct a detailed sort operating plan that analyzes staffing resources and prioritizes instructions for employees unloading and sorting packages. With this focus on data and intelligence, UPS plans to build the world’s largest and most advanced smart logistics network.

What it Takes to Become a Digitally-Ready Company

The speed of digital transformation is widening the gap between bystanders and leaders. Companies that capitalize on advancing technology share several key characteristics that allow them to ride the digital disruption wave.

  • Clear Vision
  • Right Culture and Talent
  • Agility

When change is the only constant, setting a digital transformation strategy can be difficult. Having a clear vision of an end goal and a roadmap to get there is paramount to success. Integrating flexibility into the process will help alleviate any panic when plans inevitably change.

Producing Magic Through Digital Innovation
The vision for “creating the most magical place on Earth” was central to Disney’s $1 billion digital upgrade of its parks. The initiative included the MagicBand, a wristband with built-in radio frequency identification technology that links with sensors throughout the park and replaces hotel keys, credit cards, tickets, and more. Data collected from the MagicBand helps the company find new ways to improve the Disney World experience and deliver on its vision.

The most successful companies in today’s economy employ people who can work across silos and tackle a number of challenges. Management should reward creativity, problem-solving, and collaboration rather than implement strict processes. A company’s culture should empower everyone in the organization to help the business meet its goals.

Joining the Battle for Tech Talent

From digital loans to person-to-person payments, mobile and digital platforms have altered Bank of America’s business. To capitalize on the digital needs of its consumers, the company rolled out its "High-Tech, High-Touch Approach." To execute this strategy, Bank of America hired nearly 4,000 technologists to advance their digital services and more than 3,500 Digital Ambassadors to assist customers with the bank’s digital capabilities. Thanks to its digital transformation, the company is better positioned among a growing number of fintech competitors.

Digital transformation rewards first-movers. Members of an organization must be able to think, learn, and fail fast to get to a point where they can scale. Agility doesn’t necessarily mean responding to changes in the market quickly; rather it means looking around the corner for opportunities while continuously iterating and improving the existing reality.

A Growing Hunger for Innovation
Despite its place in the foodservice industry, Domino’s maintains the mindset of a technology company: one that is agile and seeks new opportunities to improve the customer experience. Customers can order a pizza using Amazon Echo and follow its creation with status updates throughout its journey. In anticipation of the transportation revolution, the company has even started to test driverless cars. Since 2007 – before the company’s massive investment in digital technologies – Domino’s share price has increased by 2,000 percent, outpacing some of the most successful technology companies in the world including Netflix, Amazon, and Apple.
Intelligent Planet
Today, embracing digitization isn’t enough. Companies must leverage next-generation technologies like machine learning (ML), artificial intelligence (AI), and blockchain to enhance their competitive advantage and compete in the global economy.
Looking Forward

In the face of rapid technological change, it’s imperative for companies to stay nimble and harness the power of innovation. A successful digital transformation requires more than the adoption of new technology. It requires a new way of thinking that continually strives to enhance the customer experience. The companies who question the power of the customer or underestimate the speed of technological change will be left behind.

Sources

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