Transformation or Digitisation?

  • Friday, 18 November 2016 14:35
  • Written by  Alan Williams

"No matter who you are, most of the smartest people work for someone else".

Bill Joy, creator of Berkeley Unix (bsd) and one of the founders of Sun Microsystems said that whilst I was with Sun in their early days. Forrester reminded me of that at their Australia and A/P Predictions breakfast this Wednesday, where they talked much about (you guessed it) Digital Transformation.

Tim Sheedy and his colleagues, as usual, provided good insights into the state of the market. Their research shows that the majority (over 70% now) of enterprises say that they have started their digital transformation journeys to some extent, but their conclusion is that most large organisations are spending vastly too little on it - meaning they've not made that exercise truly strategic. For those that are spending at the right level to achieve real transformation, most of those costs won't be on technology, they'll be spent in the exercise of business transformation - reimagining behaviours, processes, metrics and changing culture.

Transformation or Digitisation

They talked about some key learnings in the journey so far which resonated very much with our experience of our customers' early transformation projects. Here are a few:

  • Enterprises have to change their mindsets from getting things perfect to getting things fast! And then getting them right as they go along.
  • Everyone's talking about the focus on the digital customer experience, but to succeed you have to focus just as much on digital operational excellence
  • Harnessing your existing systems with accessible APIs and leveraging those everywhere (even throwing them open to invite innovation) is vital
  • Mobile innovators will insource more than outsource for agility - your most innovative changes are going to be driven as bespoke projects close to you, rather than just using off-the-shelf

but.... there's digital fatigue. "When you can do everything, you actually do nothing". There's so much technology and opportunity out there that many organisations are just looking around with wide eyes effectively doing nothing much - just sticking to what they know because it seems like it's a mammoth and risky undertaking to get going.

We've seen that happening - with so many Australian organisations not taking any risks and just taking the mobile offerings of existing enterprise software vendors (a ‘me too’ approach) without looking at digital transformation as the opportunity to compete differently and challenge their processes. Sure, they'll get some benefits, but Forrester were clear that that's a wasted opportunity.

To bring us back to Bill Joy “.... most of the smartest people work for somebody else”. So the message is ‘Use your smart people to transform your business. Focus them on the work of applying technology to give you competitive advantage or to boost organisational efficiency rather than spending time on the technology tools themselves’.

As a footnote, here at BlinkMobile we've been evolving our product offering to better support these needs. Our new micro-service based platform offers services that dramatically reduce development friction. It spans development and deployment of client-side hybrid and web apps through to custom API hosting, common mBaaS services, proximity/location, IoT and analytics services - all delivered with the SLAs and support that Enterprises need. In short, we can provide excellence and support in digital operations, we provide a unified palette of managed services all designed to lower the friction your ‘inhouse innovators’ will undoubtedly strike when creating great digital customer experiences.

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