"Many companies’ senior leaders and board of directors believe a company can buy digital technology, implement it and get the benefit of it in a few months. That’s an illusion".
Some years ago I was fortunate to be invited by a major UK based plc to help deliver what has been the biggest business 'transformation project' I have ever been involved with. It was particularly challenging as 'digital' was still in its infancy, and everything in eCommerce land that we take for granted today was still being 'made up' by technology companies, the same can be said about the folks challenged with delivering that 'transformation'.
The key focus and business objective was to take the then offline mail order business of 65 trading brands, and migrate as many existing customers over to the newly created online channels.
This saw the eCommerce business grow to - £30m turnover within an 18 month time frame.
Today eCommerce represents over 80%+ of total sales and continues to grow. N Brown plc are by far the most successful direct home shopping company in the UK as measured by percentage of profit to turnover. At circa £750m ($1bn) they are not the highest revenue driver in the UK but are recognised in the industry as the bellwether for home shopping performance.
The transformation project described is still work in progress, but at it's heart is the untold stories of the myriad of people (not technology) that have been part of that journey of transition.
The reality is it's people who truly deliver transformation, its a mindset thing, people are the enablers, or they are the blockers, the technology is merely a part of the 'enabler' group mindset.
We see a lot of initiatives around 'digital transformation' that suggest it's all about technology, and once the right technology is 'plumbed in' then all will be well in the board room - we hear the same thing being said about 'Social Media' - WRONG, WRONG, WRONG!
The Social landscape (still work in progress) over the last 10+ years has matured so much it now has the ability (when used correctly) to disrupt many existing business technology solutions (Google, SEO, Websites, eCommerce, and most important for you the traditional TV and digital advertising sectors) unfortunately there are many businesses and leadership teams who still think social media is about the platform and technology, and for millennial's.
They continue to use them in the same way they adopted the use of the internet which is to 'broadcast' and advertise messages about themselves, or as a cheap way to deal with crisis problems via the customer service teams .
Social is about being social, just because it operates in the virtual world it has an etiquette similar to that of our real world social interactions.
Once you get your head around what that etiquette is, and how powerful it can be to your company then you will have commenced a real 'business wide transformation' project.
'Social Buying' is a process we all go through as part of our product, brand, service, discovery journey, and if your competitors understand how to leverage this before, or better than you what do you do then?
Unlike transformation initiatives of the past, digital transformation is not an event that happens. It’s a journey with a road that never ends.