Aldo Agostinelli

Companies dealing with the digital transformation already know this or they will learn it pretty soon:  the process must be complete and thorough to bring about the desired outcome in terms of productivity and progress. It is a complex journey with several legs which not only involve technology, but also those people in charge of organizing it, and practically carrying it out, hopefully giving their original contribution.

The World Economic Forum has outlined the main points of the digital transformation. And if it is reasonable to immediately think of IT infrastructures and data, it is worth realizing that the first and most important factor to be taken into consideration is the human aptitude (Digital transformation and the rise of the ‘superjob’).

The aptitude for the digital transformation

Enabling a business to radically change and be able to compete on the global market in the medium and long term means being aware of the fact that the ability to continuously and consistently reinvent oneself is key. The digital transformation is not a one-shot process, but a permanent evolution. And a considerable effort, too. However, building on solid foundations, the right mindset may be achieved, allowing companies to transform over time with a minor effort.

Digital pivots

Pivoting to digital maturity”, a recent study by Deloitte, has revealed that companies developing a wide range of digital pivots, i.e. technological resources mixing with managerial and business skills, are more likely to be successful in their transition. Having interviewed over 1.200 managers, they reported that the most digitally mature businesses, which are also the ones taking more advantage from their transformation effort, stand out for their multifunctional application of several digital pivots.

The Magnificent Seven

Quite obviously, there is no magic recipe for the optimal digital transformation. Nevertheless, there is a list of must-have factors. The first one is the adoption of a flexible and secure IT infrastructure. Then we have the ability to master the use of data, the possibility to make one’s company join an eco system of technological partners or to create a new one, the implementation of smart and automated workflows, the extension of the range of business models available, and the ability to focus on the customer’s experience. Last but not least, a topic I have already extensively addressed, the willingness to care for human resources . Which translates in the requalification of the existing staff and in hiring new talents to be incorporated by the organization so as to create a flexible and dynamic portfolio of skills and competencies. It is also worth considering what Deloitte pointed out: digital pivots are necessary but not sufficient for the digital transformation to be successful. Mature organizations also stand out for the presence of “soft” complementary skills such as a strong leadership and a mentality oriented to the digital transformation.

Back-office or front-end?

The digital transformation shall start somewhere and then expand  to affect the whole organization. It has been debated whether it may be advisable to start from the back-office or the front-end. The answer is : it depends on the organization. Even in this case, there is no universal formula. The back-office with its operational functions is definitely less dangerous. Beginning with customers oriented functions may be risky but may also have a quicker effect on the market.  Both choices are valid if well interpreted and applied. However, a decision must be made, taking into consideration the fact that in 2020 the budgets devoted to the digital transformation are expected to increase by, at least, 25%. Whoever is willing to be competitive cannot but follow this path.
The golden rule is: the more coordinated and complete the effort, the higher the chance of being successful.

Human factor or technological innovation: what are the most serious challenges you are facing with reference to your digital transformation? Tweet @agostinellialdo.

To find out more about the digital world, you may read my latest book entitled: “People Are Media” 

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Aldo Agostinelli