“In order to make digital transformation a reality business should pay careful consideration to the overall process and how these will need to be adapted to suit a digital environment. In addition, how will applications be changed to allow for a new digital process,” says Pienaar.
The description of today’s environment as ‘being the age of the customer’ is an apt one considering that the modern customer is a digital being with high expectations of the digital experience they receive. Pienaar notes how those same high expectations apply to the digital experience organisations deliver.
“Often a digital transformation will migrate central work teams to distributed work that happens right where the customer is. This means applications need to be available outside of the firewall, designed with the customer in mind and allow for an enjoyable experience.”
Allowing for an enjoyable customer experience means that all touchpoints should harmonise with solutions that offer a unified view of the customer journey while also minimising IT challenges and improving collaboration. “Keeping the customer in mind applies equally to every channel the business engages across, delivering the right content via the right application at the right time. Doing this well becomes a competitive advantage,” he says.
According to the World Economic Forum’s white paper titled Digital Transformation of Industries released in January this year, becoming a digital enterprise requires far more profound changes than merely investing in the latest digital technologies. The research notes that a key challenge will be to reinvent applications strategies that align with the new digital reality, while at the same time supporting the innovation businesses will need to remain competitive.
“Going forward, businesses will differentiate themselves based on how well they meet the challenges of handling complex application strategies, including packaged applications, analytics, customer applications, cloud-based applications and mobile apps. Done well, each application environment should deliver a seamless results and a compelling customer experience,” Pienaar adds.
Truly digital enterprises will have to continuously work to create more dynamic business processes, connected platforms, analytics and collaboration capabilities, while simultaneously bearing in mind the need to meet the customer where they are. “While there are several key factors to keep in mind while evaluating an organisation’s core applications, it’s crucially important to understand what digital transformation should address. Knowing the desired outcome will ensure smoother processes, and ultimately the freedom to focus on delivering value rather than the technology itself,” Pienaar says.