When I talk to people about digital transformation the conversation soon turns to customer experience.
The trouble for many companies is that while this is important in fact, Digital Transformation is not just about customer experience, in fact it covers all departments. Sales, Marketing, Finance, Human Resources, Customer Service, Procurement, etc etc.
Digital Transformation is about seeing efficiency and effectiveness gains or it's all a waste of time. OK, not a complete waste of time, there may be cost you can strip out, but you have to be doing things "better".
Let's take Finance. If you take out an Accounting system and replace it with another Accounting system, have you really made a change to the business?
(Suppliers call Accounting systems Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems.)
I would suspect there are savings to be made in moving to the cloud, but is one Accounting system, that different from another accounting system?
The savings and efficiency gains are in the people in the process.
Accountancy and the Finance role would expect to see more processes automated. Not just the low level processes that have probably been automated in the past but I would expect to see the use of Robots. These are "clever" bits of software that will automate other parts of the processes.
I'm aware of one large company that has, over a period of 2 years automated over 14,000 FTEs activities. It's deploying such Robotics process automation , that companies are able to strip out the real cost and increase productivity and efficiency.
What about the people?
We are not talking about reducing the size of Finance, as the clever companies are re-deploying Finance people into the areas of Business Intelligence / business reporting.
The days of creating a Finance pack that is 4 to 6 weeks old and sending it out has long gone. Finance departments are using first party, second party and third party data to look for trends and feed this into the strategic plan of a company.
A friend of mine was telling me about a UK retailer he was working with. They had missed the female fashion for wearing sports wear, yoga pants etc and they reckon that had cost the business £150 Million ($195 Million) in lost revenue. My friend had been pulled in to sort this out. It was too late, that retailer went to the wall.
That's what can happen if you are not search for the new trends.
The same with sales, if you replace one sales methodology with another, are you really making a change? A business today, has to be disruptive.
In Sales we are seeing 30% increases in sales over legacy methods and 40% reduction in sales cycles, just by using social media and by changing the people and the process. No massive investments in IT, Tools or a sales stack. Just getting the existing people to work smarter and better.
You can reduce the size of your salesforce, but it is unlikely, companies will more likely take on the additional sales increment. Maybe it's time for you to grasp the digital "Thistle"?
Yet, success is proving to be elusive. According to a study by McKinsey, less than one-third of companies that have already invested in digital transformation have improved their performance. So, what’s missing?