This is one of the best articles I have read in a while on what digital transformation means.
The author, Anil Cheriyan, builds around 3 pillars, in this order. Understanding the client, Building the right partnerships, Digital transformation of the organization.
Look at this through the lense of Sales & Marketing, I hope we all agree that this is no longer a linear process. Your clients are behaving more and more like consumers, they will have a minimum expectation of their buying experience, across any contact they have with your business, be it online or offline.
As Anil says "It’s important for businesses to understand the client’s needs. Being present at their moment of need, providing the client the right information, and adding value at that moment, is the key to truly meeting client needs."
Yet so many B2B businesses do not really get this, or even really understand what this means for their clients in the overall buying journey - yet, through client feedback, data analytics, intent & sentiment data, this is now easier then ever - in theory. This is also why social is so critical as a channel - leveraged properly, you can be present at your client's or prospect's moment of need. 24/7. Globally if you choose.
Building the right partnerships is an interesting one as this can typically go against the grain for sales - usually driven by commissions structures.
Anil says "Because it’s impossible to own everything in the ecosystem that it takes to fulfill your client needs, you have to partner and ensure that your systems are capable of supporting those partnerships."
I accept that if you are selling a low value, low risk product which does not need a service wrap, then this may not be so relevant - which then begs the question, why do you even need a sales function as the chances are the buyer can self-fulfill.
However, as we move up the value chain, and the business solutions become more complex, the chances are that your product will be part of a bigger solution, or the buyer will be talking to multiple solution providers, probably in isolation - if sales teams performed in a platform oriented way, as cited in general terms, this could open up an entirely new approach to how buyers engage with the solutions providers - and offer real end to end problem solving.
Digital Transformation of the organisation
Anil says this "This digital transformation is by far “the longest pole in the tent” for a traditional business trying to transform themselves to become more platform-oriented. It takes the most investment and frankly has the most likelihood of failure. " and I have shared by views on what digital transformation means to me here .
In short, your client's come first, partner to source the best knowledge, then look at the architecture of your business - people & technology - to support the first 2 pillars.
Thank you Anil for your insight.
If you’re not participating in this digital ecosystem as a platform, you become disintermediated. Therefore you're not as relevant to the client, and hence a commodity. Platform-oriented businesses are built on three pillars: the client, partnerships, and the digital transformation of the organization. Traditional companies that want to transform in this new digital era need to understand and learn to play in these three areas to remain relevant and platform-oriented.